There was no better way to spend a weekend, if you are a racing fan, than this one. There was the Keeneland Fall Meet, a visit to Three Chimneys, another Zenyatta win , and it all ended with a great day at Old Friends. What more could anyone ask?
After a cool and rainy start on Friday, the weekend weather slowly improved, culminating in a glorious fall Sunday with bright sunshine and blue skies. We had family in from Pittsburgh, and yesterday we took them on a much-anticipated tour of Three Chimneys farm, where we saw Smarty Jones, Big Brown and Dynaformer. Three Chimneys does a great tour, and our guide clearly loved his “boys.” My sister-in-law, who teaches high school biology, was working out a genetics lesson plan using Thoroughbred horse breeding as a teaching tool. I thought that was pretty cool. Why didn’t my high school science teacher talk horses? I’d likely have been a much better science student!
After Three Chimneys we went to Keeneland, where my five year old niece promptly picked, and won, an exacta. We do start our racing fans young around here. I think the best part of having non-horsey friends and family visit is watching them learn how much fun racing can be–niece Karly jumped up and down cheering her horse in each race. Her mom and dad had fun, too.
Back at Old Friends today, we had a very busy day. I missed the 10 am tour, but there must have been well over a hundred people visiting today. The horses are a riot when there are that many people—they are so good at showing off! Awad, Pops and Ring had a thunderous race down the fenceline. Dan and Flick did their “fighting horses” act. Clever ran and ran and ran some more, showing off all afternoon. With the rain this past week, Pops and Ring have their beloved mud puddle back. Once again, Ring did his best to splash us. Even Escape got into the act, galloping around his paddock with his tail in the air.
Commentator, it turns out, is a character. Apparently he answers to “Tator,” which seems perhaps not the most dignified of nicknames, but what can you do? He proves once again, however, how darned smart good racehorses are. He has already figured out which of my pockets carries the mints. He won’t even take a carrot from me. He just drops the carrots on the ground and waits for the mints. He is really friendly, too, and I’m afraid I have another favorite. Well, along with Wallenda, Black Tie Affair, Kiri, Norty, Clever, Kudos, Jade Hunter, Sunshine, Dan, Awad, Proper, Gramps….and on it goes. You see my dilemma, right?
The Wicked North is back in the barn during the daytime, as he alternates a paddock with Commentator. Norty is right next to Wallenda, and this is a problem. Both horses set up a racket when tours come into the barn. And if the other gets attention first, oh boy, it can get loud! Benburb also gets in on the noise making. At the other end of the barn, Black Tie Affair just rolls his eyes and waits his turn. And speaking of smart horses, Blackie’s new thing? He is working the sympathy vote. He puts his head on my shoulder and sighs, like he is so unappreciated. And while he has health issues, he is far from pathetic! But it sure works. People give the “awww” and offer him the choicest, fattest carrots. Makes me roll my eyes!
I wanted to wait around today for our latest horse to arrive, but I couldn’t. This evening, Smokey Stover arrived from California. Smokey is a six year old gelding who won over $500,000 in his career. Since tomorrow is a work holiday, I’ll get a chance to meet him. I know he is a gorgeous, 17-hand, nearly black horse with white trim. Smokey’s owner passed away last year and Smokey was looking for a post-racing home. Like some of our other horses, his arrival in part is due to efforts made by the Friends of Barbaro. And like all of our other horses, he’ll have a great time greeting his fans and basking in buckets of attention.
I want to end with kudos to Zenyatta: I just love to watch her race. If you haven’t seen her, look for her in the Breeder’s Cup next month, or take a cruise around the internet and watch some of her races. She is spectacular.
That wraps up another weekend in central Kentucky, and another Sunday with Old Friends. Thanks for stopping by; we hope you can visit us soon!