Monday, October 24, 2011

Tatts Cox Plate

Spring in Melbourne is all about the Spring Racing Carnival, which means there are several horse races leading up to the "race that stops a nation," the Melbourne Cup. That's on Tuesday, November 1, and people in Victoria get the day off work. Anyway, one of the bigger races is the Tatts Cox Plate, and we went to see that on Saturday. It was held at the Moonee Valley Racing Club, which is in a suburb North of the city. The weather wasn't the greatest (cloudy and kind of chilly with some rain), but we still managed to have a good time.

There were races held every hour, so our routine would usually go something like this...

1. Have a drink and chat and wait around for the next race to start. This is Emily, Alena, and I (the American expat wives!) enjoying some champagne. Notice our outfits. Part of the fun of the races is getting dressed up and finding the perfect fascinator (the crazy things on our heads) to go with your attire.

2. Watch out the windows as the horses were paraded around on a little track below before the race. We would try to figure out which ones looked strong or ready to race. This horse is Black Caviar...more on her later.
3. Place a bet. We made little bets on almost every race. You could put $2.50 down on your horse to win and another $2.50 for him/her to place. We usually did these $5 win/place bets, so if our horse got 1st, 2nd, or 3rd, we could at least win something.

4. Hold onto our betting slips, check out how much we might win, and wait for the race to start. Here is one of our slips from a bet on Americain, a horse from the United States who won the Melbourne Cup last year and might win again this year.
5. Either head outside to watch the race or watch it inside on one of the big screens. There were about 40,000 people at the race, so it was pretty hard to see anything among the crowd. But it was fun to be in the middle of the action and cheer for your horse to win!

6. Collect our winnings. I'm not sure if we really came out ahead at the end of the day, but we probably came close to breaking even.

We went with a fun group; here are shots of the gals and the guys from our crew.

Kristy, Alena, me, Emily, Marian
Adam, Todd, Zack, Nick, Nigel
One of the highlights was seeing a horse named Black Caviar. With her fifteenth win on Saturday, she broke the previous record of fourteen consecutive wins set by the Australian legend Phar Lap. People are saying this undefeated horse is the best sprinter in the world and will go down in history. So it was cool to see her, bet on her, and see her win her race by a landslide. She was so favored to win that if the next best horse had won, we could have won over $80 with Zack's $2.50 bet (he did it just in case!).

So it was a good Saturday at the races, followed by a fun dinner in Chinatown. Thanks to Kristy and Nigel for organizing, and hopefully everyone back at home had a good Saturday despite the Notre Dame loss to USC!

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