The in-folks treated us to a day at Arlington Park yesterday. I've never been to a horseracing track before. It was huge. And very white. We were inside--thank God, it's hotter in Illinois than it is in Georgia, which is just wrong--sat in shaded air conditioned splendor overlooking the track for the whole afternoon, nibbling on brie and chocolate cake. Very decadent. Nine races in all. fosteronfilm and I bet on six of them, and promptly lost our twelve dollars. We're so not gamblers. But our philosophy on it was that the money was paying for the enjoyment of having a horsie to root for, so it was all good.
The horses were beautiful. There was some excitement in the final race. In the jostling to the finish line, a horse went down, throwing his jockey and knocking another one off his mount. The second rider got to his feet, very shaken, but walked off the track without needing assistance. But the first jockey went down in a throng of horses, and while I know that they'll do their best not to trample a person, there was really no way for them to not step on him. He went rolling under their hooves and when the horses were past, he wasn't moving. I wonder if he got kicked in the head. The ambulance guys came running and immediately went to work on him. The track didn't give any details about his status. I still have no idea if he's okay, or even alive. I plan to do some Googling to see if I can find a news article about it. A sobering finish to the day.
[Edit: Just found this article on the accident. Jockey and horse are still being evaluated and their injuries treated, but at least I know the jockey isn't dead.]
I also wonder about how the horses are treated. They looked incredibly well cared for--they were sleek and spirited. But there's also a listing on the program to indicate whether the horse is on Lasix, which is apparently some sort of drug. And, of course, it was very hot. I do tend to think the horses probably have a decent time of it. At the very least because they're worth so much money. If people are going to make the financial investment into racing, they really can't afford to abuse, neglect, or starve their horses. I hope.
34-day reprint SALE of audio rights to "The Life and Time of Penguin" to Escape Pod. "Penguin" is going to be made into a podcast! I'm so jazzed. I'm a total Escape Pod junkie. Ever since I discovered these folks, I've been jonsing to have one of my stories turned into an mp3 reading. And even better, Stephen Eley, the editor, is going to try to get a little girl to read the part of the, err, little girl. *happy dancing*