Thursday, 26 January 2017

Gulfstream and Ocala Photos

For the third year in a row I decided to head down to Florida to kill some free time during my winter-lull (thanks to Dave Zenner for taking me in) to enjoy some racing and nice weather. As always, this meant hanging out at Gulfstream Park, but this year it included a new experience: the Ocala Breeders' Sales races. Gulfstream, as I have said before, is fantastic. You can't beat sitting in the sun by the walking ring with the racing form and enjoying the races. Ocala, however, was totally my kind of place. The card kicked off with seven Quarter Horse races, which of course is a major plus in my book, but the country atmosphere was fantastic. You walk up to the grandstand and you're greeted by a barbeque and a couple of women handing out free programs to anyone who wants one. The place was packed with horsepeople and locals who only have this one opportunity each year to go to the races unless they want to drive to Tampa or Gulfstream. With no Hialeah this winter, Ocala was also the only opportunity to watch legitimate, pari-mutuel AQHA racing in Florida.

     Armed with a new lens, I took plenty of pictures. Here are the highlights.

Gulfstream Park
Round the bend
The Dust Zone
2015 Prince of Wales winner Breaking Lucky schooling in the paddock in preparation for the Pegasus World Cup
Seven of Jack (#5) and Emisael Jaramillo win a $6,250 claimer
Working in company
Early Entry and Paco Lopez prevail over favoured Delta Bluesman in the Sunshine Millions Sprint
Personal favourite of mine. I don't know who this horse is, but here he/she is breaking from the gate in a workout. Dripping in a lather, bearing in when the gate opened, rider holding tight, just a perfect storm.
California Chrome in his final workout

Ocala Breeders' Sales Championship Races
Quarter Horses entering the paddock

Big crowd for the big day

Calimero, a former Ajax Downs runner, in the paddock

Early stages of a Quarter Horse race. Dash of Pride (#4, yellow silks) and Ubaldo Luna came out on top

Despite a less than perfect start, Silver Wings and Yordanis Amaro powered clear in a 220 yard open allowance

Convict Pike (#4) and Sailing Home (#5) turn for home together in the OBS Championship Colts and Geldings division. However, they were both overtaken by Master Plan in the stretch
Uncle B (#9) turning for home in his track-record setting win in the OBS Sprint Colts and Geldings division. He covered the six furlongs in 1:08 3/5, breaking the record previously held by Lady Shipman. Luis Saez had the mount.

As always, the trip was a blast. Like I said, you can't beat Gulfstream in the winter, but I am really happy I was able to go to the Ocala races. It was a unique experience that I greatly enjoyed. I'm already thinking about going again next year, maybe in conjunction with a trip to Tampa Bay Downs, so I can add the Oldsmar Oval to my list.

     Hope you enjoyed the photos!


  1. that horse breaking from the gate is a very cool photo....sovereign nomination?

  2. Great pictures, Doug. Several are outstanding!