Yong and I were married back on groundhogs day in 1977 in Seoul Korea. We lived in Korea another few years before I was reassigned back to the US. As luck would have it, I was assigned to Fort Meade Maryland. While we waited for on base housing we stayed with my grandmother in Baltimore. After about 6 months we moved to a small house on base.
My working hours Monday to Friday were such that I frequently worked late and had to go in early. However, most weekends were free. Since Yong did not drive and was limited what she could do during the week we made Saturday our leisure day and Sunday we cooked for the week. One Saturday we were in the car discussing what to do that evening when we heard an advertisement for Free State Raceway. They were having a promotion that night. Each paid general admission received a certificate from a playboy bunny for a bus trip to the newly open Playboy Casino in Atlantic city. So it was off to the races that night.
We both had a wonderful time that night. It was the first time that Yong had seen harness racing. A couple of weeks later we took our bus trip and had a great time at the Casino. The bus that picked us up at the racetracks parking lot was fully decked out. The outside had a playboy design on it and inside there was plush carpet and comfortable velvet seats. Two hostess wearing bunny costumes served drinks and passed out welcome packs. The welcome packs had rolls of quarters, match play coupons for the table games, tickets for a lunch buffet, and tickets for a show.
In the late afternoon, we got back on the bus for the trip back to the track. We were given copies of the program for the evening, coupons for free entry into the club house and some drink coupons. Needless to say we went to the track that night. Getting the casino trip also but us on the tracks mailing list and we were always getting free entry tickets in the mail.
Soon our weekly pattern included Wednesday evening at the track. We would each have $10 to bet and we made a contest of who earned the most. At the end of the evening if we had won, we stopped at pizza hut on the way home. If we lost, well there were always left overs. Saturday evening were at the track as well. After an evening at the races, we stopped on the way home and did our weekly grocery shopping.
One night the program had a piece about claiming races and how to become an owner. We could not afford anything like that but the seed was planted and it became a one of these days we will thing.
Yong and I separated however, we still remained friends. When she was in Chicago she would head out to the track every now and then. She was very happy for me when I did buy my first horse. I even named a yearly for her, Miss Yong’s Dragon.
She came to the farm in 1999 for my birthday and stayed a week. She had just completed chemo treatment and radiation treatment and doctors said she was on the road to recovery. They were wrong a few month later they found it had spread to her stomach and then to the lungs. She died later that year.
One of her last request was to have her ashes spread at the farm and to have a race in her name, that we did.