Friday, June 8, 2012

Off to the races!

Tomorrow is the running of the Belmont Stakes and I'll Have Another, the horse that won in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, could be the first Triple Crown winner in 34 years. We normally watch the races (Graham's parents even have an annual Derby Party and we had a Preakness Party last year) but due to the time difference and traveling, we weren't able to watch the previous 2 races this year. 

Update: Turns out there will be no Triple Crown contender after all, I'll Have Another was scratched due to an injury. 

We did go to some races here in EspaƱa last summer. During 2 weeks in August there are horse races on the beach in Sanlucar de Barrameda, which is a town just north of Puerto. Despite the casual atmosphere of the playa, the races are a big event. The horses are both local and from various European countries, and there are cash prizes for the winners. The first time we went, we watched from the beach, while enjoying some tintos de verano with friends.

A short video of one of the races.

All along the beach, kids set up and run booths where you can bet, for a euro or dos, on your favorite horse.

In between each race, people cross the plastic fence and head down to the water to cool off. 

After the races had finished for the night, we headed into the center of town for dinner.

The next dia that we went to watch the races, we were lucky enough to be invited by a friend from the base, whose wife is from Sanlucar, who had tickets to the finish line tent.

We were able to watch from the grand stands or on the big screen in the tent, which meant we could stay close to the bar and food.

 Of course, there was jamon. And also refreshing claras to drink.

There was also formal betting. Unfortunately, neither of us picked a winner. But the friend who got us into the tent did! 

We could also check out the horses and jockeys before placing our bets (not that it helped us any, but it was fun to watch).

Since we had tickets, after the last race we were able to hang out and celebrate at the private tent that belongs to our friend's Spanish familia. 

There was plenty of food, manzanilla (a type of sherry that is only produced in Sanlucar), and hospitality to go around.

We had such a great time on both days that we went to the Sanlucar races and both were such unique Spanish experiences! We are also so grateful to have been invited to the finish line tent.  The dates for this years races were just announced recently and we definitely want to plan to go again.

Are you watching the Belmont this year? We're hoping to (it's not every year that the Triple Crown is up for grabs!), but we also have a fiesta to go to on Saturday night, so we'll see what happens. Either way we'll be rooting for I'll Have Another!

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