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After the Finish Line

September 13, 2013

California – Monday, September 2

We all left the house early this morning to go over to the track to watch some morning workouts. Christy won’t have the chance to see a race (they have another horse racing tonight after her flight leaves) but this way she can see some of the horses out on the track. It was a pretty foggy morning, but the racetrack was still a busy place – most horses have workouts every morning to stay in shape between races. So the trainers and grooms and exercise riders all keep early hours. We watched the horses on the track for a while, and most were just galloping through their workouts, but a few looked like they were doing “breezes” – full-out running as though they were in a race. Their speed and fluidity of movement is fun to watch. Then we headed for the track kitchen where we were going to get breakfast, and just after we’d all ordered big breakfast burritos, Erik and Pavla got the news that their one horse in New York at the Saratoga track was going to race in about 20 minutes since the race had moved from the turf to the dirt because of wet weather. And there happened to be a TV in the track kitchen tuned to the correct racing channel, so we’d be able to watch the race while eating. And it was an exciting race – their horse, Sea to Sky, started on the outside, but sailed right over to the rail and was in front for a good part of the race. Even the announcer was enjoying the race – “And Sea to Sky sails through a sea of slop….” Eventually another horse snuck by to come in first, but Sea to Sky hung onto 2nd and everyone was very happy. After breakfast, we visited a couple horses, then headed back. Christy and I had 9 miles to walk before her flight this evening, and if we accomplished that, she will have walked 100 miles with me on my journey – some in each corner of the country, and that would be very special for both of us.

As we were leaving, someone called Pavla over to give her an envelope, and it turned out it was the director of an organization called After the Finish Line, which is a group that helps find good homes for retired racehorses. Many of them are still young when their racing careers are over, and some people have difficulty finding a suitable place to help their racehorse transition into a new life. I had wanted to make a donation to an organization connected with racing, and had already looked into a different one, but this was a perfect opportunity to help horses find new homes, so I explained my story and made a donation right in the parking lot!

Then Erik, Keira, Christy and I headed back to the beach in the fog, while Pavla went to the other barn. Despite the cloudy, foggy weather, a lot of families were still on the beach, enjoying the last official day of summer, and we passed some pretty creative sand sculptures. Keira walked a whole mile with us, and wanted to keep going until Erik reminded her they still had to walk back! Chris and I kept going, and when we walked as far as we could in one direction, we turned around and went off in the other direction for a ways, and Pavla joined us for a couple miles too. Altogether we walked 6 miles on the beach, which only left 3. We went back to their house, and Christy got packed up, then we headed for Seaport Village for the final 3 miles of walking. By this time the fog had lifted and it actually turned into a pretty warm day. We walked all around Seaport Village and the adjoining marina, looking at all the huge yachts. We easily finished off the 3 remaining miles we needed, and then found someone to take our picture so we’d have a record of 100 miles that we walked together! After a little shopping and a snack, it was time to head to the airport, and I dropped Christy off, knowing I’d see her again in about 3 weeks for her oldest daughter’s wedding.

I went back to Erik’s house – they didn’t join us since they’ve been down to Seaport Village many times, plus they wanted a quiet afternoon at home since Keira starts school tomorrow. So they were just finishing up with some relaxing pool time, and then it was time to head to the racetrack again, since they had another horse racing. This colt was in a race with more experienced colts, but it was a good opportunity for him to run, so they decided to enter him. And I was happy to have another chance to see a race, since the one on Friday didn’t work out! Everything went smoothly, and their colt came in 4th against the more experienced ones, so once again they were happy with the outcome. So they had 2 successful races today! As we left the track, we saw a couple big horse vans, loading up horses to head to the next track for the next meet. We asked one of the drivers how many horses they can fit onto one of the big vans, and he told us 15, although they don’t usually like to have it that crowded. There are also planes that are equipped for horse travel for cross-country journeys – although it’s kind of hard to imagine what those look like, and how the horses manage take-offs and landings! We stopped for a bite of pizza, and had to get Keira back to get ready for her first day of first grade!

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One Comment
  1. Nancy permalink

    It’s fun to see you with your sibs—–you sure do look like each other!

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