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Hong Kong: happy Wednesday at Happy Valley Racecourse

Happy Valley Racecourse, Hong Kong Jockey Club, Hong Kong

There are plenty of activities to keep one entertained in Hong Kong. But if you find yourself at a loss, particularly on a Wednesday night, you might consider going to Happy Valley for Happy Wednesdays at the horse races.

Established in 1845, the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) rebuilt the Happy Valley Racecourse in 1995 to its present-day facility. Horse racing at the Happy Valley Racecourse occurs Wednesdays, and is open to both public and members of the HKJC.

Through the help of contacts within the organization, we obtain a couple of passes to the air-conditioned venue “Adrenaline“. As the weather in mid-June is already hot and moist, the evenings also become unbearable in the humidity. Being inside “Adrenaline” complete with some nibble and drink provides big relief from the sticky evening outside.

I’m admittedly not much for gambling, although cheering for an “underdog” and watching that horse come from behind for a photo-finish win is a lot of fun. There’s a lot of betting money here, and I imagine it’s related in a way to how casinos in nearby Macau make several times more money in yearly gambling than Las Vegas’ annual take. Aside from the people’s insatiable desire for instant fortune, I think what’s particularly telling is that on the racecourse’s concourse level there are queues for the ATM/cash machines near the betting counters.

But in all, it’s a festive atmosphere. For those who can’t go up “on deck”, there’s music, food, and beer, naturally at the beer garden at track-level. There are a lot of people here on Wednesday evening having a good time, drinking some beer, shooting the breeze with friends, and occasionally bet on a horse race. In many ways, it reminds me of what a baseball game can be like in North America: go out to the stadium with friends, have some beer, shoot the breeze, and occasionally or diligently follow the game. Coming out to the horsetrack is a lot of fun, especially getting to hang out in the cooler confines of “Adrenaline”.

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