Off to the Races

My Spanish teacher, Gabriela, loves to take me on excursions. Yesterday’s class was at the “Hipodromo”– watching horse racing. The Brits brought the sport to Argentina (along with polo and golf). I had imagined it being kind of dirty and sad, but it was actually really nice.


These guys are like the “horse police”– they weigh the jockeys at each race to make sure they weigh somewhere between 52 and 55 kilos (115-122 pounds). (Clearly I’m never going to follow through on my lifelong dream of being a jockey.)

horse police

We decided to bet (Gabriela thought it would be good for my vocabulary practice…hmmm). We found some helpful teachers who explained how to choose a horse (“if you like their name or the way they look” was the crux of their advice) and how to read the board of numbers which is displayed next to the track. Basically a horse on whom a lot of people are betting will return less money. Gabriela chose the favorite and would have won 3 pesos for every peso she bet. horse teachersHere I am with my gambling teachers.

I put three pesos (about 25 cents) on the underdog, Don Quijote. We learned how to identify our horses from a distance (the racing form has the colors of the jockeys’ clothes listed in a really complex code) and were all pleasantly surprised (ok, SHOCKED) when Don Quijote WON. I walked away with 75 pesos (about $6)– my first betting experience ever.

Seriously, WHY weren’t my high school Spanish classes like this?



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