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Behind The Scenes At Mohawk Racetrack

mohawkracetrack

As I mentioned earlier, I had the opportunity to go behind the scenes at Mohawk Racetrack last Thursday. Here’s a little rundown of how it all went down.

We started the evening at the Terrace Dining Room, which, after passing by last time, I was excited to check out.

After ordering a round of drinks and some apps, we watched the races begin and decided to try our hand at placing a bet on the horse with the name we liked best (great strategy, I know). Unfortunately, Deep Impact didn’t win, but our luck (and strategy) improved as the night went on.

For dinner we ordered the salmon tortellini and a pepperoni pizza, and despite being stuffed we had to follow it up with dessert because the brownie martini looked amazing (and the apple crumble was even better). The food was delicious – we were so full we could barely move once it was time to take the tour.

The dining room patio provides a perfect view of the track along with quick access to the betting machine, and the servers were all friendly and very attentive. If you head to Mohawk, I highly recommend staking your spot up there. But be warned – if you choose to sit on the patio, the mosquitoes get bad once the sun starts to set – my feet were covered in bites, so dress appropriately or bring bug spray.

mohawkterracedining

After the meal and a little success betting on a couple horses with good odds, Mark, the communications coordinator at Mohawk, took us over to the Paddock to get a behind the scenes look at how it all goes down at the racetrack.

The horses arrive from all over Ontario in their trailers, then they’re moved inside and grouped together based on the race they’re running in.

At the back of the paddock there’s a special area where they test the urine of the horse that wins each race, along with a random horse from each race, to ensure they haven’t been given any performance enhancing drugs.

Each horse has their own caretaker who carefully bathes them and takes care of them before and after the race. These guys are the true unsung heroes of the sport, who unlike the drivers and coaches, get no glory and have to deal with literal horse shit – but have deep love for the animals.

At Mohawk, the horses are all Standardbred – which I learned means they are more durable horses than Thoroughbreds (who can only run once a month because of their daintier bone structure). Standardbreds are able to run once a week without causing too much stress to their bones.

Just driving alongside the horses as they race, no biggie. @MohawkRacing #behindthescenes #offtotheraces

A video posted by Turn The Record Over (@lisalagace) on

By far the most exciting part of the evening was that, after the tour, we were able to get on the track in the car that drives in front of the horses to get them together in line as the race starts. Hearing their hooves clop along the pavement and being right beside them as they ran was an incredible once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget. The power of the horses on the track is especially impactful when you get to be there right in the action of the race.

FYI Just a reminder that you still have time to make the quick trip to Mohawk this summer to take a selfie in front of the track and win $1000 gift certificate! Just post it to twitter and use the #OffToTheRaces hashtag and you’re all set. Remember, admission to the races is always free, and they’re open from 6pm to 11pm five days a week.

 Lisa

Giveaway – See Pretend We’re Kissing at Open Roof Festival

pretend were kissing giveaway

As you might know (despite the rain) summer is here, and that means one thing – outdoor movie festivals are in full swing. One of my favourites of them all remains Open Roof Festival. Not only do you get to watch a great movie you probably won’t find in major theaters anytime soon, you also get to hear a great live band before dusk hits.

I went a few weeks back and watched the hilarious The Overnight and caught a brilliant Toronto band that has become my new obsession – Del Bel.

This week, I get to give you the chance to check it out for free. I have a pair of tickets up for grabs to attend Open Roof Festival at 99 Sudbury on Wednesday, July 22nd – where one of my old faves – Hooded Fang, will be playing before they screen the incredibly adorable and funny looking Pretend We’re Kissing.

To enter, send an email to lisa@turntherecordover.com with the subject ‘Open Roof Fest’ and you’ll be entered to win.

As always, sharing this post will gain you bonus entries.

Contest closes and the winner will be chosen and contacted on Monday July 20th.

Lisa

The Pepsi North American Cup Exposed Me To A Fascinating World

mohawknacup

The world of horse racing isn’t completely new to me – I did write an article for Trot Magazine about my experience at the races as a “first timer” back in 2013 after attending one night at the Woodbine track – but it is still certainly new enough that I don’t feel as though I have any true understanding of how to bet like the pros.

This summer, I plan to change that.

Last weekend I was able to attend the Pepsi North American Cup at Mohawk Racetrack, and it was an eye opening experience about just how passionate the horse racing community really is.

racetrackmohawk

Throughout the summer, I will be attending a couple more events, where I plan to fully immerse myself in the language of betting – and maybe win some coin to take home.

Since the NA Cup (as the locals call it) was my first time visiting Mohawk, the first thing I did was explore the building to get my bearings. It’s a large venue, and lucky for us it was a beautiful day outside.

With seating available inside and out, along with reserved seating in the dining area – there’s not a bad view in the place. While this was easily one of the busiest days of the year at the track, there was enough room to accommodate the large demand of the crowd. Since these events are not ticketed, anyone can show up and place a bet – so I was wondering if it would end up being ‘oversold’ so to speak – but that wasn’t a problem. It was very busy, but not so packed you couldn’t move or get a seat so long as you took some time to check various areas and find some open chairs.

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The thing I enjoyed most about visiting Milton for the first time, was just how friendly everyone was – and how cheap the food and drinks were. I think, after 11 years in Toronto, I have come to expect to pay $8 a drink and deal with rude, unhappy people at events this large. It was refreshing to stand in line with people willing to chat with you, or to accidentally bump into people, who, instead of giving you an angry look – chipperly ask you where you got your delicious looking ($3.50!!) chili cheese fries.

Once I got past my pure joy at the affordable and deliciously fatty food and drink options, I had to get down to the track and watch those horses do their thing.

nachillicheesefries

It is unlike anything you’ll ever experience to watch a crowd this large cheer and sigh and cry out for their horse, all within the span of a minute. Some end up incredibly happy and full of cheers, while others are devastated that the horse they just bet a big chunk of their savings on lost. It’s an adrenaline rush much like riding a roller coaster.

My visit this time was cut short due to prior NXNE obligations, so I’m looking forward to next time – when I will properly be able to bet and get invested in a horse.

mohawkselfie

There’s also something cool in this for you this summer, should you be interested in winning some extra cash. We are a selfie obsessed culture – but have you ever taken a selfie at the races? Well, your challenge this summer is to take one right in front of the track, tweet it out using the hashtag #OffToTheRaces (and mention @MohawkRacing) and you could win $1000 – the most money you’ll ever get for taking a selfie, probably.

This post was created in partnership with Mohawk Racetrack.

 Lisa

Giveaway – Soundtrack and Tickets to The Imitation Game

The-Imitation-Game

As you might know from the Golden Globes on Sunday, awards season is in full swing.

And you might also know that The Imitation Game is a big contender for those awards (even though it was somehow shut out at the Globes).

I was able to check out a screening during TIFF – where it went on to win the People’s Choice Award – and absolutely adored this film. You might not be all that familiar with Enigma if you’re living over here in the West (unless you’re a history buff), but the story surrounding it is vital to our history – because it helped end World War II.

Alan Turing was the definition of a war hero, and because he happened to be attracted to men back in a time when that was illegal, his country essentially murdered him. It’s a truly tragic story, but one that definitely needed to be told.

If you’re up for seeing a truly captivating film, you’re in luck, because I have 5 pairs of ROE passes and soundtracks to giveaway for those of you located in Toronto.

To enter, send an email to lisa@turntherecordover.com with the subject ‘Imitation Game’ and you’ll be entered to win.

For bonus entries, share this post on Twitter and Facebook and let me know in the comments.

Contest closes and winners will be chosen and contacted on January 18th, and must be able to pick up the prize in downtown Toronto.

Lisa

Giveaway – Samsung Galaxy Alpha RE*Generation Phone

samsung galaxy alpha giveaway

Just in time for Christmas, you have the chance to win a brand new Samsung Galaxy Alpha from Virgin Mobile.

As you may know, I am very loyal to the Samsung brand, and have been ever since the Galaxy S III gave me a smartphone alternative to the iPhone that actually compared (and surpassed considering the price difference). Now that I’m on the S5, I still think it’s the greatest.

Also great is paying $45 a month for unlimited text, talk and data – the big three can never compete with that .

While I haven’t had the chance to try the Alpha yet, I’ve heard nothing but good things, and I have no reason to doubt it isn’t as great (or better) than my S5. I am definitely jealous of whoever wins this one! I would love to try it.

Anyhow – the cool part about this phone is that, when you purchase it from Virgin, $5 from every sale goes to their RE*Generation foundation, which helps at-risk and homeless youth find jobs.

Speaking of RE*Generation, if you’re not in need of a new smartphone but still want to help a great cause (and see some awesome tunes), Dan Mangan + Blacksmith will be playing the Mod Club on Monday December 15th in support of it. Tickets are $20 and on sale now, and all proceeds go directly to the cause.

You get to see one of Canada’s finest live performers bring his best collaboration to date to the stage while helping kids find much desired employment – if that isn’t a win, I don’t know what is.

Anyhow, if you do want a chance at the phone, you have a few options to enter. Each option counts for one entry.

1) Sign up for the upcoming (look out for TTRO’s relaunch in 2015) weekly newsletter, which will round up the week’s posts so you don’t miss things like this in the future:

Subscribe here to enter the giveaway:


2) Like TTRO on Facebook and comment on the status update about this giveaway.

3) Follow me on Twitter, and tweet exactly this ONCE ONLY, no spamming please: “Hey @Lisa_TTRO I want to win a Samsung Galaxy Alpha for Christmas http://wp.me/pWBir-2RT #regeneration.”

4) Follow me on Instagram, and heart the photo about this giveaway when it is posted.

Keep in mind that this is a Virgin Mobile Canada phone, so that limits it to Canadians (or people who know a Canadian and want to surprise them with this for Christmas) only.

That’s it! You have until December 17th at midnight to enter, and the winner will be contacted the next day via the email they used to subcribe to the newsletter – so make sure that’s the one you do if you only do one of the above 4 things.

Good luck!

 Lisa