I was lucky to spend last week at Louisville, Ky. For the 2017 Breeders Cup World Championships. The first half of my week was dedicated to volunteering at the Owner Owner's Owner Thoroughbred Owner's Ownership Conference for new owners and prospective owners, while the second half focused on the Breeders Cup itself.
I enjoyed seven wonderful days in the Bluegrass State, and I highlight some of the top moments below as the racing fan and racing worker:
1. Exciting big event: As a rule, I can travel to cities the night before the racing event starts and leaves the morning after the event ends. For this Breeders Cup, I was at Churchill Downs and downtown Louisville for the whole week leading to World Championships and could defeat all the excitement around the most American racing weekend.
2. bore with stars: On Tuesday, those present at the conference were able to watch the Breweries Cup under the Spiers Twins from Churchill Downs at the Breeders Cup breakfast squad. Sunshine raises over the supreme while Thoroughbreds of the highest quality used below were stunning.
3. Farm visits: As part of the Thoroughbred Owner's Conference, I was able to visit Calumet Farm and WinStar Farm. Calumet does not offer trips to the public, so it was privileged to go inside the famous white fence, see farm stalls, and visit a graveyard where so many legends have burial. It was also great to meet a host of WinStar's highest stalls.
4. Racing celebrities: Waiting at Louisville during the Briders Cup week who made enough opportunity to connect to the most racing names. After I flew to Louisville, I sat within two lines of Chad Brown and Barclay Tag, and ended up chatting with Bob Baffert in raising the hotel hosting the Owner's Conference.
5. Educational opportunity: Although I have no intention to buy the race, volunteering at the Owner's Conference was also a learning opportunity for the various aspects of Thoroughbred ownership, from accounting and legal issues to choose horses at the sale. If there's anything I've learned about the racing industry, here is never the best to learn.
6. The people: Horse riding is the best part of horses. The second best part is the people. I have reconciled with so many old racing friends and colleagues who were in the town for the Breeders Cup. We have all the love for horse racing as seamless food that makes the game even better.
7. The weather: Fridays were cold. However, Saturday was a perfect fall day. If I'd tell you that I was having a sunburnt in the Breeders Cup, you're probably supposed to refer to the Breeders Cup held in California. You would assume it wrong.
8. Horse stars: Those who attended this year's Breeders Cup have been incredible performances by our horse athletes in all 14 races. I'm sure I'm not alone saying that the Enable winner of the Longines Turf Breckers Cup was the culmination of the weekend. Watching the Turf Breeders Cup career extensively alive, it was clear that the crowd rushed for this spectacular tide to make history, and we were all so happy with her.
9. Visit the sale land: For all the opportunities that I have been fortunate in the horse racing industry, I would never have attended a public auction or sale. Although I did not have time to keep around for the sale of Fasig-Tipton November or selling the Keeneland breeding stock in November, I was able to visit Keeneland and look around. For those who do not know, sales lands are free and open to the public. I was hoping to get an insight into Lady Eli incredibly, and fortunately for me, she was out of her stall and showed for prospective buyers when I was studying. She is one of my favorite rasmares, and I have not seen it personally since she won in Saratoga more than a year ago.
10. View old favorites: Anyone who knows me knows that I'm writing poetry about Thoroughbreds, especially my favorites. While at Calumet, I was able to see Channel Turry, winner of the 2007 Turf Breeders Cup. Her groom was kind enough to hold her stall with her door open so that we could take photos, and I mentioned occasionally that he was one of my favorite horses. Then his bride asked me if I wanted to take a picture with the champion, and the Channel Channel brought me out of my stand.
On Sunday, I was able to reconnect with the Coupons Cup winner that is always one of my favorites: Ashado. I have loved Ashado ("love" is a substatement) since I was an ex-teen, and I have visited her at least once a year since 2013, when I got a life and settled in Gainsborough Farm Godolphin, where she lives. For this visit, I had to drive the field at the back of the farm, where Ashado currently lives with nutritional (non-pregnant) and daughter (never breed). I would have been perfectly happy to walk through the field to find Ashado, but the great staff in Gainsborough came into me and it was designed.
Between the magnificent horses, kind and generous men, exciting races and social events, the 2018 Vaccine Cup was one to remember, and I hope that I will be given the opportunity to attend next year in California and celebrate my favorite sport.