Saturday, July 18, 2009

Goshen Historic Track

Date: July 5.

Nation's oldest harness racing track (1838); racing Memorial Day and July 4 weekends.

No betting, no video screens.

A weather vane by the stables.

Buy beer, sausage and peppers, take a seat in the grandstand (1911).

The backdrop: rolling hills and a big sky.

Watch the track maintenance vehicles lumber around the track.

Contemplate patriotism.

Seems like there's always a woman riding the horse that leads lead the trotters onto the track.

My favorite piece of track apparatus: a mobile starting gate mounted on the rear of an old Cadillac.

The Caddy drives off from its parking place and the horses fall in line behind it. Horses and car set off in tandem.

The car speeds up to let the horses go on their way, folding its wings as it does so.

It reminds me of a giant dragonfly.

The horses enter the first turn.

They race past the houses on the far side of the half-mile oval.

Pass the grandstand and the cheering crowd.

Swing into the turn again.

Eventually there's a victor. Handlers steady the horse and put the blanket on.

The people associated with the winner trek across track to pose with their horse.

These three men were inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame, which is next to the track.

Watching this photo op, I contemplated how mundane even historic moments can be.

Time wanders along.

The rituals resume.

There's another race.

The beer is done.

The day goes by.

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