Still in Phoenix, and still underwhelmed by the differences, but just went to my first horse race yesterday at "Turf Paradise" here in Phoenix.
It's really quite an experience. If you happen to ever go, opt for the "Turf club" on the 3rd floor at $5 a seat. (Free refills on soda). Nice big windows so you can watch the track. They are only open during the "cooler" months of the year.
$4 to get in the door. We came to watch a friends horse race. You can get a program that gives you all sorts of stats about the horses and whether they had won or not.
I went ahead and put money on my friends horse, and they have their own lingo for what to bet on. Minimum bet of $2.
You can bet to "win" which means the horse will come in first.
You can bet to "place" which means you will win if the horse comes in "at least" second, or first.
You can bet to "show" which means you will win if the horse comes in "at least" third, second, or first.
I could probably cover this topic way more in depth, but I'm sure the website will explain it just as well:
I enjoyed being there, it wasn't so quite you were afraid to talk, and wasn't loud so you could easily here the people around you. And at 1 race every 30 minutes, if you just dropped $2 on every race, you could stay there for 2 hours and only gamble $8.
Oh, ask your waiter who could explain "claim" races to you. That's really interesting to show how it keeps the races fair.