I grew up with a giant poster of Secretariat on my bedroom wall. Horse racing and me have a long history together. From the first race my mother took me to at LA County Fair to my dad working for Pa Finley, the majesty of the experience has always had a soft spot in my heart. Now don’t get me wrong, it is a great spectators sport, but could never replace college basketball as my all time number one. But since college basketball isn’t big in Australia and March Madness is weeks away, why not go to the races.
In AGB 314, Introduction to Fair Management, the students learn about the Pari Mutuel Act in 1933 that legalized the betting on horse races. The monies gained by the state of California went on to build the California Fair Network and enhance the agriculture learning opportunities at Cal Poly and UC Davis. It was only fitting that the senior project class took a field trip to Morphettville. The cultural and formality was unlike I have ever witness state side, short of a triple crown event. Hopefully my photos will give a you a glimpse into Australia Thoroughbred racing. From the turf track (only the low rent district tracks would have dirt), to the book makers, to the dress code, the day at the races was one of my favorites here Down Under.
As much as I marveled at the differences from the industry at home, Jim Ahern and Stephen Chambers would have noticed so much more. There is no winner’s circle or rose garlands, but there is a love of the sport and a deep appreciation for pomp and circumstance. There is a rose garden, actually many of them and as the song goes, so smile for a while and let’s be jolly love shouldn’t be so melancholy, come along and share the good times while we can, we shared a day of traditional Australian fun. If only you got paid if your horse finished fourth, it would have been perfect!