Monday, July 28, 2008

Mustang Racing

Mustang Racing
Originally uploaded by PALMETT0.
We are at the starting gates of Elloree Training Center (Track Code: ELL) at Elloree, SC, a recognized equine evacuation center, one of a number of places to which horses may be evacuated prior to a hurricane or other emergency. They will also stable, groom, break in or train your horse. From what we saw of that impressive facility today it would appear that they are fully capable of these services.

Horseracing in South Carolina is not a new sport, but it has held a very low profile for decades. If you ask any native of SC or a college student who has been here for a year about horseracing in the state, they will both likely mention the Carolina Cup. It's a long standing steplechace held annually at the Springdale Course near Camden, SC. That's the only one most folks know and younger ones will often add that having been to the "Cup", they had not seen one horse all day. This is a reference to the predominantly social, decidedly boozey nature of the event. No one knows the exact ratio of serious devotees of sanctioned horse racing to the drunks, but the ethanol side out paces the equine side by better than a hundred to one.

One doesn't just saddle up and trot on over to the races like Bubba 1 and Bubba 2 drive out on Old Hwy #6 for a spot of drag racing. These races are overseen by the South Carolina Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (SCTOBA). Their mission is to promote the thoroughbred horse industry in S.C. and throughout the region. The SCTOBA works to create awareness of the tremendous economic impact the thoroughbred horse industry has in S.C.