The Santa Ana Horse Race

Horse races are exciting and grueling competitions that require the cooperation of horses who can weigh up to twelve hundred pounds. The sport has a long and proud tradition, with the Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes making up the American Triple Crown. But the racing industry is not without its critics, who argue that it’s inhumane and corrupt. Others maintain that the sport is a pinnacle of achievement for these majestic animals and that, while it may need reforms, it is fundamentally sound.

As the equine athletes took their starting positions at Santa Anita on Sunday, their trainers and owners were in a frenzy to have everything go their way. They were trying to make sure the race was fast, that their horses would run in a good position and, most of all, that the event wouldn’t be a disaster.

The stewards were busy, too, trying to keep everyone safe and within the rules. They had a job to do, but it was difficult because the track was so full of people, a million-dollar stake and thousands of eager horsies.

After the jockeys released their mounts from the gate, the eleven horses set out briskly into the last of the afternoon sunshine. They were running a little bit fast for a flat race, but that wasn’t unusual at this time of year, when the ground was still warm enough to speed up a horse.

The horses made a clean break from the field, and War of Will took the lead around the clubhouse turn. He was being pursued by Mongolian Groom and McKinzie, a small-framed bay.

It was going to be a close race, and it was. Then, as the horses reached the far turn, you could see that War of Will was tiring. He had the inside position but he didn’t have much margin for error, and by the far turn you could also tell that McKinzie was a horse to watch.

In the final stretch, the fading daylight was lit up by the flashing red and yellow jockeys’ uniforms of the favorite and the challenger. The winner would be determined by the closest of brushes, and this was going to be a good one.

Mary Banicki is a Sports&Hobbies writer and researcher with a liberal arts degree from Goddard College. Her articles have appeared on numerous websites, including ESPN. She has a passion for writing, and she loves research and discovery. Mary writes about a wide variety of topics, including sports, health and wellness, and the great outdoors. She’s especially interested in the intersection of sport and society, and she enjoys exploring the ways that athletic pursuits intersect with culture and history. Currently, she lives in New York City. For more information about her, visit her website. You can also follow her on Twitter.