How long has it been since you have gone down and enjoyed an afternoon of racing? When Del Mar opened in 1937, Bing Crosby was there to meet the fans. So much of that old time charm is still there.
I arrived at the track at 7:00 am to watch the morning workout. Grabbing a coffee I sat in the empty bleachers to see what Del Mar is all about. Pretty soon at 8 am horses began to arrive in sets. The racehorses are astoundingly beautiful, they were ridden by their trainers, led by another horse and rider from their stable. Onto the track they went with the racehorse dancing to be released. You could feel the horses excitement to touch that track and to get the opportunity to show what they were trained to do. Away they went and I was watching these horses fly by. Oh my gosh they can really run. The rider and horse in complete unison working to get ready for the races later in the day.
Lifting my camera I started to take photos of the horses and their hooves striking the earth.
Right before the first race the Paddock is the place to be, it is in the center of the race arena is an area where the rider meets the owner and the horse it brought down the walkway to mount for the race. I was struck by the color and the excitement in the air. The owners arrive first, gathering in the center of the paddock on the grass, the horses begin to arrive led by their grooms, right before the race the jockey arrives coming in from the direction of the racetrack. One by one they walk in and shake their owners hands and stand by their number. Before you know it, the jockeys are on their mounts and everyone walks together to the racetrack. I met one of the owners yesterday, and his horse actually won in the third race. He was nervous
pacing before the race, you know me, I don’t meet a stranger and I went right up to him and asked if he had a horse in the race? “Yes he said” I asked him then what he thought was the outcome, and he said, “You never know”. We talked on and we had a great conversation about this horse and its chances. But can you imagine how nervous you would be? I know I would be a wreck.
The races were shorter than I thought, it all seemed to be a very fast blur. The trumpet plays, the horses are placed in the gates, the gates open and the crowed start to cheer. Thundering hooves, jockey colors racing by, and then the horses straining to get to the post the fastest. It was exhilerating. I stayed and photographed three races. One from the track, one from the press box, and one from the dirt right on the track.
Photos by Sonja Hults Photography
The season is mid way through, while there at the track everyone was talking about several horses that are possibly going to go “all the way”. I bet you haven’t gone for some time, right? Well you had better go soon and see these promising horses this year. They say the BIG day is August 19th and EVERYONE should be there to witness this BIG race.