Sunday, September 08, 2013

AT THE RACES



Every year Jarnac gets a set of three weekends with regional horse racing.  The track is visible when you walk on our`side of the river, right behind BRAASTAD Cognac company.  While it sits empty for most of the year with no other events, the city starts watering and grooming the area by mid summer to get it up to snuff for September.
Trotters first weekend, thoroughbred the next two. Today though, it was a mix of hurdles and straight course racing. Interesting. Never seen this before.

We missed the events last year but I took Isabella today and we all will go next weekend for the final races again. It`s not a Happy Valley Hong Kong size of a set up, but more of a country course with smaller purses, a temporary grand stand and lesser known jockeys.  And VERY rustic toilets. 
While I think everybody who enjoys horse racing has to visit Hong Kong once just for the experience, this kind of country set up is equally excited for the simple reason that you get the opportunity to be very very close up to it all. 
Weigh in? I could have tipped the scale, that's how close we stood to the jockey. Winner's circle? Touch the horse if you want. Interview with the winning jockey? Get an autograph while you are at it. And no hats! Just fun.


So it was Isabella's first time to an event where you can actually bet on the action. Despite her being born and raised in Las Vegas. Good father you all thinking now, kept her away for thirteen years.
Me on the other hand, I have somewhat of a history. During a couple of years working in Munich I chose to spend my Sundays at the track over skiing in the Alps or swimming at the lake. Fond memories, if not for winning (never did) but for the great food served and the characters you get to meet.  You know, the regulars, the ones who will tell you which race is fixed, which Bookie is in a bind, their "winnings" and other grand tales of horse racing. Fun times.

After explaining the basics on how to read a racing magazine (the tables are set up the same in most languages it seems), Isabella chose to go with colors and gut feeling instead. "It's not her money" was the impression I gathered from her choices. Purple over blue? No beginner's luck for her today. 
I really hoped to find a bookie for our bets over the official punting station, that would have been a great experience for Isabella. A one man bet shop. But no such man around.
For the next race I read her the stats, discussed the horse's edginess before the race and tried to tell her that 4 kg extra weight over 3200 meters does make a difference, even to a horse.
We won. Or in all honesty, we broke even on that race. Number 2 came through without being the favorite and the odds were strong enough to make up for all money spent.

For the third round of betting  though, I went a bit overboard with combinations and selections. My budget was bust midway through the remaining races (gambling budgets are an important lesson to teach your kid) and we stayed a while longer to just enjoy the people and all the surrounding action before heading home for dinner.  On the way out we walked trough the area with all the horse trailers and watched the owners cooling out their horses and clean them up for next weekend. 
Isabella cannot wait for next Sunday.




ONE MORE SET OF RACES NEXT WEEK

LINE UP TO GET IN

THE TRACK IS RIGHT BEHIND BRAASTAD 

ALONG THE RIVER

A REAL NICE SETTING

SOME GOOD LOOKING HORSES






SMALL TRAILERS, BUT BIG ENOUGH TO FIT A DOG (BOTTOM RIGHT)


THE JOCKEYS

AT THE WEIGH IN

WHERE'S MY HORSE?

HE WON ONE (AND US WITH HIM)

INTERVIEWING THE WINNER

JARNAC IN THE BACK



EHM, WHAT? STEEPLES?


THE PRO

WEIGHTS

BEST SEATS AT THE RAIL

THE OFFICIALS AND COMMENTATOR

GRAND STAND

PUNTERS PLACING THEIR BETS

A NO WIN TICKET

A NO WIN FACE

I REALLY LIKED THE NUMBER 2 IN THIS RACE

ALL SMILES WITH A WINNING TICKET (BROKE EVEN....)

LES TOILETTES - TRÉS RUSTIQUE.....

FACE PAINTING FOR KIDS

VERY VERY CLOSE TO THE ACTION

WHEN IN FRANCE, EAT CREPES

7 comments:

Nadege said...

What fun! My parents took me to Vincennes, Longchamps and Auteuil 4 or 5 times when I was a kid, during the "Grand Prix". It was a great experience! I don't play but once in a blue moon, I will buy 1 lotto ticket for $1. Why waste $10 when I can lose with just $ 1 (lol).
I have been to Hong Kong; I bet it has changed a lot since the 90's. It was my first time and was just a regular tourist. Wouldn't have known to go to the races.
The toilets are really, really rustic. A hole in the ground maybe?
Isabella has grown a lot. She is beautiful!

Emm said...

What fun! Thanks for the good pictures, although it took a minute to adjust my eye -- the clockwise course. So nice to see them up close that way.
I've been to HK but not yet to Happy Valley -- on my list it goes.
Isabella does a lovely pout.

Emm

H.Peter said...


Good morning Nadege,

yes, Isabella is growing very fast lately. Longchamp would give you a good impression of world class horse racing! Love that track.

H.Peter said...



Bon Jour Emm,

now that you mentioned the direction, yes. Funny stuff.

Happy Valley is a must!

Sheila said...

Wonderful post....enjoyed every
photo.

H.Peter said...



I am glad you like the pictures, Sheila

mariya sharapova said...

As a spectator sport, Racehorse makes baseball seem fast. At racetracks, a race is run about every 30 minutes, and when it’s run, most people have to watch a big screen or TV monitor to actually see the action.