Horse Racing: Inside the 25th Breeders Cup - Part I - Off the Final Turn

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Horse Racing: Inside the 25th Breeders Cup - Part I - Off the Final Turn

All photos: Susie Wright

Horse Racing: Inside the 25th Breeders Cup - Off the Final Turn- is the first of IV parts..

One click of the mouse sent my random drawing entry rushing off into cyber space.

Three short weeks later, three closest friends and myself, were banking low into LAX. Our destiny: the 25th Breeders' Cup World Championships held at historical Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif.
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Horse racing can be addictive, at least it has been for me. It began when I happened to see a clip on the TV news.A close up, seven or eight second long playback of Majestic Prince in deep stretch giving his all to the wire in winning the 1969 Kentucky Derby. I was 6 and I was hooked.

Late last September, I sat at my computer and filled out the entry form. What an incredible, unbelievable, opportunity of a life time this would be. A trip to 25th Breeders Cup. Wow! (Attending any Breeders' Cup event from Kansas City would certainly always elude my budget.)

There was only one chance, one winner.

I sighed audibly as I activated the 'Submit Entry' box on HRTV's website, An all inclusive, four day, three night stay at the Pasadena Hilton in old town and tickets for four to the 25th Breeders Cup both days. 2008 was the first year the Breeders Cup had been spread over two days: the mare/filly championships on Friday and the horse/colts on Saturday.

Oh, what dreams are made of... Can you imagine? I could imagine!!! But what were my chances of really winning, of beating the long odds? I had won one door prize to date, no raffle or lottery ticket had ever paid off.

I can only surmise that I had incidentally saved up all my luck for this one chance. I, of all the people, had won and I could not call my sister fast enough!

Armed with a Canon EOS 20-DIN digital camera, a 55-200mm Zoom lens and three extra batteries, I set upon this monumental event with the intention of capturing every moment.

665 frames later, I felt confident of success.

Photos of winners as they cross the finish line and or as they stand blowing in the winner's circle are one thing. We had free run of the grounds and I can tell you this. we found the action.

It was the raw, awe-inspiring power of the field as "heads turned for home" that captivated us, running wide open and muscling for position off the final turn.

It was as definitive as it was riveting.

Come with me inside of the 25th Breeders' Cup World Championships... enter into the surreal beauty of Santa Anita Park ...and have a look through the lens. (This is Part I of IV.)

[I left out the action of the Breeders' Cup Classic purposely, as Curlin will be featured in Part III. The Classic.]

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