A Day at the Races

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We took a well deserved trip to the races a couple of weeks ago. It must be said, my hubby and I bred thoroughbreds and have raced a couple of horses. Going to the races for us puts us on the pulse of the industry.

I just love to see the horses run.

This time we took Catboy’s girl friend with us. She’d never been to the track. It was so much fun watch her enthusiasm at the new sights.

We started our visit to Hot Springs in our favorite place, The Arlington. Arriving still early in the day, we enjoyed a Starbuck’s and checked out the racing form.

Remarkably, we arrived at the track long before the throngs of people did. This is the inside of the building. Ordinarily it is wall to wall bodies in this space. I felt like a free bird in here!

We ate at the restaurant inside, ordering their famous corned beef sandwiches. Those babies were fantastic.

This is MY corner outside. It is the perfect spot to capture every horse as it goes by and watch all the pony horses and their riders. The race itself is only a 2 minute thrill. It’s the interaction of the race officials and the people who work there everyday that holds my attention. I’m kinda goofy I guess, but I watch everything around me. All of it has a story.

My kids are always the center of attention, as you well know.

Isn’t CB’s girl friend lovely?

This is the trek from the backside where the stalls are, to the paddock inside. The trainers, in this case, the grooms, lead the horses to the paddock. At Oak Lawn, there is an indoor paddock. It is so crowded in there, I don’t find all the jostling a pleasurable experience at all. I love the outdoors.We had some awesome weather this day.

These tractors condition the track for the race.

After the actual race contestants emerge, the pony riders come out. These men and women take each race horse around the track to warm up before the race starts. I know we are here for the thoroughbreds, but I love these hard-working, devoted equines. The pony horses and their riders are on the track for the entire day. They endure those high-strung, sassy race horses that bob and nip before they load in the gate. It always makes me wonder who the real athletes are.

I really like the look of this horse. That all white face. Not your usual look for any horse.

This is MY corner. A wonderful view of the horses leaving the paddock. Here we have a bird’s-eye view of each horse as it goes by. From here I make my judgment of the field and give our kids (now 18 yo) money for the bet. It’s very nice having kids doing the goferring for us. There is a crowd of people at those betting windows.

This is the field for the first race being ponied by the pony horses on their way to the gate. The lead horse is one of the race stewards. Stewards watch the race and participants for any illegal actions. They are the eyes of the race laws.

First race just out of the gate.

On the back stretch.

And here they are at the eighth pole. This is where the race really takes place.

They are in the final stretch.

Just a final word… the horse winning this race was our pick for the win! Our kids had a blast cashing in the ticket. And CB’s girl friend had a grand time in it all. Cashing those winnings, small as they were, gave her a charge.

This is the first installment of the races. I took so many pictures I refuse to allow them to wallow on my computer. They will be sent out into cyber space for the sheer joy of it all. Horses are always well worth it.

Until the next chapter,

Love,
Jeannene

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