Tuesday morning Rich and I, and our friend Mary decided to drive up to Del Mar to watch and photograph the morning workouts. We belong to a photo group that schedules photo shoots at the morning workouts, and also full day photo shoots at Del Mar that include entrance to the barns. We really wanted to get into the barns, but that shoot filled up quickly, and the waiting list did nothing but wait. Maybe next year...
So, we did a little morning shoot on our own. It turns out that at 7 am you can just park and walk in to watch the workouts. Nobody questions you, and every once in awhile the jockeys will stop and chat, or "pose" their horse for you. That part was easy. Getting the running horse in sharp focus is a whole other matter! I had lots of "almosts" and a few that were right on, but it was fun trying, and maybe if I go again next year I'll get a little better at this.
The workout jockeys walk the horses from the barn to the paddock area, take a few turns around, then head out to the track. Each horse is accompanied by another horse and rider, not sure exactly why.
The horses are then ridden out to the track, where they appear to do a series of sprints from one end of the track to just past the scoreboard. They walk back, and repeat. This gave us lots of opportunities to try to shoot them in action. They also ventured out to the far side of the track, and I'm assuming the same thing was going on out there.
It appears that each group of horses gets about a 30 minute period on the track, then their jockeys lead them back to the paddock area to cool down.
The jockey on the left stopped for awhile so we could get a couple of good shots...I loved that they were so friendly!
While the results weren't perfect, we had a great time trying! It's just fun to get a glimpse into this behind-the-scenes activity in the world of horse racing. Although I know almost nothing about horses or racing, I think they are beautiful animals, and I'd love to get an opportunity to go to the barn to see them up close, and try some "portraits."