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HRN Original Blog:
Past the Grandstand

2013 Breeders' Cup Highlights: Morning Works

Morning Works SA BC 615 X 400
Photo: Terri Cage

 

Please enjoy the second installment of my “2013 Breeders’ Cup Highlights” series, which features the greatest personal moments of my Breeders’ Cup experience.


Highlight Two: Morning Works


My teeth chattering as I walked toward the grandstand in the dark, I immediately grabbed a delicious hot chocolate at Clocker’s Corner before heading to my favorite spot along the rail – near the gap and right by the far turn. I desperately clung to the cup holding my hot chocolate, relishing the warmth it brought to my hands as I gazed across the dimly lit track as Thoroughbreds stood in the chute, jogged by along the outside rail, galloped down the center of the track, or breezed down the inside fence.


Gradually, the sky would become lighter, illuminating the breathtaking San Gabriel Mountains that act as the backdrop as you gaze across the racetrack at Santa Anita Park. Eventually, the sun would shine down the stretch of the track, illuminating the grandstand and racetrack with an orange glow.


Watching the works from Clocker’s Corner offered the opportunity to mingle with some of racing’s greatest personalities. Journalists worked tirelessly to find the next great story to share with racing fans, trainers kept a watchful eye on their charges, jockeys and exercise riders stopped by occasionally for interviews or to chat with friends, and a mass of racing enthusiasts gathered to see the Thoroughbreds traveling along the track.


Frequently, a horse wearing a Breeders’ Cup saddle towel – each color-coded and number-coded in relation to each horse’s race – would travel past, attracting the attention of all those that gathered at the track to watch the morning. The crowd would grow abuzz as cameras clicked and voices uttered the name of the horse before them.


Time spent at the gap during a renovation break offered an opportunity to get up-close and personal with the stars of racing. Game On Dude would stand along the rail, turning his head and eyeing his admirers as he begged for a treat. Hymn Book would stand at the top of the chute, his head up, his eyes alert, and his ears forward as he gazed at his surroundings, garnering loving murmurs of “Hymn-y” from his adoring fans gathered along the fence. Secret Circle would stand inches from the rail, his head up as he stared at his environment. Royal Delta would strut up from the barns to stand in the chute, her neck outstretched as she posed for the cameras.


A stroll along the backside offered unique glimpses at the equine stars. They walked along the shedrow, received baths as steam lifted off their backs, and walked along the horse path toward the track for their morning exercise. Past Breeders’ Cup champions wore the sheets that had the name of the race they had captured stitched into the fabric as they ambled alongside grooms and hotwalkers, cooling out after jogging or galloping on the track.


Time spent at morning works granted me with a multitude of memorable moments. New friends – horses and humans – were made, the best hot chocolate I’ve ever tasted was savored, and the beauty and magnificence of the Thoroughbred racehorse was on display in one of the most beautiful settings one could imagine.

 

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Older Comments about 2013 Breeders' Cup Highlights: Morning Works...

Morning works at any racetrack are favorites of mine, too.

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About Mary Cage

 


Mary Cage, a 20-year-old avid fan of horse racing, has been around horses all her life, having owned, shown, and judged them for as long as she can remember. She began writing her own horse racing blog, Past the Grandstand, in August 2011 and has since been published in America's Horse, American Racehorse and the Appaloosa Journal, as well as with the websites of The Blood-Horse and The Equine Chronicle.


In her personal horse experience, Mary has been around horses all her life and has won several Appaloosa National Champion and Reserve World Champion titles in the show ring. 

 

Mary has always aspired to have a career with horses and since her love for horse racing began, she has dreamed of pursuing a career in the Thoroughbred racing industry, possibly as a writer and marketing/communications specialist. She is currently attending the University of North Texas, where she is studying Photojournalism. With this blog, she hopes to show readers horse racing through the eyes of a young fan as she writes about assorted horse racing topics.

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