A night at the horse races in Italy


For a few moments you could forget the horrors of the past year

For a few moments I forgot the horrors of the past year

I love the horse races.  At once a social event, a chance to see and be seen, but also the thrill of speed and these beautiful animals.  And of course, the betting, what fun!

We ventured out to the races this evening.  It was a lovely summer evening.  In inimitable Italian style, people were dressed to be looked at.  It was an intimate affair.  The parade area where they show off the horses before the race was just below the terrace where many sat or stood enjoying Campari-soda or Aperol Spritz…two classic Italian summer cocktails.

While it wasn’t jammed as it has been in the past, it was still buzzing and alive, as if the past year of COVID had never happened.  Italian men don’t seem to have the hangups that other nationalities have, and many had colour-coordinated their disposable masks to match their outfits!  Pink masks were everywhere.

The races were quite the spectacle, starting late as you might imagine, but with all the pomp and show that Italians do so well.

My usual good fortune at the betting window failed to materialise this time.  The strategy of choosing female jockeys (there are always so few I always figure it is a good omen to bet on one—and anyway, how could I do otherwise?!), liking a horse’s name, or liking the jockey’s outfit did not translate into a cumulative winning streak, and I won only once and lost twice…such a shame too, as on the last race my horse was way out in the lead but seemed to just lose steam at the final length…but of course these races are also not always quite as straightforward as they seem to be.

And after the fun was over, we all lingered as the light faded and the sky turned orange and magnificent, and enjoyed a delicious plate of pasta as the crowds thinned out.

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