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The morning I last went to Belmont Park, there was a horse who lost its rider somewhere around the main track, treating me to an impromptu performance by the outriders. With the sirens blaring and flashing, the horse thankfully did what its training taught it to do, and the situation was over and done with quickly.

IT’S ON: The Cigar Mile!

Yup, after much deliberating and doubting— due to my hectic work, production, and school schedules colliding— I’ll be making my first trip ever to Aqueduct Racetrack at the end of the month. Things were beginning to look up bit by bit, then when news broke that Groupie Doll was coming to confront Goldencents, there was no questioning whether or not I would go. Telephoto lens is reserved and I’ll be there on the rail to see and photograph the big race, the Remsen— one of my favorite two-year-old races— and the Demoiselle.

Sorry for the lack of posts, it’s been a busy week thanks to school winding down, but I should be back to normal FOR SURE next week once things lighten up. I’ll also post what I’ll be wearing/what I look like for those who are coming out to Aqueduct that day; I’m already expecting to see some new and familiar faces as the racing fans on Tumblr and Twitter all appear to be pig-piling in for the day.

It Was a Super-b Saturday

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Byline: The day on which I visited Belmont Park again— this time, driving all by myself for the first time— to see some mega superstars of racing, meet some cool Tumblr peeps, and photograph ponies with a professional-grade lens. All photos are mine unless noted.

Ever since reading Man o’ War when I was kid— the original source of my interest in horse racing— I’ve wanted to see a running of the Jockey Club Gold Cup (I). The story made it sound like this great championship race of epic proportion and prestige, although yes I’m aware Man o’ War basically took it in a walkover. I swore I would this year when I had to miss last year’s “Super Saturday” card at Belmont Park, and this past Saturday I’m pleased to say I followed through on that promise. It all paid off in one of my favorite racetrack excursions in my third visit to Old Sandy.

I had built the whole month of September up to going to Super Saturday. The major motivation to was not only the Jockey Club Gold Cup, but a string of great races that would lead to six horses going to the Breeders’ Cup and of course, my first (and perhaps last) sighting of the great Royal Delta and some personal favorites like Hymn Book and Little Mike. The obsessive gearhead within pressed me to try renting a lens for the first time in a day of many firsts— including my first solo excursion to Belmont which includes DRIVING THERE THROUGH METRO-AREA NEW YORK. Nothing freaks me out more than driving through congested traffic on roads I’m not familiar with!

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Utterly Fantastic Day at Belmont Park

Over 1,100 frames taken between the morning workouts and race 10, and one of my favorite race day excursions to date!

Post and pictures coming soon!

Dear NYRA

Please approve my media credential application so I can photo-attack Royal Delta and her entourage of losers later next month… without anyone ruining my shot because they want to take a blurry picture/video with their smartphone.

God, I hate those bastards.

"At least I beat YOU today!" Mucho Macho Man looks tired walking back from the Whitney Handicap, his old Breeders’ Cup Classic foe Fort Larned walking ahead of him. (Photo by Dawna Wood/The Galloping Hat Rack)

"At least I beat YOU today!" Mucho Macho Man looks tired walking back from the Whitney Handicap, his old Breeders’ Cup Classic foe Fort Larned walking ahead of him. (Photo by Dawna Wood/The Galloping Hat Rack)

Day 2 went much better

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Day 2 was more about being a fan than a victorious handicapper… you need a bit of both for proper fun at the track! Here’s my freebie Funny Cide poster that I will be hanging up momentarily and the Funny Cide book I owned that I brought to the autograph signing.

Slept like a dead rock. Painful wakeup at 6am, and begrudgingly got up, packed, and left the hotel for Saratoga bright and early. Was miffed when I found the slipped the bill underneath my door… now, I had booked my hotel WEEKS AGO and everything Expedia forwarded to me had all the right details. I get there, they say they have me booked for August 14 & 15. "Haha I wish, I have to work then." Bummer, because that would have been awesome to have a Saratoga getaway on my birthday. New reservation made, but instead of just moving dates, it’s like they charged me all over again at full price. No. Best Western and I shall have words…

But I’m glad I made it to the track. I accidentally missed where I usually park and went up on block further into the viewing stand parking… which apparently is only for credentialed people. OOPS. I got a bunch of nice photos there before security thought to ask me for anything, and then they really didn’t do anything. Another credentialed photographer who came by later asked me what the guard said to me and how I got in.

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East of Danzig, a Langfuhr gelding, ran 3rd in a turf claiming race at Saratoga. Luis Saez, up. (Photo by Dawna Wood/The Galloping Hat Rack)

East of Danzig, a Langfuhr gelding, ran 3rd in a turf claiming race at Saratoga. Luis Saez, up. (Photo by Dawna Wood/The Galloping Hat Rack)

The best Thoroughbred horse racing blog on Tumblr! Updated daily with handicapping analysis, photos, editorials, and things gathered 'round the web.

Tracks visited: Calder, Saratoga, Belmont, Suffolk, Aqueduct.


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