FRIDAY 1/24. Oaklawn Racing & Gaming. Free.
Racing season at Oaklawn runs Jan. 24-May 2, but anyone who enjoys picking a horse and placing a bet there will tell you: Those few weeks fly by in a heartbeat. Opening Day means a particular kind of electricity in the stands and at the windows, where bettors emerge from hibernation, as eager to lay down their money as the horses are to get out of the gate. It also means — for lovers of bargains and salt-cured brisket — the annual arrival of Corned Beef Day on Saturday, Jan. 25, when the track’s corned beef sandwiches are a whopping 50 cents.
If the whole horse-racing idea seems intimidating, and you don’t know a top wheel from a trifecta, check out Oaklawn’s primer at oaklawn.com/racing-101. General admission is free, and reserved grandstand seats are available for $2.50-$4.50 by calling 1-800-OAKLAWN, ext. 340. Post times vary, but gates open every race day at 11 a.m.; see oaklawn.com for a full schedule. Parking in the north, south and west lots is $2 until 4 p.m., after which it’s free.