Beach Horse Racing 2014 in Sanlucar de Barrameda

Beach Horse Racing 2014 in Sanlucar de Barrameda

Sanlucar de Barrameda is a charming city in the province of Cadiz, sandwiched between the Atlantic ocean and the Doñana National Park. Mostly notable for its tourist attractions and famous cellars of manzanilla wine which happens to be sold on a global scale, the city is also known for it's long history of horse racing on the beach, which takes place at the mouth of the Guadalquivir river. 

The beach horse racing event has been declared a tourist/sporting phenomenon of international interests in the western world. It is one of the oldest horse racing competitions in Europe and is held annually along the Las Piletas beach in Sanlucar.

Like every year, the spectacle repeats this August, in which professional horses flash through the beach as the large mass of crowded spectators cheer them on. We were caught in the middle of the act where the bookmakers, paddocks and spectator stands watched the race clinching their teeth and shouting all kinds of words in the Andaluz dialect. The horse race has taken on an international phenomenon so big that other European countries take part in the event with many famous names amongst the spectators.  

Historically, the races was once considered for rich people only, but today the event is enjoyable to all classes and age groups. Families can sit on the beach with only an orange mesh construction fence separating them from the horses. Some people can be seen with a ration of pescaito frito (fried fish) wrapped in a newspaper for snacking. Kids are running around in circles eating ice cream and ice pops while the parents are trying to restore order and focus on the race. Standing in the heat that reaches on average 40º degree in the month of August can be tempting, but well worth the sun burn after you celebrate the event with the locals. 

Sanlucar Horse Racing 2014 | Sanlucar de Barrameda, Cadiz (Spain)  | FREE to view, choice of betting | First period: 7, 8 and 9 August / Second Period 21, 22, 23 August | Beach Las Piletas / Begins at dusk, 18:30 approximately

The green flag next to the lifeguard means the water is calm for the day.

The green flag next to the lifeguard means the water is calm for the day.

Police patrol the beach after each race to make sure everyone has cleared the way for the horse race.

Police patrol the beach after each race to make sure everyone has cleared the way for the horse race.

The horses gallop through the beach as fast as they can.

The horses gallop through the beach as fast as they can.

Horse and carriage ready for pick up and a ride around town.

Horse and carriage ready for pick up and a ride around town.