Horse racing, Latin American style

By Carolyn Tiernan

Courtesy of Carolyn Tiernan

This past Saturday I went to the horse races at the Hipodromo Argentino. I pass this location every day on my bus ride to school, and they’ve had signs up for the Gran Premio Latinoamericano race for a while now. Being an avid horse lover, I had to check it out! I’ve only been to one race before in my life, but this was 100 times better!

The signs said the race started at 1 PM, so I arrived conservatively at 12 PM. I was meeting two friends there, but they was running late, so I had a while to look around. Pretty much everyone in attendance was an older man, so I felt a little weird being one of the only girls checking out the horses. I definitely got a few weird looks!

As I was examining the booth where the bets are placed, a nice elderly man asked me which horse I thought was going to win. I explained that I had absolutely no idea how to pick a winning racehorse, and we struck up a conversation (in Spanish of course)! The man’s name is Camilo, and he comes to the races a lot, so he showed me the ropes. We watched the horses as they were shown around the paddock and he pointed out his favorite jockey to me. As we waited for the horses to line up at the starting gate, we went to Camilo’s favorite spot to watch, which is right along the railing next to the winner’s circle and the finish line. The race was a little anticlimactic because it was so short, but it’s always exciting to see the finish. I had thought there was only the one race at 1 PM, but I was informed that there were 17 different races running all day long!

My friends finally arrived an hour after I got there, and we ended up staying the whole day. We got lunch from the concessions and talked for hours, which was a nice way to spend the afternoon. Before we knew it, it was nearly 6PM, which was the time advertised for the Gran Premio race. By this time, thousands of more people had arrived, so the energy was revved up.  A Chilean horse ended up winning, so it’s lucky we didn’t place any bets!

All in all it was a great afternoon! Very relaxing and filled with my favorite four-legged animals. Many of my other friends are jealous of what fun I had, so I will definitely be going back!

Carolyn Tiernan can be reached for comment at [email protected]