No year is complete without a trip (or two or three) related to horses or horse-racing. This year is no exception.
We're going to Churchill Downs for the Stephen Foster (gr. I) on June 16. The day before will be spent in the Bluegrass--so far we are planning to visit Winstar, Castleton Lyons and Millenium Farms. Since the Stephen Foster card doesn't start until late (around 6pm), we will visit the Kentucky Horse Park that day before driving to Churchill. I hope to stop by Old Friends and/or Summer Wind Farm sometime in between all that!
We typically go somewhere for our anniversary on July 26, but as of a couple weeks ago, we still didn't have any plans for this year due to budget constraints. But then my husband's mom asked if we could visit them in Pennsylvania sometime this summer. Initially I was unsure because we were just there for a week, but then I realized this would be a great opportunity to finally see Belmont Park and Churchill Downs.
You see, the in-laws live about four hours from Belmont, and I had always wanted to take a couple days to drive up to Belmont Park and Saratoga from Pennsylvania. But we are always in PA over the holidays, and gambling with the weather for such a long drive as well as being selfish and taking time away from the family just doesn't make that trip very appealing.
But I realized that with a summer trip near our anniversary date, then we would have absolutely no reason in the world to not visit Belmont! But unlike the Twin Spires and Keeneland, the NYRA's turf is unfamiliar territory for me. So, ever curious and wanting to be prepared, I asked around for tips on visiting Belmont and Saratoga. Long story short, to my amazement, I was put in touch with a person that said she could arrange for my husband and I to visit Ruffian's grave.
If you have been reading this blog long enough, then you might know that Ruffian is my favorite racehorse of all time, hands-down. I have been smitten with her since I was a little girl and began reading about the legends of the track. Visiting Ruffian's grave is not easy, and if anything I thought it would be impossible to do in my lifetime. It is a wonderful honor and privilege to have the opportunity to visit the final resting spot of the (original) queen of the turf, and I absolutely cannot wait.
Then the next day, it's on to beautiful Saratoga. I have long dreamed of visiting both Belmont Park and Saratoga--even before I wanted to visit to Churchill Downs. It must be because so many of racing's greatest have conquered (and lost) at these tracks.
And now, we've decided we would like to go back to the Keeneland fall meet, and have put together a tentative plan for visiting various spots in the Bluegrass. It's looking like a wonderful year for traveling!