Posted by Sarah on Aug 12, 2009 Labels: horses
On the evening of August 1st (after a day of antiquing with my friend in Anoka) Clint and I met his parents out at Running Aces - the relatively new harness racing track near Forest Lake, Minnesota - for dinner and races. I haven't been to a track for so long it was good to "get to the races" again!
Many people wonder about the differences between harness racing and 'normal' horse racing. At Canterbury Park one sees Thoroughbred racing where jockeys ride astride the horses at a gallop. Sitting behind Standardbreds in sulkies, the jockeys at Running Aces race their horses at a trot or a 'pace' where the lateral legs move in unison in a two-beat gait.
We started with a nice dinner overlooking the track. The service was a bit slow, but the food was pretty good. Immediately upon finishing, the first race of the night was starting, so we hustled out to find a place along the rail to watch the ponies come sailing by. It was a gorgeous evening for it, nice and cool and with a slight breeze.
Clint did some betting, I enjoyed a couple of cold beverages and we all had a great time. I'd never seen sulky racing before, and it was really neat to watch. The horses, although "only" trotting or pacing, were nonetheless very quick and from what I understand they're almost as fast as Thoroughbreds at a full-out gallop.
Since we were right on the rail, we also got to chit-chat with the gal on the lead pony quite a bit as she headed back and forth from the stables to the final turn between races. Evidently, all she did was apply to do that...wouldn't be a bad job!
Although the track is shut down until next spring, I'd say there's a very good chance we'll be heading up to Running Aces next summer to watch the harness racing again.