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Off to the races

Posted by Smokey Stover on February 15, 2008 at 09:19:

In Reply to: Off to the races posted by Victoria S Dennis on February 15, 2008 at 09:19:

: : What is the origin of the phrase "off to the races"?

: When you set off to anything or anywhere, you may be said to be "off to" it/them. You can be "off on holiday/to work/to the cinema/to the races" or any number of other things. (VSD)

I'm off on the morning train. I'll cross the raging main. I'm off to my love with a boxing glove ten thousand miles away.

I'm thinking that one would have heard "I'm off to the races" rather more frequently several decades ago than at present, at least in the U.S. Horse-racing used to be much more popular, much more a destination for people seeking entertainment, than it is today, although a few well-known races remain very popular.