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The Horse That Changed My Life | Carmen Day and California Chrome

When I think of Chrome, I think of a strong, talented, powerful, proud athlete. He has an attitude about him that is no different than any other top athlete in their sport.”
Consider it a little bit of California dreamin.’
 
It was an eye-opening trip to Del Mar that gave Carmen Day, Woodbine Entertainment Group’s Vice President of Sales, Events and Guest Experience, a newfound appreciation for horses and horse racing.
 
And the horse at the centre of it all is one of the sport’s most successful and beloved champions.
 
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“My story might be a little different compared to others in the horse community. I’m brand new to the industry and this is a whole new world to me. I have had a unique career starting in education as a teacher in Okotoks, a small ranch and rodeo community outside of Calgary. From there, I moved back to St. Albert and jumped from education to the Edmonton Oilers. From there I moved to Toronto to work with the Blue Jays and more recently, I moved to Woodbine and the exciting sport of horse racing. 
 
Although I’ve been involved in the sport for only a year, I had an opportunity to travel to Del Mar last summer on business. My CEO, Jim Lawson, texted me the day I left and said, ‘How exciting – you’ll have an opportunity to watch California Chrome.’ I had only been at Woodbine for a few months at this point and I am embarrassed to say this horse had no significance to me. But the second I arrived at Del Mar I understood the significance. It was Friday night at the track and there was already a huge buzz about California Chrome running the next day. 
 
I was quickly caught up in the excitement and couldn’t wait until Saturday to see this magnificent horse race. Chrome didn’t disappoint on Saturday and easily won his race and I stood among the Chromies cheering and taking pictures of this historical moment.


 
As part of my business at Del Mar on Saturday, I had a chance to tour the backstretch with a couple of trainers and owners. It was pretty quiet and not a lot of activity around the stables, but it wasn’t long before we spotted one of the most beautiful horses I have ever seen.
 
He was getting bathed by his grooms and was tall, strong and proud. As we got closer to the horse, we realized we were face to face with Chrome. We spent the next hour just hanging out with him and watching his grooms care to him after his big race. It was incredible to be up close to such an incredible athlete. 
 
In my 15 years in sports and entertainment, I have been around many famous and talented athletes, but at that moment, Chrome was by far the most impressive. 


 
Eventually, his trainer Art Sherman arrived with all of the owners and we took a step back to watch Chrome’s family congratulate him and reward him with some of his favourite treats. I had an opportunity to talk to the group and share in their excitement. It was an amazing day, one I will never forget. 
 
I think my favourite memory of watching California Chrome is the day I was at Del Mar and being able to watch with excitement with the entire track. In a matter of two days, I quickly became a Chromie and also found myself following his career and didn’t miss one of his races after that day. 
 
When I think of Chrome, I think of a strong, talented, powerful, proud athlete. He has an attitude about him that is no different than any other top athlete in their sport.”
 
By Carmen Day, for Ontario Racing
 
(C) Ontario Racing 2017. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced without permission.
 

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