by Andrew Crisp
Well before the thoroughbreds were at the gate for Wednesday evening's season-opening first race at Les Bois Race Track, fans were already lining up along the track's fence, just a few inches from the freshly turned dirt. More than 4,500 fans attended the newly reopened Les Bois Park for the first full season of live racing since 2008.
The diverse crowd included children, parents and singles, some wearing cowboy boots and hats, others' attire more fitting an office environment. Thousands sat in the stands eating hamburgers and drinking beer, while many more gravitated between the chain-link track fence and the paddock.
Real estate along the paddock fence was limited, with eager bettors clutching race programs, jockeying to catch a glimpse of the horses and riders.