Some people like cats, other people like biking. My thing? Horse racing!
One day when I’m a millionaire (a girl can dream right) I’d love to have a share in a horse race. Following it around, watching every race. How exciting would that be? Heck when I put a 2 pound bet on a horse it is the most exciting thing ever to me!!! Even though as you can imagine the profit is never much. To me horse racing is not about the money. Its about the actual race. Maybe It’s because my full first name, Philippa means a lover of horses? Or perhaps its just because horses are the most majestic animals to walk the earth. Either way I am hooked. My parents used to go to the horse races a lot when they where expecting me. Some people say kids will be influenced in their passions depending on what you do when your pregnant. Personally that’s a bit far-fetched to me but hey ho! When I was 16 I had a boyfriend who worked at one of Canada’s biggest horse tracks. You could say him and his family where a bit horse obsessed. This lead to me spending quite a bit of time at Hastings horse track in Vancouver. It was a pretty magical experience. From huge race horses coming charging through the back stables, to hosing the horses down afterwards, to the crowds Vancouver’s race course attracts.
My boyfriends Dad was a horse trainer, so it made each race that they had a horse racing in that much more exciting. At 16 I had no money to bet (not that 16 year olds can legally bet) but this was when I really fell in love with the sport itself.
The very first time I was able to bet me and 3 friends bet 20 dollars between us. One went by the name, one went for the prettiest horse, one went by statistics – there was no serious method to our bets…. but would you believe it we got a 100 dollar return! To a bunch of young teenagers gambling for the first time 100 dollars was like winning the lottery. We celebrated by spending it all on dinner and bowling for the four of us!
At Hastings race course people liked to flash their money about. Which lead to a lot of pick pocketing! The men also seemed to like to drink far too much booze resulting in silly fights! Because of that I wouldn’t say that Hastings is the most child friendly horse track to go to. With that being said it does share a parking lot with Vancouver’s biggest fair! (The PNE)
That summer every race was flat which to me is so much more exciting than hurdles/steeplechase! The horses tend to be much bigger with huge rippling muscles in their bottom half. They also start the horses at Hastings in proper starting gates which they don’t seem to do here.
Anyways, yesterday I got to take my kids to the horse races for the first time. After betting on the grand national, they showed a little interest in the races. It just so happened that Carlisle had family day on at the races the next weekend. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to introduce them into the world of horse racing.
It was windy and freezing but luckily the english rain stayed away. Other than a bit of moaning about how cold the kids where they really enjoyed it! There is no less corny way to say it but it seriously made my heart swell with joy when I head them shouting “come on number 2.” They have said they’d like to go back to the races! Perhaps on a much warmer day we will do that! Although it was “family day” you wouldn’t have known it. Overall I wasn’t impressed with Carlisle race course… but its close enough to our house! Plus we left the race course with more money then we had arrived with so that is another big bonus of the day!
Despite the freezing weather there where quite a few ladies dressed up. I always enjoy checking out their outfits, some are so beautiful and elegant while others tend to look like 2 dollar hookers. I suppose that’s just personal preference. Regardless I was glad to be snuggled up in trousers and a coat!
Can’t wait till the next time I get to escape to the races! I’d like to try out Hexham race course next. Has anyone ever been? Is it any good?
Sincerely the girl who dreams of owning a race horse!!!