If you have ever been to the horse races, you know that instant of highly charged excitement when the starting gates open and those mighty animals fly out. One way or another, if only in movies, most of us have witnessed those brief tense moments as the horses round the track and race for the finish line. That’s the only part of the sport I had ever experienced, and that only a few times.
But I have been curious about Golden Gate Fields for quite some time. I’m not a rider, but I can appreciate horses as athletes: beautiful and powerful and so fast. I have often wondered about just how they make their way to that starting gate. So when I saw that the track was hosting a Photo Day with an all-access pass, I signed up. The day started at 7:00 in the morning, watching the workouts. It included a tour of one of the barns, and close-up vantage points at the paddock and the winner’s circle. It was interesting, and exhilarating, and ultimately exhausting — just like I imagine it is for the trainers, jockeys, exercise riders, and grooms who work with those horses day-in and day-out.
Those minutes-long races are the result of so much work that goes on behind the scenes. It was fascinating to catch a glimpse of it.
Here’s a look at some of what I saw on Photo Day.
Golden Gate Fields. There’s more to the story.
Racing resumes on October 18, 2012.
See more from Dorothy Brown on her blog.