More than 200 people gathered at the Aiken Training Track's clocker's stand on Friday morning to learn more about the sport of Thoroughbred racing.


It was for the Eighth Annual Breakfast at the Gallops, an event benefiting the Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame and Museum.


The event was held before the kickoff of the Aiken Triple Crown, which begins today with the 72nd running of the Aiken Trials.


Thoroughbred owner and photographer Barry Bornstein served as the Master of Ceremonies for the event. The breakfast originally had been scheduled for Wednesday, but was moved to Friday because of weather concerns.


Thoroughbred racing enthusiasts had an opportunity to get an in-depth look at the training routine of horses – horses that are conditioned over a track that has produced 39 national champions.


Thoroughbred trainer Suzy Haslup was on horseback providing those in attendance with a unique perspective – that of what the trainer sees, the role of the exercise riders and how the horse benefits from its time in Aiken before being shipped to racetracks nationwide.


“This is the largest crowd we've ever had,” said Lisa Hall, Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame and Museum programs supervisor, who said she was very appreciative of the trainers for their cooperation and accommodating nature. “We've never had to park people on the outfield of the training track. We had a good crew out here parking, and they were very careful of the horses.”


Among the speakers lending their expertise to the event was W. Cothran Campbell, Dogwood Stable president.


“I love Aiken and the Aiken Training Track,” said Campbell. “It's wonderful to see all these people out here. A lot of them will connect with horses in one way or another. It's great to see these racehorses. It's shocking sometimes that there are people in Aiken that don't know that this track even exists, and yet it is one of the things that makes Aiken famous. Some of the greatest horses of all time have trained here.”


Aiken Trials gates will open today at 10 a.m. at the Aiken Training Track, located at 538 Two Notch Road.


For more information and prices, visit www.aikentrials.com or call 803-648-4631.


Ben Baugh has been covering the equine industry and equestrian sport for the Aiken Standard since 2004. Among the awards Baugh has won include the 2003 Raleigh Burroughs Award as the turf writer making the most impact on the Florida Thoroughbred Industry. Baugh is a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association, worked for North America's leading Thoroughbred breeder Adena Springs in Ocala, Fla.