Saturday, October 23, 2010
Retama Park Horse Races
We went to Retama Park to watch the horse races last night. I'd never been to a horse race before. It was interesting and fun.
The races started at 6:45 PM, so it was already getting dark by the time they started running - so most of my pictures were hopelessly blurred even at high ISOs.
A night at the races was remarkably inexpensive. $2 to park, free admission for military ($2 regular). If you wanted to go up to the "Club House" it cost an additional $1. Programs were $1 - we got 2 and shared them between the four of us. The food stands were mostly run by private organizations conducting fund raisers - the VFW, a group of soccer moms, etc. Hot dogs, some Tex-Mex stuff. So don't go there for the food, but it's really cheap.
Betting started at $1. So theoretically, you could have a horse in all 10 races and if you lost everything, your night might have cost you $13.
The best part for me of course was that I could walk right down to the rails and take pictures as the horses thundered by...
... and get some post-race shots of the jockeys up close.
Most of the races were run on dirt - I think it's called "slop" - water trucks wet it down before the races began. The jockeys were covered in it after each race.
Going with what I said about the Accordion Festival, people say they love live entertainment, but few actually show up. The park was maybe at 20% of capacity. There were free seats everywhere. The price really can't get much cheaper, and there was skill and beauty to be seen, and a cheap way to be an active part of it.
Granted, these horses and these jockeys are probably not top tier, but they are putting their all out there. That alone is something worth seeing.