I had an invitation from horse owner P. J. Harris to meet in what they call the Paddock area right before his horse – Joe Mooch – was going to race. It’s pretty cool really. They ring a bell seven times, which tells everyone it’s time to get ready for the race. The horses come in and warm up a bit, then they get their gear on for the jockey, the jockey comes in and talks with the trainer and gets last minute tips, then he or she mounts the horse, parades around the paddock for all the owners and spectators to see, and then they are down the walkway of champions and onto the track. In the meantime, I raced to the finish line so that I’d be in place for the end of the race.
This was a ‘claiming race’ and while I’m not sure of the specifics of what that really means yet, P. J. was a bit nervous over it. The horses warmed up on the track for a bit, got into the starting gate and they were off. As they rounded turn four and raced for home, Joe Mooch started to really kick it in and by the finish line, he had won by a nose. It was great to not only be invited into the owners area, but to be there when that particular horse actually won. It was over so quickly, it was almost like it hadn’t happened, but it had, and after a bit of jubilation, P. J. was off to deal with the ‘claim’ part of it.