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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A day at the races

Turf  Paradise race track opened its doors January 7, 1956, making Valley history as the first organized professional sports franchise in Arizona. That was over 50 years ago and I had never gone to a horse race until yesterday when some people who own a race horse invited us to come. What a time I had!!
I love learning new things and seeing new things so being able to go and ask tons of questions was right up my alley.
I was surprised that you can stand eye level with the dirt track and watch them cross the finish line...
Of course they go by so fast that you can't begin to see what is really happening. You can watch the races from the outside or the glassed in area and they have little TV's on the table so you can see the race when it is on the far side of the track.
They have a pamphlet that lists all the upcoming races and has lots of stats that I asked about. It tells everything from how old the horse is to who owns it and who trains it and who the jockey is, its odds of winning and lots more.
The people that invited us just recently purchased this horse and it has made a great is a video I found of a interview with Tarmara.
The rest of the pictures I post are all from Facebook.
This is the starting gate which can be moved to different areas of the track and before a horse is allowed to race at this track they have to be qualified that they can enter the gates properly. Turf paradise has two tracks, one dirt and one turf as you can see from this picture.....
 Some horses will run on both tracks but some prefer one or the other. The dirt track produces the fastest times. The condition of the track is of the greatest importance and is prepared before each race. A hole in the ground could be deadly for a horse. The other thing I learned is that when a horse is running he is on only one foot at a time and that means that all thousand pounds plus is on that skinny ankle.  I found this picture that shows this...
Amazing isn't it!!
There are many people involved in this sport from the owners, to the stable caretakers, to the vets and jockey's and on and on and every gets a piece of the pie. There are even riders that escort the horses to the starting gates and they get $15.00 for that.
The jockey can only weigh a certain amount but that includes the saddle so when the race is finished they are required to take the saddle with them and weigh. Also the winning horse is required to have a urine test to check for drugs after the race. You know me...I had to ask "just how do you get a horse to pee".....................Whistle. That's right, they whistle and horse pees.
Look how they perch on the horses back. Being a jockey is one of the most dangerous jobs there is. I am currently reading some articles about that and it is just fascinating but balance and being able to key in with the horse is the most critical of all. Our friends first jockey wasn't able to get him to change gates (making the opposite leg of the starting leg become the lead ) and not until they found this jockey, Jorge Carreno, was this accomplished and he has ran away from the pack on every race since.
I loved this picture......
All four in the air and look at those hip muscles and his nose flaring!!!



Nancy said...

Fabulous photos. I've been to the race track a couple of times: it's exciting to see all the activity.

Granny Annie said...

I fear horses up close and personal, but I absolutely love horse racing. Watching from afar is thrilling and your pictures are exactly the reasons why, especially that last one. Horses are magnificent. I loved to see them at the rodeos when I was a child grown up. They have such power. Because I respect that power, I also fear that power and know you have to be very skilled to handle such a huge animal.

Lady Di Tn said...

Great photos and info. Horses are as you last phrase "Magnificent".Glad you have something new to keep you fascinated. I too did something I had never done before, went to our Governor Mansion. We girls need to keep our interest perked. When I was young I loved to ride Dan our neighbors horse in Smith County. I had to climb the fence to get on his back but once there, I was in Heaven. Peace