Agony and ecstasy: 18 brilliant facial expressions from the racetrack

Updated 1630 GMT (0030 HKT) March 20, 2015
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On the race track, fortunes can be lost and made within seconds. But if you want to see the real emotional roller coaster in action, don't watch the horses -- turn your gaze to the people in the stands. Matt Cardy/Getty Images/File
The agony and ecstasy of a day at the track can best be summed up by the facial expressions of the crowd. Here, a racegoer at Cheltenham Festival in England gives his rubber-faced reactions a workout -- though, we're still not sure if the final outcome was good or bad. Matt Cardy/Getty Images/File
Meanwhile, a fellow Cheltenham racegoer opts for a more vocal approach. Matt Cardy/Getty Images/File
The stakes are significantly raised when you're co-owner of the horse in question -- as seen in the jubilant face of Jamie Lovett (center) when Protectionist won the Melbourne Cup in Australia last year. Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images/File
Ladies' Day at Goodwood Races is one of the most popular dates in the British racing calendar. But that doesn't mean ladies aren't to bellow. Dan Kitwood/Getty Images/File
If you want the ultimate ladylike response, look no further than Britain's Queen Elizabeth II. Her Majesty was all smiles as she watched the 2012 Epsom Derby horse racing festival from the royal balcony... Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images/File
... Though One was less amused when her horse, Carlton House, finished third at Epsom the previous year. Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images/File
At Paris' prestigious Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, women in traditional Japanese dress appear to take more enjoyment from their companion's pain than the race itself. Kenzo Tribouillard/Getty Images/File
The action on the track prompts plenty of heart-in-mouth moments. Here, a woman clutches her face as jockey Ruby Walsh, atop mare Annie Power, takes a dramatic fall at the final hurdle during England's Cheltenham Festival. In the lead at the time, the fall is believed to have saved the bookmaking industry a $58 million payout, according to Ladbrokes bookmaker David Williams. Matt Crady/Getty Images/File
A far more controlled reaction from the crowd at the Equestrian Club in Baghdad, Iraq. The city's main race track was closed during the war, but reopened in June, 2003, attracting over 3,000 fans in the first day alone. Timothy Clary/Getty Images/File
Held on the first Tuesday of November, Australia's Melbourne Cup is known as "the race that stops a nation." Even if you're midway through a cigarette. William West/AFP/Getty Images/File
On the other side of the world, one of the most popular horse racing events in Britain is the Grand National in Liverpool. With a prize pool of £1 million (US$1.5 million), it is also one of the richest jump races in Europe. Christopher Furlong/Getty Images/File
A mixed reaction from the crowd at America's most prestigious horse race -- the Kentucky Derby. But if ever there was an opportunity to step back in time and place a bet, it would surely be on the Kentucky Derby's 1913 winner Donerail. The three-year-old colt remains the highest odds winner in the history of the race, placed at 91-1. Back then, those putting $2 on Donerail would have collected $184.90 in winnings. By today's standards, it's roughly the equivalent of placing a $46 bet and getting $4,300 back. Jamie Squire/Getty Images/File
If you want to attend the world's richest horse race, head to the Dubai World Cup in the United Arab Emirates. Prize money totaling $30 million will be up for grabs over a variety of races, culminating in a top prize of $10m in the Dubai World Cup showpiece. However, gambling itself is illegal in Dubai. Scott Barbour/Getty Images/File
It's a little less glitzy -- though no less characterful -- at the annual Litang Horse Racing Festival in Tibet. The city has a history of horse racing stretching back four centuries. Each year spectators set up hundreds of tents to enjoy the festival, taking part in traditional singing, dancing, and horsemanship shows. Liu Jin/Getty Images/File
The Kentucky Derby in Louisville has been described as "the most exciting two minutes in sports." A manageable amount of time, when you're constantly screaming. Andy Lyons/Getty Images/File
Elation, disbelief, shock. We're not sure how much this young man at England's Cheltenham Festival has just won. But judging by his face, it's enough to warrant the next round of drinks. Cheers! Matt Crady/Getty Images/File
Perhaps considering the maxim, "by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail," an elderly punter calmly ponders his racing form at the Hong Kong International Races. Scott Barbour/Getty Images/File