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Stride April 17, 2010 Issue No. 4

magazine

Golden Years Retired thoroughbreds lead a comfortable life at Old Friends

Classic Derby fashions

Awesome Act adds British flavor to Run for the Roses


Friday

Pimlico R

Special post

Black-Eyed Susan Day MAY 14, 2010 • PIMLICO®

®

Benefiting Susan G. Komen for the Cure

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2nd annual

$50,000 Pimlico Jockey Challenge

Eight of the nation’s top jockeys compete in Pimlico’s 2nd annual Jockey Challenge. The riders square off in four Challenge races, with points awarded based upon their finish. The winner receives the top prize of $14,000 and bragging rights as the Jockey Challenge Champion. Riders scheduled to participate are Javier Castellano, Kent Desormeaux, Ramon Dominguez, Garrett Gomez, Julien Leparoux, Anna Napravnik, Jeremy Rose, and John Velazquez. As a thank you to these athletes, Pimlico is making a $5,000 contribution to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.

Leg Rac

Witnes retired and br parimu female Patricia Seefeld Rowlan Wiley W Susan donatio

$50,000

Tickets t side Terr soda and


y, May 14 • The People's Pink Party

Race Course, Baltimore, Maryland

t 12:15pm - Gates open 10:00am

gends for the Cure ce

ure eC r th s fo end Leg

showcasing the $50,000 Pimlico Jockey Challenge participants

rse ou 10 e C 20 ac 14, oR y lic Ma Pim day, Fri

Pink Village hosted by Lite 101.9 FM and Mix 106.5 with “show us your pink” prizes Free* souvenir poster

TM

ss history in the making as eight d, female jockeys return to the saddle reak from the gate in the first-ever utuel race for former, professional, e riders. Participating legends include a J. Cooksey, Gwen Jocson, Andrea dt Knight, Barbara Jo Rubin, Jennifer nd Small, Mary Russ Tortora, Mary Wagner and Cheryl White. Support G. Komen for the Cure by making a on in your favorite rider’s name.

*to the first 3,500 Pimlico fans

Celebrity Jockey Autograph Session featuring the Challenge and

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(11:00-11:30am, first-floor grandstand trackside)

Daily Racing Form Handicapping Seminar with Andrew Beyer, Jay Privman, and other racing

experts (11:30am-12:00pm)

Book Signing with Lynda Sasscer-Hill, author of the murder mystery, Full Mortality

to the exclusive Turfside Terrace are $100 each for Black-Eyed Susan Day, with $10 of each ticket sold donated to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.* Turfrace tickets offer an unparalleled view of the races from tip-up seats under a canopy, and include an all-American picnic buffet with open beer, wine, d bottled water. *for an all-sources minimum guaranteed donation of $100,000


Issue No. 4

April 17, 2010

Contents Main attractions 20

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COVER STORY Golden Years Mike Blowen provides thoroughbreds a home after their racing careers end. By Bill Heller

12

The Glamour of the Gala Kentucky Derby fashions never go out of style (Pictorial).

28

After the Flood After months of repairs and renovations, the Kentucky Derby Museum prepares to reopen. By Ryan Patterson

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12

British Invasion England-based Awesome Act will try to make history at Churchill Downs on May 1. By Robert Knolhoff, Jr.

Other Features 6

6

Down to the Wire Three favorites, headed by Eskendereya, lead a formidable field of Derby contenders.

10 44

Graded Stakes Schedule

41

Dining in Louisville To find the best restaurants, follow the horsemen. By Lane Gold

50

On the Tarmac Things to do in Louisville.

54

HRN’s Kentucky Derby Power Rankings

54

Lineage Riley Mott, son of Hall of Fame Trainer Bill Mott, plans on following his father’s example. By Riley Mott

on the cover: Bull in the Heather enjoys the best retirement a thoroughbred could have at Old Friends. Matt Wooley/Equisport photos

Stride Magazine

A subsidiary of ESW Media P.O. Box 4 Colora, MD 21917 A bi-weekly publication

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STRIDE MAGAZINE

CONTACT INFORMATION E-mail: stridemagonline@gmail.com Phone: 443.693.3454

April 17 2010

EDITORIAL STAFF Publisher: Henry Hill Design Director: Dave Zeiler Photo Editor: Scott Serio Copy editors: Paul Bendel-Simso, Michael Marlow


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April 17, 2010

all Photos: eclipse sportswire

Lookin at Lucky (top), Sidney’s Candy (bottom) are Eskendereya’s chief rivals for the roses May 1 , but many other horses have a good chance to pull an upset, including the filly Devil May Care (Opposite page, left side of photo).


Down to the wire Three contenders promise to dominate this year’s Run for the Roses – but history has shown that anything can happen on Derby Day

I

n the Kentucky Derby, every horse has a story. The trick is to sift through the sentimental favorites, the hype and the bad information to find the true contenders. When you look at the 136th edition of the Run for the Roses there are definitely stories, but only three horses stand out. If any one of them decides to put it all together, they have the talent not only to win the Derby, but maybe to sweep the Triple Crown. Eskendereya is the probable morning line and post time favorite. The son of Giant’s Causeway is built for this distance, is undefeated on the natural surface, and sports the best Beyer Speed Figure in the field. Trainer Todd Pletcher might send five horses to the post, but Eskendereya is his best hope to win him his first Derby. If Eskendereya occupies the top spot, Lookin At Lucky and Sidney’s Candy occupy spots 2 and 2a. Most consider them just slightly below Eskendereya, but you really can’t separate them. Lookin At Lucky has been the most consistent performer of all Derby starters. He has been consistent in finishing well – which is good – but also has steadily managed to find trouble even in his most impressive efforts. Most recently, whether through the fault of jockey Garrett Gomez’s ride or plain bad luck, the colt was stopped cold during his rally on the turn and lost all hope of catching 2a in the Santa Anita. All this said, he still managed a gut-checking second by a nose in the Breeders Cup Juvenile and managed to lunge for the wire to win the Rebel at Oaklawn Park. The Rebel win quieted doubters who wondered if Lucky would be able to make the transition from synthetic to dirt. Lucky is a serious horse;

He may not be a sure thing, but Eskendereya is the Derby favorite this year.

STRIDE MAGAZINE

April 17, 2010

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Derby Contenders With the Kentucky Derby around the corner, the Top 20 is pretty much set. Here is where the top contenders stand as of today: Rank Horse

Trainer

Earnings

1

Lookin At Lucky

Bob Baffert

$1,480,000

2

Noble's Promise

Kenneth McPeek

$738,000

3

Rule

Todd Pletcher

$645,000

4

Sidney's Candy

John Sadler

$630,000

5

Eskendereya

Todd Pletcher

$600,000

6

Line of David

John Sadler

$600,000

7

Mission Impazible

Todd Pletcher

$485,934

8

Ice Box

Nicholas Zito

$457,500

9

Stately Victor

Michael Maker

$451,112

10

Endorsement

Shannon Ritter

$400,000

11

Conveyance

Bob Baffert

$386,000

12

American Lion

Eoin Harty

$378,000

13

Dublin

D. Lukas

$373,208

14

Super Saver

Todd Pletcher

$363,832

15

Discreetly Mine

Todd Pletcher

$340,000

16

Dean's Kitten

Michael Maker

$326,475

17

Interactif

Todd Pletcher

$307,950

18

Awesome Act

Jeremy Noseda

$285,000

19

Paddy O'Prado

Dale Romans

$250,950

20

Homeboykris

Richard Dutrow, Jr.

$250,500

21

Jackson Bend

Nicholas Zito

$230,000

22

Backtalk

Thomas Amoss

$225,916

23

Make Music for Me Alexis Barba

$218,750

24

Exhi

Todd Pletcher

$180,358

25

Setsuko

Richard Mandella

$180,000

26

A Little Warm

Anthony Dutrow

$180,000

27

Pleasant Prince

Wesley Ward

$166,250

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April 17, 2010

Endorsement attracted some attention by winning the Sunland Derby.

either his ability to recover from the trouble he manages to find will serve him well in the 20-horse Derby field and help him win, or his propensity for traffic issues will cost him the roses. And then there is speedy Sidney’s Candy, the winner of the San Vicente, San Felipe and Santa Anita Derby. If you believe his rider, Joe Talamo, his front-running victories are more about his natural ability than a need to be on the lead. In interviews, Talamo has stated he thinks Sidney’s Candy can rate, stay close to the lead, use his tactical speed and get a clear run at the lead in the Derby. In his case, rating is a must. Sidney’s Candy is trained by John Sadler, who also trains Arkansas Derby upset winner Line of David. There is no doubt where Line of David will be: on the lead, trying to steal the race. For Sidney’s Candy to give his sire, Candy Ride, a classic victory, he will need to settle in and take a page from another Derby hopeful, Super Saver. Super Saver was close to the top of many Derby lists at the beginning of the year. His 2010 campaign has started slowly. Even his trainer, Todd Pletcher, commented that of all his Derby prospects Super Saver was the least likely to come from off the pace. In the Arkansas Derby though, he did just that. Jockey Calvin Borel managed to get Super Saver to relax and not chase after Line of David’s crazy front-end fractions. Super Saver closed well, only to lose a very close photo for the win. The Derby will be Super Saver’s third race back. Many believe he is sitting on a huge effort, especially with the lesson


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STRIDE MAGAZINE

April 17, 2010

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Upcoming Graded Stakes Races DATE

TRACK RACE

GRD.

DIST.

2010-04-24

AQU

Withers Stakes

III

8.0

2010-04-24

CD

Derby Trial Stakes

III

8.0

2010-04-24

GG

San Francisco Mile

II

8.0 T

2010-04-24

LS

Texas Mile

III

8.0

2010-04-25

CRC

Miami Mile Handicap

III

8.0 T

2010-04-25

HOL

Inglewood Handicap

III

8.5 T

2010-04-30

BEL

Westchester Stakes

III

8.0

2010-04-30

CD

Kentucky Oaks

I

9.0

2010-04-30

CD

American Turf Stakes

II

8.5 T

2010-04-30

CD

La Troienne Stakes

II

8.5

2010-04-30

CD

Alysheba Stakes

III

8.5

2010-04-30

CD

Churchill Downs Turf Sprint Stakes

III

5.0 T

2010-04-30

CD

Kentucky Juvenile Stakes

III

5.0

2010-05-00

BEL

Peter Pan Stakes

II

9.0

2010-05-00

BEL

Nassau County Stakes

III

7.0

2010-05-00

PIM

Allaire duPont Distaff Stakes

II

8.5

2010-05-00

PIM

Pimlico Special

I

9.5

2010-05-01

BEL

Fort Marcy Stakes

III

8.5 T

2010-05-01

BEL

Beaugay Stakes

III

8.5 T

2010-05-01

CD

Woodford Reserve Turf Classic

I

9.0 T

2010-05-01

CD

Kentucky Derby

I

10.0

2010-05-01

CD

Humana Distaff Handicap

I

7.0

2010-05-01

CD

Churchill Downs Stakes

II

7.0

2010-05-01

CD

Churchill Distaff Turf Mile

II

8.0 T

2010-05-01

CD

Eight Belles Stakes

III

7.5

2010-05-01

HOL

Wilshire Handicap

III

8.0 T

2010-05-02

HOL

Senorita Stakes

III

8.0 T

2010-05-08

BEL

Dwyer Stakes

II

8.5

2010-05-08

HOL

Mervyn Leroy Handicap

II

8.5 S

2010-05-08

LS

Lone Star Derby

III

8.5

2010-05-09

HOL

Railbird Stakes

III

7.0 S

2010-05-14

PIM

Black-Eyed Susan Stakes

II

9.0

2010-05-15

BEL

Shuvee Handicap

II

8.0

2010-05-15

HOL

Jim Murray Memorial Handicap

II

12.0 T

2010-05-15

PIM

Preakness Stakes

I

9.5

2010-05-15

PIM

Dixie Stakes

II

9.0 T

2010-05-15

PIM

William Donald Schaefer Stakes

III

8.5

2010-05-15

PIM

Maryland Sprint Handicap

III

6.0

2010-05-15

PIM

Hirsch Jacobs Stakes

III

6.0

2010-05-15

PIM

Gallorette Handicap

III

8.5 T

2010-05-16

HOL

Milady Handicap

II

8.5 S

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April 17, 2010

learned at Oaklawn Park. The other horse in that crazy photo finish from the Arkansas Derby was Dublin. He stormed onto the scene with a convincing win in the Hopeful last August at Saratoga. Since then, the D. Wayne Lukas charge has run well, placed in three straight graded stakes, but just doesn’t seem to be putting it all together. After these, you have the likes of Endorsement, who was still a maiden in February, but unleashed a shocker in the Sunland Derby. You have Gotham winner Awesome Act, who lost a shoe at the beginning of the Wood Memorial and still managed a third-place finish. Ice Box, American Lion and Mission Impazible won the Florida, Illinois and Louisiana Derbies respectively. Of those performances, the Florida effort was the least impressive. The rest of the field is a jumble of horses who, if they happen to find a little racing luck and their best stride, could each reach the finish line first in Louisville. Included in the group are Interactif, Noble’s Promise, Rule, Stately Victor, Conveyance, Discreetly Mine, Dean’s Kitten, Paddy O’Prado, Homeboykris, Jackson Bend, Backtalk, Make Music For Me, Setsuko and Pleasant Prince. For some of these horses, a start in the Derby is not even guaranteed because of the earnings gymnastics that have occurred in the last month. The element missing this year that has been present for the last couple is a super-filly. Right now, no one appears to be an Eight Belles or Rachel Alexandra. The one exception might be Devil May Care. The filly rocked in the Bonnie Miss on Florida Derby Day and ran her 1 1/8 miles faster than the boys in the Florida Derby. As you sort through all of them, though, just three rise to the surface of all the Derby prep mayhem: Eskendereya, Lookin At Lucky and Sidney’s Candy. They seem the most talented of this crop of three-year-olds. But, as 50-1 shot Mine That Bird proved in Kentucky Derby 135, they still have to run the race. And any of the 20 horses that go to post can win, given the right set of circumstances. h


STRIDE MAGAZINE

April 17, 2010

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April 17, 2010


The

Glamour of the

Gala Photo: scott serio

T

he potential field for Kentucky Derby 136 is well-known. The guest list for the 22nd Annual Barnstable Brown Gala is only a guessing game. Known for attracting the biggest stars, the gala will take place on April 30th at the home of Patricia Barnstable Brown in Louisville. Through the years, the Derby Eve party has been attended by the likes of Sir Richard Branson, Anna Nicole Smith, Kid Rock, Hal Holbrook, Greg Louganis, Brooke Shield and Paris Hilton (left). The charity event is THE Derby party. The Barnstable Brown Gala has raised more than $11 million for diabetes research since 1989 when more than 500 guests came to the event hosted by the former the Doublemint twins, Priscilla Barnstable and her sister Patricia. The sisters work hard to bring in the biggest names for the gala. With promises of rubbing elbows with Paris Hilton and others, guests readily spend $1,200 for a ticket. There is no bigger pre-Derby event and it is for a wonderful cause. There are still tickets left for the blacktie formal affair.

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April 17, 2010

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H C

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April 17, 2010


Photos by Scott Serio

Hat Couture T

he hat, the dress or the shoes. Which first? That is the question women have been asking themseves for decades before attending a Kentucky Derby party or being seen by everyone on the first Saturday in May. Many of the same styles worn to the Derby and to elite gatherings by Lana Turner and The Duchess of Windsor could still turn heads today at the Barnstable Brown Gala or on Millionaire’s Row. Here is a look some of those timeless fashions, courtesy of Stride Magazine.

Photographed on location in Saratoga Springs, NY at the Canfield Casino and at the Saratoga Golf and Polo Club.

STRIDE MAGAZINE

April 17, 2010

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Stylist – Maria Lentini Models – Crystal Hrnjak and Tayler Burnside Hats - Nancy Matt’s Le Beau Chapeau Millinery Designs: lebeauchapeau@nycap.rr.com or 518-458-7693, prices upon request Vintage Clothing – Lioness Boutique lionessboutique@yahoo.com, prices upon request

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April 17, 2010


Old Friends

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Bull in the Heather takes it easy in the twilight of another day at Old Friends.

April 17, 2010


Michael Blowen’s second career makes it possible for retired thoroughbreds to enjoy a second life

By Bill Heller

T

Photos by Matt Wooley/EquiSport Photos

here is a story of a woman who, while walking along the beach one day, saw hundreds of starfish stranded in the sand by the tide. She began picking up the starfish, one by one, and returning them to the sea. A man nearby saw her doing this and called out, “What are you doing?” She responded, “I’m helping these starfish.” He said, “There may be a thousand of them here. How can you make a difference?” She bent down, picked up a starfish, returned it to the sea and said, “It made a difference for this one.” Michael Blowen, a 63-year-old retired reporter for the Boston Globe, didn’t envision saving hundreds of racing’s greatest thoroughbreds when he started Old Friends, a not-for-profit retirement organization in Kentucky, in June of 2003. But just two weeks after the opening, word leaked out that Ferdinand, the 1986 Kentucky Derby winner and 1987 Horse of the Year, had died in a slaughterhouse in Japan. “Then everything exploded,” Blowen said. STRIDE MAGAZINE

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One of Old Friends’ more recent acquisitions, Commentator, romps in his paddock.

Old Friends began with just one horse, a 21-year-old daughter of Exceller aptly named Narrow Escape. Old Friends acquired her in February 2004 as a donation from auction company Fasig-Tipton. The death of Exceller, who had defeated Triple Crown winners Seattle Slew and Affirmed in the 1978 Jockey Club Gold Cup, in a slaughterhouse in Sweden in 1997 had shed light on horse racing’s deepest and darkest secret. Ferdinand’s grisly death six years later made the issue impossible to ignore.

‘Wilder than my dreams’

Fast-forward to 2010. Old Friends, which moved to its present location in Georgetown in July of 2006, is home to 70 horses. It supports another 21 horses at nearby farms. Additionally, eight horses are stabled at Old Friends’ first satellite facility, Cabin Creek, a 40-acre

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farm just outside Saratoga Springs, NY, which opened in November. The farm, owned by Joann and Mark Pepper, will have its official grand opening on July 22. (The event will also celebrate the career of late Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel, one of Old Friends’ biggest supporters.) That’s 99 horses in Old Friends’ care. “I never dreamed this big,” Blowen said. “My life is wilder than my dreams.” Blowen’s wild life began when he accepted a buyout from the Boston Globe nine years ago. Blowen, who had ridden horses when he was a youngster in Thompsonville, CT, decided to reward himself with a trip to Belmont Park to see the 2001 Belmont Stakes. While at the track, he met trainer Angel Penna Sr.’s wife, Elinor, a reporter for Sports Illustrated, who was on the board of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation. She invited Blowen to the TRF auction/

April 17, 2010

dinner the night before the Belmont Stakes. She then asked him, “Why don’t you come to work for the TRF as an operations director?” He did. Originally, he worked out of his home in Arlington, MA, before he and his wife, Diane White, a writer for the Boston Globe, moved to Midway, KY, to be closer to thoroughbred racing and breeding. But, after visiting the Kentucky Horse Park, he decided to start his own retirement organization, one centered on outstanding thoroughbreds that had finished their racing and breeding careers. “When you go over to the Horse Park and see John Henry, it gives you a chill,” Blowen said. “I thought you could have a place for retired stallions. The idea was to do it just like the Horse Park so that no one would forget how great these athletes were. I thought of [film director] John Huston. I knew


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April 17, 2010

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him a little. We went to the track together and he told me, ‘If you don’t have a star, you don’t have a movie.’ That’s what I thought when I started this. I knew people would come to see these stars.”

Caring for legends

While most of the thoroughbreds at Old Friends are stallions, and are kept in separate paddocks, Old Friends also cares for mares and geldings. “We focus on stallions because most other retirement farms don’t,” Blowen said. “There was a void.” Among Old Friends’ notable thoroughbreds are Affirmed Success, Awad, 1991 Horse of the Year Black Tie Affair, 1997 Female Handicap Champion Hidden Lake, Kiri’s Clown, Ogygian, 1988 Grass Champion Sunshine Forever, 1994 Champion Older Male The Wicked North and Will’s Way. The end of last year brought two additions: 1988 Champion Sprinter Gulch and Commentator. There is also a bona fide movie star: Popcorn Deelites, who played Seabiscuit in the 2003 film. Prominent thoroughbreds at Old Friends that have died include 1986 Champion Grass Mare Estrapade, Flying Pidgeon, Fraise, 1985 Champion Sprinter Precisionist, Ruhlmann and Taylor’s Special. “We’re lucky there’s a place like this,” said Affirmed Success’ owner, Albert Fried Jr. “It’s a great option – great for us and great for the horse.” Affirmed Success had been at the nearby Kentucky Horse Park. “We got him about two years ago,” Blowen said. “He was at the Horse Park. The lady called me and said, ‘Do you have room for Affirmed Success?’ And I freaked out. I loved this horse. He was sensational. It seemed like every time there was a stakes race in New York, he was winning it. Also, it created a bridge between the Horse Park and us. I’ve always thought of being partners with them in a way. Then, when the horse got here, he’s so beautiful. And he’s got a terrific personality. He’s affectionate. He loves the attention.” And he, as well as his high-profile equine buddies, continues to attract

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crowds. On a recent April weekend, 150 visitors stopped by Old Friends, delighting Blowen and his wife. Roughly 70 percent of the visitors had called to make reservations. Two of the visitors had come from Sacramento, CA. “They hired a van to come to the farm,” Blowen said. Admission is free, though donations are accepted and encouraged. Tours led by volunteers are offered daily at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Old Friends employs three full-time workers, several part-timers and a bunch of volunteers. On the following Monday morning, Blowen and his wife are up by 7 to do the feeding. Blowen’s describes it as a pleasant task and says it’s his favorite time of the day. “It’s really quiet,” he says. “We’re the only ones here, and I get time to spend with Diane.” And with his horses. “I know they’re glad to see the feed, not me,” Blowen said. “But still … one thing I’m learning is that all these horses are different. They have different personalities, nuances and facial expressions.” After feeding the horses, Blowen stops by his office to see how many visitors are coming that day. He expects 45 on this Monday, including a farrier from Australia. “We just got a request from a

April 17, 2010


Above: Awad is among the many former thoroughbred stars relaxing in retirement at Old Friends. Left, Mike Blowen feeds 1991 Horse of the Year Black Tie Affair. Blowen says feeding the horses is his favorite time of the day.

group of Australians to have a big party at Old Friends during the Equestrian Games in September,” Blowen said. One of the first visitors on this Monday morning is Carol Farmer. Carol and her husband, Tracy, own Commentator. “Commentator and Gulch are in adjoining paddocks,” Blowen said. “They race in the paddocks. Black Tie Affair watches them. I wanted to show Carol another farm down the road I’m interested in acquiring. We looked at that for a while. We came back, and there were visitors who wanted their picture taken with [Carol].”

The Farmers have become a valuable asset for Old Friends. A year before Commentator went to Old Friends, Hidden Lake, the outstanding mare owned by the Farmers and Robert Clay, arrived. The Eclipse Award-winning mare had been entered in a mixed sale at Keeneland in January 2009. “I believe Hidden Lake’s hip number was 1620,” Blowen said. “She was way at the end of the sale. She’d never thrown a good foal and she’d been barren five years. Taylor Made Farms was the consignor, and I called my friend there, John Hall. They just gave us the horse. She is ador-

able. She’s meant a lot to us. I like all our horses, but I only love a handful. She’s one of them.”

The first star

Blowen credits Jerry and Ann Moss with delivering Old Friends’ first star. “Jerry and Ann Moss are also big supporters,” he said. “They gave us our first big horse, Ruhlmann. They put us on the map. He was in Texas, and he was done being a sire, maybe 4½ years ago. They visited us the year they won the Kentucky Derby with Giacomo.” Ruhlmann’s presence at Old Friends gave Blowen a reason to introduce him-

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If Ogygian could talk, he’d probably be thanking Mike Blowen for all he’s done.

self to Ruhlmann’s former trainer, Bobby Frankel, at Saratoga. “I really didn’t know him,” Blowen said. “I told him we had Ruhlmann. That day, he was very brusque and didn’t seem to care that much. A week later, he came up to me and said, ‘You’re the guy with Ruhlmann, right? I really think you’re doing a great job with these animals.’ ” Frankel, who died of leukemia in November, backed up his praise with action. He stipulated in his last wishes that donations following his death should be sent to three places: the Exceller Fund, the Jockey Club Grayson Foundation and Old Friends. “He also left us money in the will,” Blowen said. “I was surprised, flabbergasted and honored. We’re going to have a big tribute to Bobby July 22 in New York at our new farm.” The official name of that farm is “Old Friends at Cabin Creek, the Bobby Frankel Division.” The Mosses’ impact on Old Friends has also been enormous. “If I ever need anything, I can call Jerry Moss,” Blow-

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It’s so gratifying that there’s someone with a passion like Michael to do this with stallions. He’s done a wonderful job.

– David Donk

en said. “It gives you a great amount of confidence if you have that safety net. People are very generous. Mary Sullivan – she owned Kiri’s Clown – sends $10,000 every couple of months.” Trainers, especially those with a horse at Old Friends, have been supportive, too. Jim Bond (Will’s Way), David Donk (Awad), Billy Mott, Jonathan Sheppard, John Shirreffs and John

April 17, 2010

Veitch (Sunshine Forever) have either visited the farm or made donations. Trainer Bob Baffert has helped out as well, giving Old Friends a percentage of revenue from his collectible shirt line. Donk, his wife, Fay, and their children, 13-year-old Paul and 7-year-old Holly, spent three days at Old Friends’ bed and breakfast on the kids’ spring break to reconnect with Awad. “It was a great time,” Donk said. “We hadn’t been to Kentucky since he’s been there. It’s so gratifying that there’s someone with a passion like Michael to do this with stallions. He’s done a wonderful job. The farm continues to grow. I think he’s done a great job of getting the message out to the whole country. There are a lot of horses there that have touched a lot of people – owners, trainers, jockeys and the fans.” Of course, the horse that touches Donk the most is Awad. “He looked fantastic,” Donk said. “He’s 20. He’s got a paddock right near the house, right next to Kiri’s Clown, which is ironic. He beat me [on Awad] by a nose in the Sword Dancer. It was a great race.” That Sword Dancer was in 1995, a 1½-mile Grade 1 stakes at Saratoga with a purse of $500,000. Kiri’s Clown was trained by Hall of Famer Phil “P.G.” Johnson, who at the time was mired in the worst slump of his career. When Kiri’s Clown won the race, a reporter came up to Donk and asked him, “Isn’t it great that P.G. broke his slump?” Donk replied, “How about David Donk? He lost a $500,000 Grade 1 by a nose.” Donk laughs about it now. Meanwhile, Blowen has witnessed rematches of the Sword Dancer at Old Friends, when Kiri’s Clown and Awad race each other in separate paddocks. “How great is that, when you get


to see Awad run against Kiri’s Clown like they did in 1995?” Blowen asked. Former jockeys Chris McCarron and Jean Cruguet offered their support as soon as Old Friends opened. More recently, jockeys Calvin Borel, Kent Desormeaux, Richard Migliore and Mike Smith stopped by to visit horses and support the farm. Hall of Fame jockey Bobby Ussery is a frequent visitor.

Busy days

Calvin Borel re-acquaints himself with Judge’s Case.

But back to Blowen’s hectic Monday. He returns to his office to check and answer e-mails. “We get four to six requests a day to take horses,” he said. “Then this girl came by, Kim Boyle, and her sister Aimee. “They’re doing a fundraiser for us called Ferdinand’s Ball the Thursday before the Kentucky Derby.”

After their visit, Blowen is off to get gasoline for the tractors and mowers. The morning is long gone. “In the afternoon, we had a whole Brownie troop from Woodford County,” Blowen said. “I took them around, and it was great. They were so cute and asked such great questions. They were very excited to

see Popcorn Deelites because he was ridden by Toby Maguire.” When they left, Blowen went out to get some fried chicken for dinner. He washed it down with a beer and took one more lap on the grounds to make sure everyone was OK. By the end of the day, Blowen is ready for a good night’s sleep. But he goes to bed with the anticipation of a child on Christmas Eve who can’t wait for the next day to begin: “I’m grateful to wake up every morning and say, ‘There’s Gulch and Commentator and Academy Award. Black Tie Affair. There’s Jade Hunter, Glitterman, Affirmed Success, Hidden Lake.’ Holy cow! That’s just amazing. It’s like having Magic Johnson and Larry Bird in your backyard.” h

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Top) The deluge that damaged the museum left only the Barbaro memorial in front of the museum on dry ground. (Bottom row) Frantic renovations conti

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After the Flood

inue all the way up to the reopening on April 18th.

A

By Ryan Patterson

All Photos: Eric Patterson/Eclipse sportswire

Photo Courtesy of Kentucky Derby Museum

A renovated Kentucky Derby Museum celebrates its rebirth s upwards of 10 inches of water poured into the Kentucky Derby Museum last summer, there were fears that the history of horse racing was about to wash out the door and down the street. For a quarter-century, the Louisville museum had housed the memory of racing legends. The triumph of thoroughbreds like Citation, Secretariat and Spectacular Bid lived on at the museum, long after they had made history in the Run for the Roses, but their legacy was in danger of drowning. The worst didn’t come to pass, however, and after several months of restoration and repair, the museum will soon be ready to once again welcome the more than 200,000 horse racing fans who visit the museum annually. And the renovated museum promises visitors an even richer experience.

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The Barbaro memorial just outside the Kentucky Derby Museum grounds is a fitting tribute to a thoroughbred that touched many fans’ hearts.

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A protective sheet covers one of the exhibits during the museum repairs and renovations.

A near-disaster

The flood in August 2009 was a serious blow. Amid floodwaters that were floating cars down the street, the museum could have faced absolute devastation. As it was, a significant part of the collection was damaged, but museum staff were able to save most items, and damaged materials were sent to Chicago for restoration. After its multimillion-dollar renovation, the museum scheduled its reopening for April 18. The reborn museum will display a great deal of new material. Among the items to be found at 704 Central Ave. in Louisville will be the chair of famous Churchill Downs President Matt Winn, the Louisville native who saved Churchill Downs and coaxed the owners of the filly Regret to compete in the Kentucky Derby. (They responded to

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his urging, and in 1915 Regret became the first filly to wear the Roses.) Visitors will also find several Gold Cups that were presented to Derby winners. While preserving history is a key mission for any museum, officials at the Kentucky Derby Museum want to focus on the present, as well. “We are trying to shift our focus

more to the experience of the Kentucky Derby,” said Wendy Treinen, the museum’s director of communications. Instead of focusing exclusively on the past, the museum will re-create for visitors the atmosphere, grace and fun of the race. The goal is to be the next best thing to actually being at the Kentucky Derby. Nevertheless, history is still a key element of the museum, and the second floor is dedicated to champions of the past, along with their owners, trainers and jockeys.

Final resting place

An exhibit shows winning Derby silks through the years.

April 17, 2010

A unique aspect of the museum is that it is also a cemetery of sorts: Several Kentucky Derby winners are interred on the museum grounds. The most notable is perhaps the Californiabred champion Swaps. He was piloted


by Willie Shoemaker and took the Run for the Roses in 1955 by holding off fellow Hall of Famer Nashua and jockey Eddie Arcaro in the stretch. Broker’s Tip, Carry Back, and Sunny’s Halo are also buried on the museum grounds. Broker’s Tip is notable because his only lifetime win came in the 1933 Run for the Roses. Carry Back is remembered for winning the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes. The following year – 1962 – he took the Metropolitan Mile. Sunny’s Halo followed up his 1983 Kentucky Derby win with a 12-length romp in the Super Derby at Louisiana Downs, where he equaled the track record for 1¼ miles. And, while not on the official grounds of the museum, Barbaro is interred near the entrance. The 2006 winner of the Kentucky Derby was euthanized in January 2007 after complications from an injury sustained in the Preakness. A gorgeous bronze statue of the son of Dynaformer in full stride towards the

Signs advise potential visitors that the museum is not quite ready yet.

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finish line in the Run for the Roses was placed next to his grave.

through high school. The programs use math, science, social studies and economics to teach kids about the thoroughbred racing industry. One of the most interesting programs is “Jockeying for Positions: Careers,” which teaches students about jobs in the racing industry and how important that industry is to the state of Kentucky. They also learn how to write effective resumes and give good job interviews. In addition, the museum brings its programs to schools that can’t take their students to Louisville. The Kentucky Derby stands alone as a unique event in horse racing. The wealth of history and culture that the race offers is overwhelming. But thanks to the Kentucky Derby Museum, the race’s history – as well as its present and its future – are comprehensively and beautifully displayed for all of its fans, old and new. And, having risen from the floodwaters bigger and better than ever, the museum is more than ready to start its new chapter. h

Education and outreach

Real Quiet’s saddle cloth is among the many unique exhibits housed in the museum.

The Kentucky Derby Museum opened its doors in April 1985 on land donated by Churchill Downs Inc. The project was financed in large part through a donation from the philanthropic James Graham Brown Foundation. The namesake of the foundation was a Louisville businessman who served on the board of directors at Churchill Downs for 32 years and was the owner of the famed Brown Hotel. The foundation stepped up again in 1999 when the museum prepared to undergo a $10 million renovation and 10,000-square-foot expansion. The museum reaches a large audience, and that audience is made even larger thanks to a outreach program that serves local schools. Students in Kentucky and parts of Indiana are able to tour the museum free of charge. And educational programs are available for children from pre-kindergarten

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Photo: Dwain Snyder/Eclipse Sportswire

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f u ll stri d e

Taking a Tumble

The Centurylink Hurdle at the Stoneybrooke Steeplechase: Rider Xavier Aizpuru and Fogcutter successfully avoid a fallen Closetoyourheart and rider Jody Petty.

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British In

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nvasion

Gotham Stakes win puts England-trained Awesome Act into Derby contention By Robert Knolhoff, Jr.

Photo: Sue Kawczynski/Eclipse Sportswire

H

e was born on land that has produced a majority of Kentucky Derby starters for over a century. Awesome Act, however, is by no means your garden-variety Derby contender. The Gotham Stakes winner departed from Belmont Park late this past week for the final leg of a journey that will take the Kentucky-bred full circle. The Awesome Again colt, third behind likely Derby favorite Eskendereya in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial, will bid on May 1 to become the first European-trained winner of the May classic. Fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, the Jeremy Noseda trainee officially joined the 2010 Derby Trail when flying from England to win the Gotham with speed to spare. The race marked Awesome Act’s dirt debut following five starts on the turf and one at London’s Kempton Park over an all-weather surface. In Awesome Act’s final pre-Derby start, although he finished nearly 10 lengths behind Eskendereya, missing second by a head to Jackson Bend, he exited the Wood with several legitimate excuses. Leaving slightly awkward from the gate, Awesome Act lost his left front shoe within the first few strides and soon found himself tracking a slower-thanpreferred pace. “Admittedly, the pace in the Wood wasn’t ideal,” said Noseda, who has entrusted Awesome Act’s care in New York to assistants Wayne Tanner and George Windsor, “but he’ll certainly have [a legitimate pace] in the Derby, along with an extra furlong to run.” The seeds of this intrepid mission were planted immediately following the Breeders’ Cup, where among the more overlooked performances was Awesome Act’s flying finish down the middle of the Santa Anita grass course. Noseda mulled over the colt’s future with British Horseracing Authority Chairman Paul Roy and his wife, Susan, co-owners of Awesome Act with Vinery Stud.

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Photo: Eric Kalet/Eclipse Sportswire

The connections of Awesome Act in the winner’s circle after the Gotham Stakes.

Five years earlier, Noseda won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile for the Roys and Paul Reddam with the Awesome Again colt Wilko, who remained stateside with trainer Craig Dollase to prepare for the 2005 Kentucky Derby. This time, Noseda was bringing Awesome Act home to England – with an eye on returning before long. “He was always a sensible colt around the yard; it just took him time to figure it all out at the races,” said Noseda. “Aside from his pedigree, the dirt just seemed like the natural way to go because he loves a good pace to run behind.”

Pioneering European

A lead assistant with Godolphin before striking out on his own, Noseda is well aware of the operation’s intense focus on winning the Kentucky Derby. Yet despite all of Godolphin’s prolific spending on Derby prospects,

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the benchmark European performance at Churchill Downs remains Bold Arrangement’s 1986 runner-up performance. As a new era of international racing took hold in the 1980s, trainer Clive Brittain was a pioneer among British trainers. His touchstone moment came when saddling the charismatic filly Pebbles to victory in the 1985 Breeders’ Cup Turf at Aqueduct. By that time, his 2-yearold Bold Arrangement had completed

He was always a sensible colt around the yard, it just took him time to figure it all out at the races.

April 17, 2010

– Trainer Jeremy Noseda

a busy nine-race season, which would serve as a foundation for an ambitious campaign ahead. Bold Arrangement was owned by Tony Richards and his brother Ray, who were both big fans of American racing. Their colt, a great-grandson of leading U.S. sire Bold Ruler, was in Brittain’s eyes an ideal prospect for the American classics. “He ran twice in France within a few weeks, both Group 1’s, and handled the shipping perfectly,” said Brittain from his Newmarket office, just down the road from Jeremy Noseda’s Shalfleet Stables. “We trained him here on a sand track, nothing quite like the surfaces we see now, but he was a tough guy who responded to the kickback by coming right back for more.” Third in his 1986 debut at home, Bold Arrangement would start once more before the Derby, only this time on American soil. Clive Brittain’s biggest hurdle


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poked his head in front approaching the eighth pole soon before a large red flash appeared up the rail, where Bill Shoemaker had artfully guided Ferdinand from last and onto a clear path to victory. Resolute to the wire, Bold Arrangement held second by three-quarters of a length, with Broad Brush third. The two colts Bold Arrangement finished between went on to total over $6.4 million in combined career earnings.

Riding American-style

Awesome Acts jogs at Santa Anita prior to the 2009 Breeders’ Cup.

had an experienced American jockey to guide him 1¼ miles though a large and potentially unpredictable field of 16 3-year-olds. Sent off at 9-1 odds, Bold Arrangement settled more than 20 lengths behind as pacesetter Groovy tied the Derby’s fastest-ever opening half-mile. Building momentum into the far turn, McCarron sent Bold Arrangement up to draw on near-even terms with Broad Brush and Badger Land approaching the home stretch. Bold Arrangement

Trainer Jeremy Noseda with Derby hopeful Awesome Act.

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Photos: eclipse sportswire

proved to be negotiating American quarantine procedures. which forced Bold Arrangement to first fly into New York before arriving at Keeneland. His Derby hopeful would there contest the Blue Grass Stakes, then held just nine days out from the Derby. “My one oversight was not schooling him at the gate beforehand,” Brittain recalled. “When he heard the bell – something we didn’t use at home – he froze and cost himself ground. The race really served him well, as he was not a horse with whom you’d get a lot from in the mornings.” Pat Eddery, who would miss the Kentucky Derby due to a suspension served over in England, rallied Bold Arrangement from well back of the field and finished a fast-closing third. Next it was on to Churchill Downs, where Brittain was among the more sought-after Derby personalities. Of particular interest was how, just like with Pebbles, the Englishman served Bold Arrangement a bottle of Guinness Stout in the colt’s daily feed. The import also piqued the interest of Chris McCarron, who upon learning that the mount on Clive Brittain’s colt was open quickly maneuvered to secure the ride. Bold Arrangement now

Though times have certainly changed in racing, the roads leading to the Derby still come with a steep learning curve, even for the experienced horseman. “The Gotham showed all the work we did getting him to turn left-handed in a more professional manner was really paying off,” said Noseda, who boasts experience training on both sides of the Atlantic. “I’d have loved to have taken him back to Newmarket after the Gotham, but realistically we had to stand pat and adjust his training a little more toward the American style.” Close Derby watchers will note that Awesome Act sports a comparatively lighter frame than his American contemporaries, a byproduct of his European conditioning, as are his rather modest workout times, though like Bold Arrangement, he’s proven himself a very adaptable racehorse. Arriving only three days before the Gotham due to a late New York winter snowfall, Awesome Act looked right at home cornering perfectly around Aqueduct’s snug inner track. For the next two weeks he will acclimate to the environs of Churchill Downs, the final destination on this enterprising transAtlantic quest. That same journey came to a memorable conclusion for Clive Brittain, who skillfully navigated the road rarely traveled until now. “Having your horse take the lead down the stretch of the Kentucky Derby is one of life’s thrilling moments,” Brittain said. “I had one shot to get it right, and am very glad we didn’t pass the opportunity by.” h


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2010 Kentucky Derby Power R ankings Presented by HorseRacingNation.com

The Kentucky Derby Power Rankings are based on fan rankings at the HorseRacingNation.com Web site. To learn more about these rankings and every Derby prospect, click on this page to go directly to HorseRacingNation.com.

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ap pet iz e r s

Dining Out in Derby City Looking for the best places to eat in Louisville? Follow the horsemen By Lane Gold

H

orse racing brings huge crowds to Louisville, and once they’re there, they’ve got to eat. Fortunately, Derby City can accommodate them. Whatever you’re hungry for and whatever your budget, you’ll find a wide selection of places to dine after a day at the track. But with this variety, how can an out-of-towner decide where to go? Easy: Go where the horsemen go. They’re the experts. “Louisville really has some outstanding restaurants,” says trainer Dale Romans. “Some of the newest places are really good, but the older ones are my favorites.” One place that has been a favorite for horsemen and fans alike for years is Wagner’s Pharmacy at 3113 South 4th St. Located just outside the gates of Churchill Downs, the easily recognizable small white building serves only breakfast and lunch, but after a long morning on the backside, you’ll find lots of folks enjoying a late breakfast there. The menu includes a sandwich with a famous and fitting name. For $4.50, the Derby Sandwich delivers hot honeyglazed ham with melted Swiss cheese and mayonnaise. In addition, Wagner’s still has the pharmacy and package store that made it an indispensable part of Louisville for years. Another horseman’s hotspot can be found just off the Watterson Expressway (I-264). Buckhead Mountain Grill is an easy 10-minute drive from Churchill, and you stand a good chance of running into a training all-star team when you’re there. Although there are three Buckhead’s locations in Louisville, the one on 3020 Bardstown Road is where you’ll find familiar faces. A favorite of trainers, including Romans – who says he sees fellow trainers Steve Asmussen, Greg Foley and others there on a regular basis – Buckhead’s offers reasonably priced, good food for lunch and dinner. The menu is fairly extensive, but if you want a taste of Kentucky, look no further than Page 3, where you’ll find the Kentucky Hot Brown, a Louisville original created by Fred Schmitt in 1926 and served at the Brown Hotel in downtown Louisville. No meal will leave you fuller. For years, there weren’t many places to eat downtown, but over the past decade, there has been an explosion in development, and diners in Louisville

Vincenzo’s (top) is the place to go for Italian cuisine; the Bristol Bar & Grille has something to please every palatte.

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Photo courtesy robert glasnovic

the day’s races before moving on to the corner, the outdoor seating is a temptnow have a wealth of choices. ing attraction. On 4th Street, just north of the excellent Northern Italian cuisine. Another couple of longtime hot spots If you had a bad day at the betting Brown Hotel and about four miles due north of Churchill Downs, is a devel- window or just want a more affordable on Bardstown are Ramsi’s Café on the opment called 4th Street Live. There meal, head over to Bardstown Road, World and Jack Fry’s. Ramsi’s, another are 12 restaurants in the complex, in- where you’ll find restaurants to fit ev- reasonably priced restaurant with an extensive menu, is just a few blocks’ cluding familiar names like the Hard ery budget and taste. Perhaps one of the best places to get walk from the Bristol. Rock Café as well as local favorites like Jack Fry’s, which also attracts a the Maker’s Mark Bourbon House and a burger – and a likely place to find a track person – is the Bambi Bar at 2701 large number of racetrackers, especialLounge. A little farther downtown, on Main Bardstown Road. It’s a small place, ly around the Kentucky Derby, has a Street, you will find a few more res- but for the price and the unique at- higher price tag than many other Bardtaurants, including another horseman’s favorite, Proof on Main. It is located inside the award-winning 21c Museum Hotel, and it has one of the more eclectic menus in the city. From the smoked Amish chicken to the handmade tacconi, the flavors are unique, and it’s a great place to entertain horse owners when they come to the city. If you’re in the mood for Italian, Louisville has two very good places. The first, Vincenzo’s, is a downtown fixture with an upscale feel. When you’re there, don’t Jack Fry’s is among the longstanding favorite eating establishments for Louisville racing fans. be surprised if you run into a group of successful owners mosphere, you can’t beat it. The menu stown Road destinations, but a Jack’s has other offerings, but the burgers are Burger could do the trick for under $10. after a great day at the track. (A word to the wise: If you head out toThe second place, which has gotten what the Bambi Bar is known for. If you keep driving along Bardstown ward Bardstown Road, make sure you more fame for its regular visits from University of Louisville basketball Road towards downtown, you’ll find a leave extra time to find a parking spot – coach Rick Pitino, is Porcini. The res- couple of mainstays that have been the the area is active at night, and spots can taurant, located at 2730 Frankfort Ave., horsemen’s “chalk” for many years. The be hard to come by.) There are many other fine dining exis one of the best in the city and always Bristol Bar & Grille is always crowded draws a large crowd of racing people, at night and has something for every periences available in Louisville, and the above-mentioned are just some of especially on a Friday and Saturday palate. The Bristol has five locations, but the highlights. In any case, when you night (it’s closed on Sundays). When you walk in, the bar on the left the original at 1321 Bardstown Road is visit Derby City, you can be sure of side usually will have horsemen and still the best-known spot after 33 years. good meals – and the company of other fans enjoying a drink and talking about And, with the summer just around the hungry horse people. h

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ee and

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The Galt House – Has long been associated with gracious hospitality and Southern style. In the early 1800s, the original Galt House was a residence owned by Dr. W.C. Galt. In 1835, a 60-room hotel was opened as the Galt House, located across the street from the residence at the northeast corner of First and Main. Some notable visitors include Jefferson Davis, Stephen Douglas, Edwin Booth, Charles Dickens, P.T. Barnum, Tom Thumb, and U.S. presidents Lincoln, Grant, Taylor, Hayes and Buchanan.

slugg er Louisville

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Louisville SluggeR Museum – According to company legend, the first pro bat was turned by Bud for Pete Browning in 1884. Browning was a star on Louisville’s professional American Association team, the Eclipse. One spring afternoon Bud, then seventeen, witnessed Browning break his favorite bat. Bud offered to make a bat for his hero and Browning accepted. According to the story, after the young wood shop apprentice lathed a quality stick from white ash, Browning used it to get three hits in his next game. One of Browning’s nicknames was, “The Louisville Slugger.” Kentucky Derby Festival – Produced annually since 1956, the Derby Festival has become a whirlwind

April 17, 2010

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Morning workouts

Morning Workouts – Everyone agrees the biggest show in town is the Derby. But in the days leading up to the main event, the backside of Churchill Downs is home to many activities. Breakfast at the Downs has turned into its own Derby gathering. Mint Julep Recipe – The drink of choice during Derby week is a Mint Julep. Here is how you make one: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/ Early-Times-Mint-Julep-Recipe/Detail.aspx Kentucky Derby Website – If you are going to make the trek to Lousiville, the new website at www.kentuckyderby.com is a great place for start as you plan your trip to the Louisville area and Churchill Downs for the Derby. And If You Can’t Come – Why not host your own Kentucky Derby Party? Here is a great website to help you plan your own party: www.simurl.com/derbyparty


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Japanese triumph Victoire Pisa and jockey Yasunari Iwata romped to victory in the Satsuki Sho at Nakayama Racecourse in Funabashi, Japan. The Satsuki Sho is the first leg of the Japanese Triple Crown.

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Photo: kate hunter/eclipse sportswire

f u ll stri d e


l inea ge

For the love of the sport

Son of legendary trainer Bill Mott finds horse racing is in his blood

M By Riley Mott

Riley Mott has been around horses since he was a small child. He plans to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a trainer.

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April 17, 2010

Photos courtesy Riley mott

y first memory of horse racing is when I was about 5 years old in Saratoga. My dad was training his horses at the old Green Tree Stables, which is now owned by Darley. It has its own private track, with two nice big barns. It was a great place to be stabled. I remember my dad getting me a gray pony to ride named Peaches and Cream. He would put me up in the saddle and pony me around the barn and the track. I remember my dad even bringing me to the main track one day. I

recall being really nervous at the time. Looking back at pictures of it now, it’s pretty funny because I was so small that my feet could barely reach the stirrups, and I had a big old helmet on my little head. I remember sitting by the rail while the horses were training and loving the rhythmic sound of their breathing, and their feet hitting the ground as they galloped past. They are such huge animals, and I was so small – so it was pretty fascinating. It would get me really excited and made me want to run around all over the place. (Needless to say, I was a pretty hyper kid.) There are too many memories of horse racing for me to pick a favorite. One contender would be when we had a real nice Handicap horse a few years ago named Go Between. He was a Point Given homebred colt for Peter Vegso, one of my dad’s longtime owners whom we have had a lot of success for. Early on, he was an average horse, but as he got older he took his game to another level. In his five-year-old season he won the Sunshine Millions Classic at Santa Anita. I think at that point we knew he would be a serious horse in the Handicap division. He finished second in both the Big Cap and Hollywood Gold Cup in California. He was running great in every race but kept falling short of that big Grade 1 win. We finally ran him in the Pacific Classic later in the summer. It had been a pretty mediocre Saratoga meeting compared to the meet my dad had the previous summer, so running well in this race would make up for a lot of those seconds and thirds we had been getting at Saratoga. We had Garrett Gomez riding him back, and I remember he got in a real nice spot going into the first turn and down the backside. It looked like he was traveling great, so I knew that he was going to have a real nice shot to win if he ran back to his previous races in California. In the final turn he was forced to go four or five wide, but he was still making up a lot of ground from mid-pack. In the stretch he hooked up with Well Armed, the eventual Dubai World Cup winner, and wore him down to win by a neck. I don’t remember ever being so excited in my life. It was really special to be with my mom and dad watching the race and to see this hard-knocking horse win one of the premier races in the country. We were all so proud of him. He was definitely a barn favorite, and he is greatly missed.


Riley Mott with his father, Hall of Fame Trainer Bill Mott.

I have always liked racing. It has always been a part of my life, and it’s what puts groceries on the table, so I naturally liked it to begin with. I would go to the barn in the summers when I was really young and fill up water buckets, rake and do other odd jobs. What actually got me hooked on racing to the point where I loved it was when my dad and I took a trip to Dubai in 2002 to run our horse Del Mar Show in the Dubai Duty Free. I was 10 at the time. Dubai is an amazing place, and the track at the time, Nad Al Sheba, was just great. Of course they have no betting over there, so what attracts the people to the races is the sheer love of the sport. It was amazing to see the excitement of the people watching the races there. There is such a high energy level – which I love – and it rubbed off on me, which made me very engaged in the races. From then on I followed all of my dad’s horses religiously and kept up with everything that was going on in the racing world. It is pretty funny how it happened – it was like one day I was interested in horse racing, and the next day I couldn’t get my nose out of a Racing Form. I guess it’s in my DNA to love it. Racing was definitely something that was always there. I have an older brother and a little sister, and our lives were based around the horses. All through elementary and middle school we would spend our falls in Long Island for the Belmont Fall meet, our winters down south in Florida for Gulfstream, come back to Long Island for the Belmont Spring meet, and finally spend our summers upstate in Saratoga. We were always moving around on account of the horses. I never minded it, though. I loved every place that we would migrate to, and I think it taught me how to cope with new surroundings and how to meet people easier. My dad never tried to keep horses and family separate. My brother, Brady, and I started going to work at

the barn at a very young age, and my dad encouraged that. It taught us discipline and responsibility, waking up early in the morning and getting our chores done at the barn. As I got older my responsibilities at the barn grew, and I have learned a lot just by being there and watching my dad, as well as learning from our assistants, foremen and grooms. You must keep an open mind and always be willing to learn something new. Listening to the advice people give you can only help. Racing will definitely play a part in my future – in fact, it already has. I am attending the University of Kentucky next year in Lexington, and a big reason why I opted to go there is its location. It is obviously the horse capital of the United States, with an endless number of farms – and of course Keeneland. I want to be surrounded by horses, and I think the best way to do that is to be in Kentucky. I plan on working for my dad at Keeneland in the fall and the spring, and hopefully working at a farm somewhere during the winter. Ultimately, I want to be a trainer myself. Since I began to love the horses, I have known deep down that training is what I want to do. In a perfect world, after college I would love to work my way up the ladder of my dad’s system and become his assistant. I know I have learned so much from him already, and there is plenty more for me to learn. If everything goes according to plan, I would love to open up a stable of my own someday. It is something I dream about, and think I am capable of doing because I am surrounded by great horsemen and horsewomen who can give me the opportunity to learn from them and hopefully one day be successful as a trainer. My dad has told me that he won’t encourage me to be a trainer, but at the same time he won’t discourage me. It’s nice because I know I have his and my family’s support either way, no matter what I end up doing. h

STRIDE MAGAZINE

April 17, 2010

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