What to expect at a day at the races

photo by CC user Softeis on wikimedia commons

Never been to a horse race before, and wondering what to expect? This post will explore what you should expect to find during a day at the races…

People will be dressed to the nines

Horse races have long been associated as a leisure activity for the upper classes. As such, the dress code at these gathering has skewed toward the formal side of things, so don’t shy away from looking your very best.

Look sharp, but keep it classy: dresses/skirts should be knee-length or longer, and men and women alike are often requested to wear hats, especially at the Gold Cup (more info: http://sports.williamhill.com/bet/en-gb/events/gold-cup-day)

If in doubt, check out the website for the event, or call officials at your local track to see what is expected of attendees at an event near you.

Horses will be paraded around the track 20 minutes before race time

While you might be tempted to arrive just before the horses are loaded into their starting gates, you should try to arrive well before any race is run.

Aside from the excitement of awaiting the starting gun, you’ll get to see the thoroughbreds trotted around the course as they warm up.

This will make it much easier to pick a steed that could net you a big pay day, as you will see which ones are exuding more energy and vitality than their competition.

Picking your steed can seem complicated (but it’s easier than it looks)

The atmosphere at the betting wickets can be chaotic in the minutes leading up to race time, so it’s best to know how to pick your horse before you get up to the window.

Aside from the intel you picked up by watching the parade, your program will also contain key nuggets of information that will make, from the past record in recent contests, to which terrain that each horse does best upon.

Contrast it with the odds that the bookies are providing (2-1 means that a horse is expected to win one in three times given current conditions, while a horse ranked at 10-1 is less favored), and see if you can pick an underdog that might perform well.

If you are risk adverse, going with the horses with better odds will give you a much better chance at winning money, even if it isn’t much.

The parties after the event are fun affairs

While you may not be privy to the parties going on in the private boxes during the event that you end up attending, there are functions that can be found in the host town/city after the race.

Head to one of its more popular pubs on its High Street, and you’ll find plenty of race attendees trading tales of the horse that won (or almost won) them a big windfall.