From Endurance to Dressage
While the Breeders' Cup changes venues each year, I think that it's at Santa Anita about the half of the time. That's good for us since Santa Anita is only about a two hour drive from Bakersfield. We went in 2014 and had a great time, so my husband made sure we had tickets for the 2016 event.
Before we even left for the races, I had contacted Jodi Perkins who writes the blog Racing to Ride. She had mentioned on Facebook that she and her significant other would be there all the way from Arizona. While Jodi doesn't post often, she does share her racing adventures on her Facebook page, and I am always deeply fascinated by her life. I was dying to meet her in person.
Of course, once we finally found one another, I was so star struck that I forgot to get photographic proof of the meet-up. Dude - she's tall, thin, and gorgeous. I had a girl crush right away. Not only is she simply lovely, but she's very nice and easy to chat with. I didn't want to keep her for too long, so we visited between races. I promised that if she and her SO ever bring a horse to race at Santa Anita, we'd be there to cheer her on.
I've been to Santa Anita a bunch of times and have written about it more than once. No matter how many times I visit, I am always in awe of the place. The track is set at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains which means that whether horses are going by or not, you always have an amazing view.
I don't go to a lot of tracks, so I can't say how they're set up, but Santa Anita does its best to give visitors an up close view of the horses and jockeys. At a normal weekend race, you can get right next to the horses in the paddocks and saddling areas, and fans are allowed right next to the fence. At the Breeders' Cup, it's a little harder to get around, so I didn't get any paddock shots this times, but we did get to watch all of the horses come through the tunnel.
When you stand at the rail, you realize just how fast those horses are moving. They flash by in a blaze of color that is simply beautiful.
This is Classic Empire (on the inside) winning his race with Julien Leparoux aboard in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (2 year old colts and geldings). I love that I was able to capture the moment just as the jockey was reaching down to pat his horse's neck.
The two-day attendance total of 118,484 was the highest in the 33-year history of the Breeders' Cup. We thought it was crowded in 2014, but this year's attendance was amazing!
On a normal weekend, we get super amazing box seats for about $40 total. For the Breeders' Cup, the same seats sell for thousands and thousands of dollars. The best we could do for this visit was Club Apron which is track level but right next to the tunnel where the horses come in and out and right in front of the finish line. We paid $165 bucks a ticket.
The highlight of the day was Race 12. You've probably already seen it on TV, but if not, here's the video.
We bet on California Chrome, of course, so it was disappointing that he lost. We saw him run in 2014 at the Breeders' Cup where he finished third. When the horses made the last turn and started down the home stretch, the roar from the crowd was deafening. I saw Chrome starting to flag, but I was certain the crowd's energy was going to push him that last little bit to victory, but no.
I think we're going to go back in January for my birthday when the track re-opens for the 2017 season. Tickets will be cheap, the crowd a whole lot thinner, and the weather is usually better there than at home. Pasadena has fewer rainy days than even we have.
If you've never been to the races, you should find a track in your area and go. It's a lot of fun, and really, it's a pretty cheap day - especially if you cash in a ticket or two.
About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2023 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2023 Show Schedule
2023 Completed …
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%: