By Becky NewellThe American Quarter Horse JournalJune 12, 2013
Be sure to read the June Journal's cover story. It's the tale of how Diane Heath’s life has changed thanks to her bay gelding, All About Larry, who traded trail riding and working cattle for distance racing.
The Journal staff has a new hangout in Amarillo. Despite the fact that we work together – at times, very closely for long hours (i.e. the AQHA World Championship Show) – we do like to do things together when we’re off the clock. And it was through work that we found our latest activity – an off-track betting facility that opened late last year in Amarillo.
See, a few years ago, a company announced plans to build a horseracing track west of Amarillo. The owners opened the club to offer live and simulcast pari-mutuel racing as a first step toward construction of the racetrack.
We love our racing American Quarter Horse but really don’t get much of a chance to watch them live or bet on them, as the closest tracks are four hours away. To say that we aren’t handicappers is an understatement. There were even a few of us who thought that betting on the “pretty gray horses” was considered a form of handicapping. So we looked to our AQHA racing department coworkers to show us the ropes.
One Friday afternoon a few months ago, AQHA Executive Director of Racing Trey Buck and Matt Darby, senior manager of race marketing, took a carload of us to the off-track betting facility to teach us the finer points of handicapping horse races. Their tutorial included a folder of brochures and instructions, as well as a program for the races being run at various tracks that day. (You can get that handicapping information at www.aqha.com/aces.)
Trey talked to us about the different kinds of bets we could place, from the simple win, place and show bets to the little more intricate “-fectas.” He and Matt also explained how to read the racing programs.
In the past few years, racing content has returned to the Journal and we’ve found that many of you really enjoy following the racing industry as much as we do. If what we give you in the Journal doesn’t quench your thirst for Quarter Horse racing information, you can always read Q-Racing Journal online at www.aqha.com/qracingdigital each month for free. You can find up-to-the minute Quarter Horse racing news on www.aqharacing.com, or watch live and archived races, free of charge, at Q-Racing Video (www.qracingvideo.com).
One of our favorite stories in the Journal is the “Making Runners” series in which Rich Chamberlain follows racehorse trainers and their four-legged trainees for a season. This year, Rich is following American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame trainer Bubba Cascio and trainer Mike Robbins, who have both returned to racehorse training.
I guess the point here is that you don’t have to be a seasoned handicapper or racehorse expert to enjoy a day at the races. And if you pick a horse based on his coat color or because he has a funny name – while not legitimate handicapping techniques – it’s still a great way to have fun. There are even ambassadors at tracks – our Q-Racing Aces – at many tracks to answer your questions about racing, handicapping and racehorses.
We had so much fun learning about handicapping horse racing that we want to continue the party and the fun. We’re planning summer get-togethers to cheer on – maybe even bet on – our favorite American Quarter Horses in the Rainbow Futurity, the All American Futurity trials and the All American Futurity on Labor Day at Ruidoso Downs in New Mexico.
The All American Futurity, with a purse of $2.4 million, is the richest race for 2-year-old American Quarter Horses. This year, its sister race, the All American Derby for 3-year-olds, is expected to boast a record-breaking purse of $2.8 million. That’s a lot of money riding on four hooves.
When we’re traveling and people find out that we work for AQHA, they usually ask us what an American Quarter Horse is. We proudly brag that the American Quarter Horse is the fastest horse in the world.
The American Quarter Horse Journal is available in digital format, too! Current subscribers, visit www.aqha.com/journal to access the full issue of the Journal in digital format.
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