Monday, August 02, 2010

The Galway Races

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We went to the races in Galway. Galway is big into festivals and the week we were there was Racing Week. The women come seriously dolled up and the men dress up in suits. Well, some do. Most look like everyday slobs. Just about everyone is gambling.

It was mostly really fun. There was lots of commotion and excitement and people got seriously fired up when their horses did or did not win. I had a pint of Guinness and was really enjoying the energy. It was a great party.

Then, it became...not fun. I don't know if this is standard for all older than 2 year-old races, but this track had steeplechase type jumps every quarter of the track, which really amped up the action, with anywhere from 7 to 16 horses and riders surging up and over. The problem, of course, is that more jumps translates to potentially more falls. As a race progressed the horses grew tired and were more likely to fall. The last race was large, with 16 horses, I believe. Early in the race, one fell, then got up and began chasing down the rest. Then another fell. By the time the race ended, 7 or 8 horses had fallen -- most on the final jump, almost all at once. At one point, 5 or 6 horses were running solo, from far behind trying to catch the main group. The second horse fell on the far side of the track, a long distance from the stands. We did not see this horse running after the others. A blue horse trailer pulled up to the spot, paused, and then drove off before the rest of the race came around to that side.

The usual excitement mounted at the end of the race (I think the winner was given very low odds, so there was an especial uproar), but nothing was mentioned about the horse. Even before we looked online that night, we pretty much knew what had happened: the horse had broken a shoulder and was euthanized.

What was sad and enraging was that the death was never mentioned at the race. Who wants their party spoiled? You'd think that there'd be a mention, or a moment of silence. Not that it was surprising, but in the end the whole exercise is about the betting.

The rest of the pictures are snapshots of the city of Galway itself, most appearing to relate to water. Not sure how that happened nor how the bristly house fits in.

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