Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Day 2 - more race horses

What a day - up at 5:30, out the door at 6:30, made it to Churchill before 8. We were immediately hustled out to a waiting van by Becky, our guide for the morning. She had us hurry because the Derby contenders were stepping out on the track for their morning workouts. Sure enough, we made it in time to see Eskenderya, Lookin At Lucky, Paddy O'Prado, Ice Box and Dublin - all of whom are on Steve Haskin's Derby Dozen in this week's Bloodhorse. We saw many other horses work out this morning - including most of the fillies who will run in the Kentcuky Oaks - but knowing that one of those horses could end up wearing the roses on May's exciting!
Back behind the track, we drove around looking at the shedrows - watching the horses get their baths, trainers and exercise riders talking about that morning's's its own little world back there. I could go on and on about that experience - how we were thisclose to top trainer Todd Pletcher, how we drove right by the shedrow where 2009 Preakness winner and 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra was stabled, how Becky put her hand on my arm and told me - seriously - that I should have a job out here...
But I digress. After Churchill, we drove to Three Chimneys farm for a tour. This was my third time visiting the Three Chimneys guys and it was just about better than ever. We saw Big Brown and Smarty Jones (Kentucky Derby winners), Exchange Rate, Point Given, Sky Mesa, Rahy...we even (brace yourself) got to see a live cover of a mare. Can't Catch My Cat was brought into the breeding shed to be covered by Flower Alley and we got to stay and watch. Kinda like biology class all over again! If the foal is a filly, I have a great name already planned, haha.
Off to Rolex tomorrow for day one of dressage - and we'll pay a visit to my favorite racehorse of all time, Cigar. I can't wait!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Day 1 in Horse Country

Since our hotel offers us free high speed internet, I thought I'd blog daily about the Angle-Shaw KentuckyFest 2010 trip!
We flew in yesterday and spent the late afternoon and early evening exploring Cincinnati. I fell in love with it instantly - a medium sized river town with great food, two pro sports stadiums within skipping distance and a wonderful blend of old and new architecture? I'd be crazy NOT to love it! We ate at the famous Montgomery Inn Boathouse on the Ohio River (Nathan is eating his leftovers as we speak) and I left wondering how I'm ever going to eat "regular" food again!
We were up early this morning and out to door to Louisville. I thought it would be a great way to get Nathan into the Bluegrass state of mind to take a scenic route past all the farms and historic old towns. We drove past Keeneland - there will be a whole day devoted to this gorgeous old track on Friday - and through Versailles and Midway, two of my absolute favorite places in the world.
We spent a good chunk of time at Churchill Downs this afternoon - touring the Kentucky Derby Museum, walking around the grounds of the track and paying our respects to 2006 Derby winner Barbaro. I can't believe I hadn't known about the devastating effects last August's flood had on the track and the museum. They had been closed until Sunday! A restoration prject that should have taken about 18 months crammed into only 6...there are still some museum exhibits that are unfinished but the ones that have been restored are AWESOME. It's a lot more interactive than I remember it - Nathan and I did this awesome racing simulation where we chose a running style for our "horses" (yes, there were fake horses to sit on - I chose the gray one, big surprise) and had buttons to move left or right and a certain number of "crops" to use to move our horse forward. My pretend Keenan and I stalked the early leaders, found a hole on the rail and won by about a length and a half!
We were pretty satisfied with our day there, but it was about to get better. On our way back to the car, we walked by Angie (our walking tour guide) as she was leaving for the day. We waved and thanked her again and she asked if we'd had a chance to take the backside tour. We said we hadn't, as there had only been two spots left, and she told us to call as soon as possible and reserve spots for early the next morning. If we got there in time for the 8:30 am tour, we'd get to see the morning workouts on the track - and there was a strong possibility that some of those would be Derby horses. So over a late lunch/early dinner, we made the call and worked a morning at Churchill into our day. Tomorrow, we'll be up before dawn and on our way to Louisville. We'll watch some morning workouts, have a late breakfast and head back to Three Chimneys Farm to tour the stallion division. I can't wait to see Point Given, Smarty Jones, Dynaformer, Rahy and Big Brown! In 2007 when my mom and I toured Three Chimneys, we got to see an actual mating take place - I think that would be pretty rad. Imagine if that foal were to go on to greatness!
Well, off to bed here in Lexington - 5:30 will come EARLY. More to come tomorrow!

Friday, April 16, 2010


I haven't blogged in awhile...being unemployed really takes up a lot of one's time. That's right, Abercrombie and Fitch and I have parted ways. I don't want to get into it - it has nothing to do with the REAL subject of this blog - but I will say that Rapper and Keenan are enjoying seeing so much of me. I've been riding at least four days a week and have been able to take my time at the barn. I honestly don't know how I would make it through this difficult time without Keenan and Rapper. There's something so therepuetic about a good canter, something relaxing in a long walk up the driveway in the late afternoon sun. I'm going to miss them next week, but I know that being in the Bluegrass will make me come home more excited to ride than ever!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

less than 2 weeks!

The thought of this:

is about all that's keeping me going right now. Come ON vacation!