2010 Breeders’ Cup

The first Breeders’ Cup I attended was the 2010 edition at Churchill Downs. I wasn’t sure what they would allow me to bring into the track, so I only took a little point-and-shoot Nikon. My mistake! So many wonderful horses, but the pictures… not so much.

A few made the cut, though.

Nov 3, 2010: The lovely Silver Timber. He finished a respectable 5th in the Turf Sprint behind Chamberlain Bridge.

Nov 3, 2010: The lovely Silver Timber. He finished a respectable 5th in the Turf Sprint behind Chamberlain Bridge that year.

Nov 4, 2010: Giant Oak, who finished 5th in the Breeders' Cup Marathon that weekend.

Nov 4, 2010: Giant Oak, who finished 5th in the Breeders’ Cup Marathon that weekend.

Nov 3, 2010: Zenyatta makes her way from the barn to the track. There were over 100 people following her, including camera crews, photographers, and fans. This remains one of the most amazing things I've ever seen in horse racing.

Nov 3, 2010: Zenyatta makes her way from the barn to the track. There were over 100 people following her, including camera crews, photographers, and her own group of bodyguards. This remains one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen in horse racing.

Nov 3, 2010: Zenyatta, two days before the only loss in her career.

Nov 3, 2010: Zenyatta, two days before the only loss in her career.

Zoom Zoom!

These photos were taken the morning of May 2, 2013 at Churchill Downs.

Rosie Napravnik works a Wayne Catalano trainee.

Rosie Napravnik works a Wayne Catalano trainee.

The lovely Black Onyx out for a gallop. He was scratched from the Kentucky Derby the following morning due to a non-displaced ankle chip. He's fully recovered and back in training now.

The lovely Black Onyx out for a gallop. He was scratched from the Kentucky Derby the following morning due to a non-displaced ankle chip. He’s fully recovered and back in training now.

Verrazano preps for the Derby.

Verrazano preps for the Derby.

The Bob Baffert graded stakes winners Power Broker (outside) and Govenor Charlie.

The Bob Baffert graded stakes winners Power Broker (outside) and Govenor Charlie.

Multiple Grade 1 winner Close Hatches.

Multiple Grade 1 winner Close Hatches. She was also a finalist for an Eclipse award for Champion Three-Year-Old Filly (won by Beholder).

Good Luck, Doll!

May 5, 2012: Groupie Doll in the paddock at Churchill Downs.

May 5, 2012: Groupie Doll in the paddock at Churchill Downs.

Good luck to one of my favorite mares, Groupie Doll, who is running at Keeneland on Saturday in the Grade 2 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes. I fell in love with her two years ago, and was so happy to see her blossom into a fantastic sprinter. She was Champion Female Sprinter last year after a campaign that saw her win five graded stakes in a row, including the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint. She ended her run last year with a nose defeat to Stay Thirsty in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile against the boys.

The photos shown here are from Kentucky Derby day in May 2012, just before her track record win in the Grade 1 Humana Distaff against the previous year’s Champion Female Sprinter, Musical Romance.

After Saturday’s race at Keeneland, Groupie Doll will make her final start for trainer and co-owner Buff Bradley in defense of her title in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint at Santa Anita in November. Here’s to Mr. Bradley and his team, who’ve kept her healthy and happy for years!

May 5, 2012: Rajiv Maragh and Groupie Doll head out of the paddock to set a new track record in the Humana Distaff.

May 5, 2012: Rajiv Maragh and Groupie Doll head out of the paddock to set a new track record in the Humana Distaff.

 

Class Included

May 2, 2013: Class Included schools in the Churchill Downs paddock.

This lovely mare is Class Included, a five-year-old daughter of Include. She has won 10 of 21 starts as of May 2013, and is pictured here the day before her 4th place finish in the Grade 2 La Troienne Stakes.

She’s very talented and quite a beauty, but my favorite part about her is her tail. You can pick her out of a crowd because of it!

May 2, 2013: Class Included has a very distinctive tail.

May 2, 2013: How awesome is that tail?!

Kentucky Derby Winners on Parade

I spent some time at Churchill Downs during Kentucky Derby week this year, and they provided us with a rare treat between races on the Thursday before the Kentucky Oaks. Two previous winners of the Derby were paraded in the paddock: Funny Cide and Mine That Bird.

Funny Cide won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness in 2003 before coming in 3rd in that year’s Belmont. He made a total of 38 starts in his career and earned in excess of $3.5 million. His permanent home is the Kentucky Horse Park, but it was fantastic to see him at Churchill Downs. He got a little worked up for the crowd and danced around the paddock, as if he thought he was going to be saddled for the next race.

May 2, 2013: Funny Cide prances around the Churchill Downs paddock between races during Derby week.

Mine That Bird, 50 to 1 longshot winner of the 2009 Kentucky Derby, spent this summer as the guest of the Kentucky Derby Museum onsite at Churchill Downs. In 2009, he was also 2nd in the Preakness behind Rachel Alexandra and 3rd in the Belmont. His trainer for the Derby win was Chip Woolley, who was in town this year for the festivities and who led him around the paddock. Mine That Bird is a small gelding, just over 15 hands, but he’s still very fit with beautiful conformation. It’s hard to believe that he’s a half-brother to the strapping Dullahan, who ran 3rd in the 2012 Derby.

May 2, 2013: Chip Woolley escorts Mine That Bird around the paddock. He’s such a lovely little gelding!

May 2, 2013: Funny Cide poses for his fans at Churchill Downs.

May 2, 2013: Mine That Bird and Chip Woolley.

May 2, 2013: Funny Cide gets a little worked up for the crowd.

May 2, 2013: Mine That Bird and Chip Woolley.

May 2, 2013: The charming Mine That Bird.

Missing It

I’m missing it. That’s right, it. The horses, the track, the people, and the whole atmosphere. I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t had time to do much of anything outside my normal routine, and I’m just really… missing it.

Since the Breeders’ Cup is at Santa Anita again and that’s out of my reach right now, I’m planning a trip to Kentucky in November. It really can’t come soon enough! I’ll head to the track, a few farms, and the Fasig-Tipton and Keeneland sales. I really can’t wait!

May 2, 2012: Early morning at Churchill Downs.

You Never Know…

May 3, 2012: Onepointhreekarats and John Velazquez head out of the Churchill Downs paddock to win a maiden special weight the day before the Kentucky Oaks.

It’s a lot of fun to watch maiden races, because you never know which horses might be on the verge of making a name for themselves.

Graham Motion trains this lovely Medaglia d’Oro mare, Onepointhreekarats. She’s owned by Live Oak Plantation and ridden here by John Velazquez. I’m not sure what kept her away from the races until she was four, but she won this particular maiden special weight on the turf by two lengths and has since gone on to become a multiple stakes winner.

Trinniberg

May 2, 2013: Trinniberg gallops at Churchill Downs a few mornings before his start in the Grade 2 Churchill Downs Stakes.

I’ve always liked Trinniberg. Maybe it’s because I followed his sire Teuflesberg so closely and was heartbroken when he was injured and forced to retire. You never know how those things will turn out, but Trinniberg has become quite an accomplished sprinter for his sire over the last two years. I got a look at his dam, Bella Dorato, at the Fasig-Tipton November Sale in 2012, and she was a big, beautiful handful. I never saw her stand still for more than 2 seconds.

Trinniberg helped set the pace in the 2012 Kentucky Derby, but faded to finish 17th. The mile and one quarter was a little bit too far for him, so they shortened him up to seven furlongs and he won the Grade 2 Woody Stephens next time out. He finished 2012 by winning the Breeders’ Cup Sprint over a nice field and being named the Eclipse Champion Male Sprinter.

You can’t miss Trinniberg on the track; he is always sporting the Parbhoo’s bright red and yellow tack, along with a little red pom pom in his forelock. I’ve seen him run a few times since 2011, and it looks to me like he’s carrying a lot more weight and muscle this year. He’s had two poor races in 2013, one in Dubai and one in the slop on the Kentucky Derby undercard, so I hope he’ll bounce back to form once he’s back on a normal (hopefully DRY) track.

Go go Trinniberg and his little red pom pom!

May 2, 2013: Trinniberg gallops at Churchill Downs.

May 2, 2013: Trinniberg and his pom pom head back to the barn after a morning gallop.

Onward to the Preakness!

May 2, 2013: Impressive Kentucky Derby winner Orb flies around the track a few mornings before his win in the slop at Churchill Downs.

I’m headed to Baltimore for racing at Pimlico on Friday and Saturday. This will be my first Black-Eyed Susan day, but I’ve been to the Preakness for the last few years. Once again, I’m not allowed to take my good camera because of increased security due to the Boston bombings, but at least the weather should be better than the freezing rain we had at the Derby!

Speaking of the Derby, several of the horses that ran in the Derby are also taking a shot at the Preakness. Here’s a look at a few that I spotted on the track while I was at Churchill Downs.

May 2, 2013: Oxbow will get another shot at Orb in the Preakness. It’s interesting to note that while he’s technically a bay, Oxbow’s coat is full of grey hairs that make him look slightly pale in photos.

May 2, 2013: Will Take Charge gallops at Churchill Downs. His half-brother, Take Charge Indy, ran in the 2012 Kentucky Derby.

May 2, 2013: Itsmyluckyday will hopefully have more luck in the Preakness after finishing 15th in the Kentucky Derby. He’s just so lovely!

May 2, 2013: Goldencents is a bright, beautiful son of Into Mischief, but faded to finish 17th in the Derby.

Beholder

May 2, 2013: Beholder on an early morning gallop the day before the Kentucky Oaks.

I’ve become such a fan of Beholder since her 2nd place finish in the Kentucky Oaks. I liked her before, but I just didn’t think she could get the distance and I certainly never gave her enough credit for her previous wins. She’s the 2 year old female champ from last year and she still went off at odds of 9 to 1!

Her connections have said she’s a little quirky, and you’ll notice that she’s always wearing earmuffs. She had some trouble heading into the starting gate in the Oaks and almost fell to the ground, causing Garrett Gomez to jump off her because he thought she might go all the way down. Even after all of that, she still almost held on to win. What a gutsy filly.

Beholder is a daughter of Henny Hughes out of the mare Leslie’s Lady, which makes her a half-sister to the Spendthrift stallion Into Mischief. That’s of note because two sons of Into Mischief ran in the Kentucky Derby this year: Goldencents and Vyjack. What a talented family!

May 2, 2013: Beholder schools in the Churchill Downs paddock in the afternoon between races.

May 2, 2013: Beholder and her earmuffs.