If you are looking for some outdoor activity while the weather is still decent but feel you are running out of ideas, check out two local racetracks: Northfield Park and Thistledown.
Northfield Park is the place to go in Northeast Ohio for harness racing. If you’ve never seen harness racing before, think of horse and chariot races. Northfield Park will take you back to a time when horse and driver work hand in hoof on the track to secure that elusive win, place or show (1st place, 2nd place and 3rd place, respectively).
You’ll usually find eight horses starting behind the gate on the ½ mile track. Northfield Park has racing all year long and are open everyday for simulating. They race four days a week for 200-plus nights of racing. Post time for live races is 7pm, while simulating begins earlier, with doors open half hour before first simulcast race.
Parking and general admission at Northfield are free except on Fridays and Saturdays, when parking is $1 after 5pm and admission is $1.75. Programs for live racing are $2. During the month of September, Northfield Park is offering free admission with a non-winning Ohio lottery ticket, $1 program every live race day and free $5 match play every Wednesday and Thursday from 1-3pm. Children are free when accompanied by an adult.
If thoroughbred racing is more your thing, head further north to Thistledown. Located 10 miles southwest of downtown Cleveland, Thistledown offers horse racing for bettors and spectactors through November. Unlike Northfield Park, most live racing at Thistledown takes place during the day, with post time at 1:50pm. The track opens at 11am for simulcast racing. Live races generally run every half hour, and admission and parking are free most days.
With live racing from May 4 - November 17, there is still plenty of time to enjoy this exciting thoroughbred racing in Northeast Ohio. The Best of Ohio stakes is coming up on October 12. Typically, live races at Thistledown take place Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, with additional Thursday dates in September, October and November. See the schedule on their website at www.caesars.com/thistledown. Although you must be 18 to wager, children under 12 are admitted with an adult.
You don’t have to make bets to enjoy Northeast Ohio’s horse racing. Whether you are into harness racing or thoroughbreds, both venues feature restaurants for great dining and inexpensive sports entertainment. They provide a nice change of pace from baseball and football, while still giving visitors a chance to be outside and cheer on their favorite.