Like many of you saw in our RESTAURANTS CLOSED BUT NOT FORGOTTEN ARTICLE, all good things must come to an end. Today, The Big Ragu & Crew add another name to this list .. sort of. Some of our favorite Food Adventures have been at sporting events. It is with sadness that we announce that one such place, Lebanon Raceway, will be closing this Saturday after 65 years of harness horse racing. The reason for the closing is to make way for a new racetrack and casino in Monroe. We are going to miss this place and the years of memories it gave us.
Last week at the track, we said our goodbyes. We savored the sights and the memories. We bought a program and a pen (superstition), and sat in the front row behind the glass, cheering for our horses to come in. It takes some dexterity to hold a beer, hot dog, and program while watching the race and hollering. The crowd was sparse, but enthusiastic. We had some winners, and some losers, but loved every minute of the 13 races that night.
We have placed bets to win, place and show. We even knocked out a daily double or a trifecta here and there. But, to us, the live horse racing was just half of the story. We also loved the cheap food and beer. From must eats like hot dogs and pork tenderloin sandwiches to popcorn and hamburgers, Lebanon Raceway had more than just concession stands. They had some good sporting event eats that became a tradition for us over the past 20 years. The characters that serve the food are also a big part of the experience. The bar area was always interesting, with the bartenders pouring bottled beers into a plastic cup, sometimes two or 3 at a time. Foam? …sometimes, just deal with it…
Opened in 1948, the race track facility is showing its age a little, but there is something special about this place. Maybe it is the sound of the horses whizzing past, or the trumpets before each race. Lebanon Raceway is known as the “cradle of drivers,” having produced some of the best harness racing jockeys in the nation. Their other motto is “pace baby pace,” referring to the trotting horses. This place is full of personality from the announcers to the bet window workers. We wanted to share our Food Adventure memories and let people know that this Friday and Saturday are the final days of live racing at Lebanon.
Yes it is true, this weekend is your last chance to experience Lebanon Raceway, so saddle up and visit this Dayton area icon one last time. Races will be Friday and Saturday nights beginning at 6:30pm. Literally – “down the stretch they come !!” Need directions? CLICK HERE. Want more horsing around with THE BIG RAGU, CHEF HOUSE and HUNGRY JAX? Then ‘like’ FOOD ADVENTURES on FACEBOOK by clicking HERE !
Check out our photos and memories from Lebanon Raceway in our gallery below: