Visitors flocked in early with chairs, binoculars and picnic baskets to get a good spot for the event, which bills itself as the “race at the bottom of the sea.” Spectators were allowed to place bets on each race. Bets began at €1.
The horses ran a total of 12 races, including steeplechases and Thoroughbred racing along the 1.2 kilometre oval track set up for the day's events. Between races, visitors placed their next bets while taking in an air show featuring parachutists and the Graf Zeppelin, a naval air squad stationed at nearby Nordholz.
The first race on the Duhner beaches took place 107 years ago. After a long break, the races have become an annual event since 1975. Next year's race is already planned for July 18, 2010.
Germany's Wattenmeer – North Sea tidal mudflats which are feeding grounds to millions of migratory birds and a unique ecosystem – was made a world natural heritage site by UNESCO last month.