Monday, March 1, 2010

A day at the Races

So, Sunday finally arrived, and Crazyfingers and I set off for the race course to attend the 'Poonawala Breeders Million'. Our parents were also present, and since my Dad was at the wheel, it gave me the opportunity to snap some pics along the way. Being a little past noon by the time we left, we encountered a lot of traffic on the way to the highway.

Thankfully, once we hit the highway, it was smooth sailing. It's very rare to get such clear roads in Mumbai, and for once I actually enjoyed the drive to town.

Once we got there, we went up to the members area and with the help of a friendly usher, found some seats. To be honest, I was expecting a much more lavish arrangement, but from what I saw, the place probably hadn't changed much from the time it was built. I'm sure it's great to watch the races in the winters, when the weather is nice and cool, but it was REALLY hot on Sunday and it did take a while before it cooled down.
I'm sure by now, most of you would be wondering when the part of the watches come in. Truth is, even though CF and I spotted lots of tank styled, an Omega and even a Rolex (and a couple of fake Tags), it was a really difficult to try and snap some pics. Moreover, most people there had worn shirts and had their watches hidden under their sleeves. We also noticed that most of the older guys still preferred to wear smaller sized watches (35-36mm) Was nice to see some vintage watches. I wish we could have had a closer look...I'm sure a few of the people there could even have been wearing Pateks.
Anyway, after a couple of races, we all decided to try our hand at betting. None of us had any idea how to go about it, since it was our first time. Thankfully, an elderly gentleman (on the right, in the pic below) gave us a few pointers.

There were two ways to place a bet. You could either go to any of the 'Sell/Pay' windows and place a bet there, or you could catch hold of the guys in the yellow jacket, as in the pic above, and place the bet with them. This was the more convenient choice, since we didn't need to leave our seats for this :)

Here's what a ticket looks like.

As you can see, it's a bet to you win some cash if the horse finishes in the top 3 (or 2...depending on the number of horses running). The "2" next to "PLA" indicates the number of the horse you've bet on. You can alternatively bet on a horse to win, which gives you a better payout, but a smaller chance of winning any money. Being amateurs, we bet Rs 500 ($12) on our very first bet. Usually, if it's your first time betting, it's better start off with a small amount. You can bet as little as Rs 10 ($0.22)!
Unfortunately, my horse didn't come anywhere close to that was a quick 500 bucks down the drain :(

A couple of quick wrist shots, and CF and I were back on track!

For our next bet, we bet just Rs 100 ($2.20) each on three horses.

That's my horse in the front!
The pic below was taken just after my horse (No. 4) had crossed the finish.

Since I had placed a bet on 'place' and not on 'win', I only won around 40 bucks ($0.85), but it was still pretty exciting! It's a real adrenaline rush when your horse is going for the win.

Here's a building overlooking the race course that was in construction. It has no relevance whatsoever, but I liked the pic :)

Overall, it was a great experience. I'm definitely going to go whenever I get a chance next. There's a lot of excitement whenever a race in progress and I'd definitely recommend it to anyone who hasn't been to one before!

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