North Dakota Horse Park Opens for the Season
The racetrack will be open weekends through July 30
FARGO, N.D. — Horses are off to the races this weekend in Fargo. This year’s live horse racing is back in town for eight days leaving high expectations.
“I think this is going to line up to be our best year ever,” said Levi Otis, President of Horse Race North Dakota.
More than 250 horses from North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Canada galloped up to compete in the field.
Jockeys say getting them ready to race is a challenging journey.
“Depending on the horse, you know how hard they want to train or how often they need it,” said Francisco ‘Kiko’ Machon. “You got to get them fit, but you also don’t want to push them too hard because you can get them sore so you have to know when to push them and when to back off.”
Francisco, also known as Kiko, has been horse racing his entire life.
Today marks his seventh win in a row.
He says the feeling of victory is like no other.
“Awesome. He’s just a nice horse. Words can’t explain how great it feels,” said Machon.
Most attendees say you can’t come to horse racing without placing a friendly bet.
“It’s more fun if you bet on them because you get to root for your horse,” said Ron Krogman, track photographer.
“We bet on the horses here and we’ll also pay attention to the jockeys, the riders. They’re all great. There’s a lot of history that you can study on this so it’s a good thing to look into,” said Duane Maatz.
He says doing your homework on the sport isn’t as easy as some may think.
“You buy the program and study up on the data, look at the history, look at whose winning and look at how they’ve done. Look at their tracks and the times that they ride on it,” said Maatz.
But for others, being at the race is more about spending time with family and friends.
“I don’t bet on the horses, I just love the people,” said Krogman.
“We like to be a small part of that and just give people something else to do this summer,” said Otis.
“I think people should show up and have fun. Every walk of life is out here so it’s a great melting pot. There’s something for everybody,” said Maatz.
The live horse racing continues every weekend until July 30th.