I'd say it's even better! Better than the derby, you say? Oh yes.
That is if you ignore the sounds of gunshots a few blocks away in Inglewood, the bird-poop covered seats and the beer-bellied regulars yelling profanities.
The weekly horse races at Hollywood Park (don't let the name fool you, this is definitely not Hollywood) is quite the scene. While the crowd of grungy gamblers dressed in old jeans, ketchup-stained shirts and leather jackets from 1992 are certainly not the upscale Kentucky Derby crowd of billionaire caramel-colored suit wearers next to trophy wives in Jupiter-sized hats, who said people need to dress like they're going to an Elton John party to bet on some horse races?
(Photo editors note: Cristina gets credit for wearing a long Kentucky Derby-style dress.)
And who can argue with $1 hot dogs, $1 beers (don't let the $2 beer cup fool you, the cup size is less than double of the $1 version), $2 bets and suites for $3 (however, don't let the term "suites" fool you. Those are the bird-poop covered seats I referred to earlier. Keep expectations low, and you'll never be disappointed!)?
Yes, the Hollywood Park races are an underrated spectacle of L.A. I was lucky enough to partake in the fun. I didn't do so bad either on the betting side of things. I won $12 (though I spent $20) and finally got the hang of horse betting. Always bet to win.
That's my motto - go big, or go home!