Be Still, Smell The Roses

Some of the smallest things become unnoticed in a chaotic settling. The phrase ‘stop and smell the roses’ does not apply when you’re caught in the hustle and bustle of every day life. The individuals involved in the Harness Racing industry know what divine chaos looks like. It’s ten minutes till post time, the groom is putting the final pieces of equipment on a harnessed horse and the drivers are zipping up their colors and scrambling to find their helmet. Handicappers are flipping the pages of a program to create that perfect pick four ticket, but in the mist of hair flying and the pen jotting— we forget to smell the roses, we forget how to be still. Thankfully, there is one moment in horse racing when the world stands still, where necks are cocked upward to a TV to watch a race or people pause at the fence to see the horses come down the stretch. Though people are here for different reasons, whether they’re handicappers or horse owners— Although the world stands still when the horses leave the gate.

Stumbling around the backside in my horrible heels for barn shoes, I’ve always loved to see a group of people crowded in front of the TV’s to watch the race. The grooms put the brush down and the owners tuck their programs underneath their arm. When the horses round the final turn, you’ll hear a grunt of a cheer from owners and maybe even a clap or two. The barn stands still, the air becomes stiff. You can’t help but to think, the people who have mastered the chaos can be still. As soon as the race ends, people are on their way. Horses are brought out of the stalls, people begin to prepare for the next race and then the stillness returns 14 more times throughout the night.

As strange as this observation sounds, it’s apart of the business. The ability to appreciate seeing all drivers, grooms and trainers come down on the same level just for second is something to remember. It’s like smelling the roses in the middle of a hurricane— sometimes you just have to appreciate the little things, because when life slows down, the business doesn’t. Appreciating the moment before it’s gone, especially if it is as beautiful as a rose or a horse crossing the finish line.


Photos and story by Race Marketing Intern Grace Hollars