According to San Miguel Horse Racing Association President T.K. Dargavel, Norwood’s horse races are used as a proving ground for younger quarter horses and thoroughbreds that usually run on bigger tracks. “These are not pasture ponies, these are trained athletes,” she says.
While racers compete for prize money, attendees can test their luck at guessing the fastest horses. $2 option tickets may be purchased before each race, allowing plenty of betting opportunities. There will also be a Calcutta-style auction before each race, allowing teams to bet on each horse, with the highest bidder collecting a percentage of the prize pool.
For those not inclined to gamble, aside from plenty of entertainment on the track there will be a variety of vendors selling their wares, including gift items from Norwood’s Free Range gifts, handcrafted Native American jewelry, SMHRA hats and T-shirts from The Coach’s Mother, and more “as vendors show up,” says Dargavel. Telluride Elks Lodge will be raffling off a Harley Davidson motorcycle at the races, as well.
Robin’s Nest, Norwood’s newest restaurant, will provide breakfast each morning for the racers and trainers. Fans can keep their stomachs satisfied and whistles wet with food and beverages provided by Dos Gringas, Norwood-Redvale EMTs and SMHRA. Just remember, keep your beer coolers at home. Bringing liquor into the races is strictly forbidden, as is bringing along fido.
“I can’t stress that enough,” says Dargavel. “There’ll be Bud and Bud Light” sold at the event. “And, please, no dogs.”
For the younger set, the nonprofit Wright Stuff Community Foundation is this year’s sponsor of the kids’ stick horse races in front of the grandstands between races. The hand painted “horses” will then be sold off as a fundraiser for The Wright Stuff, which provides educational programs for Norwood-area youths and adults, including Prime Time Child Care. For the stick horse races, “there’ll be heats for every age group,” says Dargavel. “Everyone’s a winner.”
Outside the racetrack on Friday and Saturday nights, June 1 and 2, get into the mood with regional band Black Opal at the Hitchin’ Post starting at 9 p.m. And don’t forget your cowboy hat!
For more information on Norwood’s horse races, call the San Miguel County Fairgrounds at 327-4321.