The ponies are back this weekend at Desert Park.
This season’s single day of horse racing is scheduled for Saturday, with both thoroughbreds and quarter horses competing.
“We have one longer race for the thoroughbreds — six-and-a-half furlongs — and the rest of the races for thoroughbreds are five-and-a-half,” said Desert Park manager Paddy Head.
The longer race will take the horses from the starting gate and past the grandstand twice, giving spectators an up-close and personal look at the horses twice during the race. The shorter race — at five-and-a-half furlongs — is once around the massive Desert Park oval.
A furlong is one-eighth of a mile.
The quarter horses go a shorter distance.
“Yes, they also race quarter horses just like thoroughbreds,” Paddy explained. “They go very short — they just basically come out of the gate and run down the stretch. It’s quick.”
About 30 horse will be competing Saturday, with half of them from Washington state, six or seven from Alberta and the rest from the Lower Mainland.
Gates open at Desert Park at noon. Post time for first race is 1 p.m. Admission is $5, with children six and under free.
The event includes a beer garden and concession and parimutuel betting will be provided.