Horses and Hats - Prix de Diane (Part II)
Those horses are fast! Even with my eyes glued on the viewfinder and my finger on the button of the camera, I didn't manage to get the shot that I wanted of the horses coming out of the curve with the Château de Chantilly in the background. I kept telling myself to wait for just the right moment and before I knew it, they were gone. My sister, an ex-jockey who is now the executive director of a therapeutic riding stable, has tried to explain to me the sensation of speed when you're astride a racehorse, but I didn't quite get it until yesterday when I tried to capture them in action.
Before the race, the horses and their jockeys join the owners and trainers in the winner's circle so that the audience can take a last minute look at the horses before placing their bets. The owners stride into the circle, exuding an air of confidence, while the jockeys do their best to keep their mounts calm and steady.
With the thundering of hooves, the horses fly past the cheering crowds in the grandstand and cross the finish line.
While it's customary for a jockey to ride his horse across the finish line, sometimes he may find himself making the long walk on his own.
The winner is tentatively announced but winning bets aren't paid until after the jockey and saddle are weighed. The jockeys moved on and off the scale as quickly as the horses ran down the track. The scene reminded me of the public weigh-ins on the American television show, "The Biggest Loser", but the jockeys didn't have any spare weight to lose!
Unlike these people, who spent most of the day indoors pouring over statistics, I can't give you any tips on how to pick a winning horse. Stéphane and I didn't place any bets, but we did enjoy watching our neighbors celebrate whenever one of their horses won.
Like the horse races, the day was over before we knew it. Stéphane and I will be back next year with a bottle of champagne, some foie gras, a baguette, and yes, even a hat!
Related Post: Horses and Hats - Prix de Diane (Part I)