Monday, May 30, 2011

Our trip to Kentucky, with pics!

My husband and I made another trip to Kentucky a couple weeks ago; the primary goal of the trip was to watch live racing at Churchill Downs on Preakness day (as well as the Preakness itself on the televisions there). We also wanted to spend some time in Lexington, visiting horse farms.

Leaving Limerick was tough after all she had been through, but I knew she would be watched by the many, many "aunties" she has at Gladstone Ridge.

We drove down on Thursday afternoon, after Lim's chiropractic appointment (which went very well and ultimately was a huge help). We arrived in Lexington at around 9pm and went to sleep not too long after.

On Friday morning, our first farm appointments of the day were very special--we were seeing some famous mares! The first farm was the home of the 2003 Juvenile Filly champion, Halfbridled. I was a huge fan of her as a racehorse, so the prospect of seeing this mare in the flesh was thrilling! She had a two-week-old Distorted Humor filly by her side.

See her Breeder's Cup J. Filly race here!

The next farm was home to one of the greatest mares of the 90s--the one and only Serena's Song. Halfbridled had been (unsurprisingly) indifferent to our presence, as broodmares can be, so I was sure Serena would be the same.

But I was wrong. When we arrived at the farm office, our guide pointed to a wooden box full of mints and told us to grab a bunch. We then drove over to the maiden/barren mare barn (Serena's Song has no foal for this year, although she has been bred to Medaglia d'Oro). And promptly, out she was led. She was far larger and far more beautiful than I well as far sweeter!

See Serena's Song and Flanders race in the Breeder's Cup J. Fillies here. Although Flanders had to be vanned off after winning, she enjoyed retirement as a broodmare until her death last year. Serena's Song went on to be one of the greatest mares of the 90s--and history.

Later at the same farm, we visited a couple mare and foal duos, including Serena's Joy, a daughter of Serena's Sister (literally the full sister of Serena's Song).

Later in the day, we stopped at Darley and Adena Springs. The highlight of Adena was visiting one of our favorite, recently-retired racehorses--Einstein. A durable, tough racer that could do it all, he was a thrill to watch and follow. It was so nice to see him in the flesh again. To sweeten the deal, we each got to pat him on the shoulder.

The highlight of Darley was the stallion barn in its entirety--I had requested to see Street Cry (sire of Zenyatta), Medaglia d'Oro (sire of Rachel Alexandra) and the great Holy Bull. But we did not expect to walk into the stallion barn to see the who's who of Thoroughbred studs eating their suppers! Including the stallions we were there to see, we also saw Bernardini, Hard Spun, Street Sense, Any Given Saturday, Quiet American, Quality Road, Street Boss and well, every single horse listed here. It was a truly surreal moment. In the midst of it all, the grooms led out the requested stallions for viewing.

Medaglia d'Oro

Street Cry
(still licking his supper from his lips)

A quick pic of Hard Spun

The great Holy Bull, see him win the Woodward here.

Grave of Affirmed, 1978 Triple Crown winner


Giacomo (2005 Kentucky Derby winner)

Another great horse--Ghostzapper, winner of
the 2004 Breeder's Cup Classic

The next day we went to Churchill Downs. We had seats in Millionaire's Row, which was fun! The view was great and so was the food.

Track favorite Ready's Rocket winning a claiming race

Then on Sunday it was time to go home, but first we went back to Lexington for a couple more quick stops. The first was to see champion racemare Fleet Indian with her Medaglia d'Oro filly. See her win the Personal Ensign here.

Finally, we went across the road to Old Friends.

Danthebluegrassman tells
pasture-mate "You can't have my carrots!"

Bull inthe Heather

New resident Afternoon Deelites

It was a wonderful and very fun trip, and as a strange bonus we got to see a tornado on our drive home. That was a first for me! We will be back for the 2011 Breeder's Cup at Churchill Downs!


Dressager said...

Whenever I get the chance to go to Kentucky, something really fun to see is to watch the early morning warmups at the Keeneland Racetrack in Lexington. It's cool, there's usually very few people or nobody else there, and it's free! It's wonderful with the fog, and the lone horse and rider zipping by you, it's like something out of a movie.

Was Claiborne one of the breeding farms you visited? I've only done one breeding farm tour, and it was wonderful!

Heidi said...

We did not go to Claiborne this time, but have been before. It is such a historic farm! I agree the track workouts are something to see. This trip was so short that we did the best we could in so little time. I was missing the Kentucky Horse Park, time, hopefully!