We welcomed back fall racing at Belmont by taking a horse over for a gallop over the sprawling dirt oval.
It’s easy to take a horse to the races. First, you spend an obscene amount of time around the barn, getting dirty, getting straw down your shirt, drinking coffee, talking total crap to strangers, and – yeah – riding and taking care of the horse. This is a full-time job, and it’s awesome. It’s better than working at Disney World. Trust me, I know this first-hand.
Then, when he’s ready to go to Belmont Park, that beautiful piece of horsey paradise just outside New York City, follow my illustrated guide below, complete with simple steps to improve your experience (if not your actual competitiveness)!
1. Travel in style.
2. Be prepared for bad weather.
3. Make sure your horse is spotless, or the outriders’ ponies will totally show you up.
4. Bring a stepladder, as your horse will magically grow taller.
5. Put on your “game face” early to psyche out competition.
6. You may want to prepare by running marathons over the summer months.
7. Use the time in the paddock to tell your horse how cute he looks in his athletic socks.
After the race, just follow these steps in reverse. Tell him how cute he is with mud on his nose. Schlep him back to the barn. Psyche out all the grooms waiting in line for the inexplicably single hose, and wash him until he’s spotless. (Use the stepladder to wash off all that brain sweat.) Walk him dry, watching out for errant tornadoes. And head back on the good ol’ van, AKA Sweet Party Bus for Horses.
And that’s it! Easy! Let me know how it works for you.