Clásico Club Hípico de Santiago

my first Horse racing Reporting experience abroad

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Mandatory “Directorio” balcony selfie

Before I even left for Chile, my parents made a request: that I don’t spend all of my time there at a racetrack. This didn’t mean not to spend any time. It was just their way of expressing the importance of going out and seeing the world beyond the smoky and character-filled confines of the racetrack. I have my entire life to visit tracks, and being that life is unpredictable, there’s no guarantee I’ll ever be back in Chile again after these four months.

However, aside from my mind-altering trip to Patagonia (comparing the two is like apples to oranges), I think I may have just taken part in one of the greatest opportunities that could have possibly presented itself during my entire study abroad experience.

Despite my parents’ warnings of spending too much time at the track, I probably researched more on racing in Chile above anything else before landing in the country. And I had a date written on my calendar…

May 22, 2016: Gran Premio Club Hípico de Santiago. Continue reading

Morning at a Racetrack in Chile

the Valparaiso Sporting Club – My favorite hidden gem in VIÑA DEL MAR

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The Puente Cancha entrance to the Valparaiso Sporting Club

If you aren’t actively looking for it, you’d hardly notice the wrought iron gates set in the graffiti-covered wall across from Puente Cancha in Viña del Mar, Chile. The wall, which parallels 1 Norte Street, shields the backside of the Valparaiso Sporting Club from the honking cars and smoking buses trying to deliver anxious people to work on their Wednesday morning.

Unless you poke your face through the bars of the gates, the only indication of a track on the other side is a sign emblazoned with a victorious racehorse and bold lettering, announcing in Spanish the dates of the 2-year-old Triple Crown Races.

A guard, seated in a small guard shack just inside, is expecting me. He motions me in as I push open the surprisingly heavy gate, leaving behind the raucous outside environment and entering into different world. A gray paved road stretches out before me, lined by trees and shedrows. Steaming horses covered with brightly colored sheets clatter up and down the drive as they’re cooled out by hot walkers. Continue reading

Reaching half-way: The beginning of five new challenges

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The photo-bombers in this pic make me laugh (taken at the racetrack Club Hipico de Santiago)

When you step off the airplane and into the airport of the country where you’ll spend the next four months of your life, you feel as though you have all the time in the world.

In barely one week from today, I’ll reach the half-way point of my time in Chile. And this scares the dickens out of me. Because for as much as I’ve already done, there’s so much more that I want to accomplish while I’m here.

Throughout the first two months I’ve experienced highs and lows. I’ve missed tall glasses of ice-cold milk (it’s not very common to drink milk here), blueberry French toast and my family. I’ve gone on adventures, been lost and confused, found my way with the help of kind people and even puked up an olive (don’t eat too many empanadas before getting in a car if you get motion sick). And I have no regrets for any of it, even the toughest of learning experiences that knocked me on my butt. Continue reading

Horse racing in Chile – It’s a small world

My first experience at a Chilean racetrack was nothing less than aWESOME

Ever since arriving in Viña (as the city is fondly called) I’ve been dying to check out the racetrack. My bus drives past the Valparaiso Sporting Club on its way to deliver me to classes, and my university, situated on a hill overlooking the city, provides a convenient view of the track. My breaks between classes are generally spent sitting in the lush, vibrantly green grass and watching the morning workouts. Yes, I do believe I picked the right place to study, and I swear I didn’t even plan that!

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Morning workouts

My curiosity got the best of me last Thursday, and I walked to the track for morning workouts, which are apparently not as common for people to watch as they are in the states. I bypassed the open door where maintenance staff was entering the grandstands, not wanting to tempt fate and have a run-in with security guards. Instead I played it safe and stood next to a low gate along the outside rail of the turf course. It wasn’t an up close and personal view, but I wasn’t complaining. I attached the zoom lens to my camera and started snapping away.

Aside from two or three who I saw putting in timed workouts, the majority of the Thoroughbreds here gallop without saddles, just a pad and a girth. The atmosphere was quiet and relaxed, nothing like the bustling morning traffic at Saratoga. Continue reading