I was 18 years old and my friend Matt (his dad was a horse owner) asked me if I wanted to go to Hawthorne Race Course. Being the adventurous type, I agreed to go, so we took a ride to Cicero, Illinois. It was breezy outside; one of those overcast, gloomy, fall days in which one would think it might start to pour rain at any moment. Armed with a hooded sweatshirt and some booklet called a racing guide, we found a spot down by the rail. With the help of his Dad’s expertise, Matt put together a few three-horse exacta boxes. Being high school students with only part-time jobs, we decided to split the cost of the bets. I attempted to read the racing guide, but I was thoroughly confused and just listened to what the on-track analyst had to say, and then repeated it all to Matt. I felt like I was just looking for some information to add my two cents. To our surprise, we ended up winning a few races and broke even for the day (thank goodness Matt had some sort of a clue and had been to the track before). I didn’t look at my visit to the track as a means to make any money or as a way to get rich; I was just in it for the experience. Sharing laughs with my friend and the track regulars, along with high-fiving the group next to us after a win, was all a part of my first racetrack experience. The excitement of seeing the horses turn for home and hearing the race call for the first time was something that was branded into my mind that day and quite possibly started my passion for the horse racing industry.
If you are reading this blog, you are probably interested in horse racing and might have even attended a live racing event. As horse racing fans and part-time handicappers, we may not agree on which horse to pick in a race, but we can all be certain that there is nothing like your first time.
Below in the comment section, feel free to talk about your first experience with horse racing. Feel free to share what track you were at, who were you with and what made it memorable?