The first two weeks of Mount Pleasant Meadows’ 2010 meet are in the books.
I’ve been telling a lot of long-winded stories lately, so for the beginning of Mount Pleasant’s season, I’m going to let the photos do most of the talking. Between stakes races and general goings-on, more than enough will be written about the central Michigan track in due time.
For those interested in a written description of the track, my review of last year’s opening day can be found here. A few names and faces may have shuffled since last year, but the general feel of the place remains the same.
Before we commence with the photos, this seems as good a time as any to once again plug the Mount Pleasant Meadows Facebook page, to which I have been contributing. Readers interested in learning more about the track are encouraged to become “fans” by visiting the page and clicking on the appropriate button.
Now, without further ado, behind the jump are photos from the last two week’s worth of races at Mount Pleasant Meadows. Enjoy!
The Mount Pleasant Meadows grandstand. This is where I learned the game.
The tote board.
One of the more interesting aspects of the track is the multiple roles its horsemen play during the live races. Trainers and their assistants often bring their horses over to the paddock aboard a pony horse, hand the pony off to an awaiting bystander (often a child), saddle their charges, then lead it through the post parade. Then, the trainer hops off the pony one more time to head his or her starter into the gate and hold them in place until the start of the race. Quite often, horsemen go through this process with horses from stables other than their own. Little things like that are what make the track special. Trainer Dave Gates ponies Ilkos Expres with Mike Holmes in the irons.
Nate Alcala flicks his whip in victory aboard the first winner of the 2010 meet, Sweet At Best.
Achoiceforthecash is led around the paddock with a pony horse’s saddle in the foreground.
Richard Rettele and Achoiceforthecash go through the post parade. A recent Daily Racing Form article declared Rettele, 69, the oldest active jockey in North America. Last year, he won six stakes races, including a $38,000 futurity at Beulah Park. On opening day, he led all riders with three wins. It’s just a number, gang.
A field of Quarter Horses charges to the wire. The race was won by #6 An You An Eye and Juan Delgado.
A field of Thoroughbreds leaves the starting gate.
Oscar Delgado guides Beduinos Cat back to the grandstand after the nightcap on opening day.
A field of (mostly) paints splashes through the stretch in last Sunday’s opener. The race was won by #5 Uno Machine, ridden by Lee Gates. Paints, especially colorful ones, are often fan favorites at the track.
Mount Pleasant is one of only a handful of tracks on this side of the Mississippi River to offer Arabian racing. Shestheone takes a commanding lead in the stretch under Nate Alcala.
A muddied Oscar Delgado heads to the scales after unsaddling from a Thoroughbred race. Delgado was among the leading riders at Hialeah Park’s Quarter Horse meet over the winter and was featured on the cover of January’s American Quarter Horse Journal.
Real Phantom (a Real Quiet gelding!) is led through the post parade with Juan Delgado aboard.
Last Sunday was a day of firsts for many at Mount Pleasant Meadows. Among them was jockey Josh Ritchards who rode his first three starters on Sunday.
Another notable first belonged to Jose Beltran, who rode his first pari-mutuel winner in last Sunday’s nightcap aboard Roaring Scout.
Nate Alcala takes Be A Pal through the post parade for the last race on the card.
Roaring Scout (a Lion Heart gelding!) and Jose Beltran enter the stretch with the lead, and will hold on to it for Beltran’s first victory.