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Matt & Ren // South Bay wedding photographers // Hollywood Park Race Track engagement

Matt and Ren
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Meant to be ~

Our love story begins with a prayer. At 34, while my thoroughbred stable was “off and running”, my love life was definitely not. I was actually beginning to think something was wrong with me, as I just never felt true, romantic love for anyone. Sure, I could appreciate a handsome face, but selfless, butterfly, head-over-heels, we-are-meant-to-be-together love? Nuh-uh. But, oh, how I craved to know that feeling…

My mother often mused to me, “Isn’t it wonderful to know that the person you’re meant to be with is out there, somewhere?”  Was he? If so, where was he? Could we please meet soon? I never thought I would be 34 and still single.

So, with Valentine’s Day fast-approaching, I prayed. I expressed how wonderful it would be to meet the man with whom I was to build a life. In addition to being wise, witty and a man of integrity (oh, and handsome, of course), I hoped he shared my unique interest in thoroughbred horse racing. I mean, my horses and I are a package. I also, humorously, mused how great it would be if he also had all of his hair. It was nearly February 14th, my cable provider had been, without my input, changed. I was not too pleased, at first. There was only one silver lining – I could now watch TVG (the premiere horse racing network, Channel 602 on DirecTv *plug*). I happened to have TVG on, my Facebook open, and decided to see if their on-air talent had pages to follow for racing updates and such. I only got as far as sending a friend request (no message – just the request) to their longtime anchor, Matt Carothers.

A few days after Valentine’s Day, there was a message waiting for me in my inbox. It was from one Mr. Carothers. It was cordial, respectful. He asked how I was involved in racing. This sparked an online exchange of letters, an appreciation for how much we had in common, and an invitation to dinner. I would have gladly accepted, but I lived in Florida and wouldn’t be out to California until later that year. So, he gave me his number to keep in touch, and I returned the gesture. To my surprise, he called me later that night! I was dumbstruck and quickly muffled the phone, as the call came at what was not the best time – or perhaps it was, because in my attempt to quiet the ring, my hand accidentally answered it. I tentatively lifted it to my ear, the speaker at my lips and managed to say, “Hello?”

That was the start of hours-long conversations, ranging in topics from the mundane to the extraordinary…

When we finally met in person, we already “knew”. . .

He was all I had prayed for, and more — and talk about great hair!

We chose to have our engagement photos taken at Hollywood Park. The racetrack was opened in 1938 and, sadly, it will be closed after this year. Some of the screen’s brightest stars have passed through its gates, and many of racing’s greatest horses have thundered down its stretch. The track means a lot to Matt and me. We have memories of being there with our parents and with each other.

We get a kick out of the fact that we were both at the track, years before meeting, to witness one of racing’s most adored stars take his third consecutive Gold Cup: Lava Man.

Lava Man is racing royalty. His career earnings are in excess of $5 million dollars. He not only won the G1 (highest level of racing) Gold Cup three years in a row, he is the …first horse to ever win – in one season – what is considered to be California’s “Big Three”: the Santa Anita Handicap, Hollywood Gold Cup, and Pacific Classic. Additionally, Lava Man remains the ONLY horse to ever win a G1 race on three different racing surfaces. He has defeated a Kentucky Derby winner — and “mentored” the winner of the 2012 Derby and Preakness, two jewels of racing’s elusive Triple Crown, I”ll Have Another.

His connections were so kind and accommodating when I issued a request to include the great Lava man in our engagement photos. What a gift. My profound thanks to trainer Doug O’Neill, the lovely Sharla Rae Sanders, and Lava Man’s best bud, Sabas.

South Bay wedding photographers

© 2013 Sun & Sparrow  // South Bay wedding photographers  // Big thanks to the Hollywood Park racetrack and all of the horses involved!

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  • Russell Reyer

    Matt You are the absolute best. I remember Lava Man well and when history was made and Matt got married.ReplyCancel

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