June 17, 2010

The Sport of Kings

The thoroughbred was met with silence as he entered the race track. I looked around and noticed the audience was largely made up of senior citizens who were there to gamble away their retirement savings and government pensions. Through the centuries, the popularity of the equestrian sport has always been tied to betting on its outcome. I took a seat in the grandstand right in front of the finish line. The tag line of Vancouver's Hastings Racecourse is "Bred for Excitement", but I had no idea what to anticipate in my first live horse race.

With one devastating injury all that separates them from life and death, the careers of race horses are thankless and short lived. They are given mildly amusing monikers such as "Hoof Hearted" and "Gotta Pee". The horses were escorted to their starting gates where they calmly took their position. A shot rang out and they were off, their powerful legs picking up speed as they galloped around the race course. The diminutive jockeys did their best to guide the noble steeds to the finish line, but only one would feel the thrill of victory.


“A horse never runs so fast as when he has other horses to catch up and outpace.”
~ Ovid ~