TOPS Magazine May 2012

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LEXINGTON’S MOST READ MAGAZINE TOPSINLEX L e x i n g t o n ’s M o s t R e a d M a g a z i n e

Priceless | May 2012


May 2012 vol. 6 no. 5

Downtown Dreams Tom Hammond | Keeneland Recap | Downtown Condo

Volume 6, No. 5


WHO’S WHO 17 Top Marketing Group

465 East High Street, Suite 201 Lexington, KY 40507-1938 859.543.TOPS (8677) 859.514.1621 (fax) |

Keith Yarber

President / Publisher

Kristen Oakley Associate Publisher, TOPS Magazine Sr. Account Manager Melissa Meatyard


Editor, TOPS Magazine Magazine Design & Layout

Danielle Pope

Associate Publisher, LexScene Account Manager

TOP EVENTS 18 Step Out Walk to Stop Diabetes Team Captain Luncheon 20 Good Shepherd Golf Tournament 22 UK Horse Racing Club Presents Inside Horse Racing 24 Keeneland Opening Day 26 Farish Theater Grand Opening 28 Toyota Bluegrass Stakes Day & Breakfast with the Works 30 Horses & Hope Pink Day 106 Bluegrass Conservancy Celebration & Auction 108 TOPS April Preview Party 110 NAWBO Winner’s Circle 112 Home & Garden Show 114 Burning Stick Foundation, Stokes V 116 Cardinal Hill Telethon 118 American Heart Association Heart Walk 48 Meet the Media: Tom Hammond 130 TOP Shots

Teri Turner

Account Manager


Buffy Lawson

Account Manager

Katherine Tierney

Account Manager

Amanda Harper

Editor, LexScene Magazine Head Writer, TOPS Magazine Contributing Writers Kristin Espeland Gourlay, Blake Hannon, Amanda Harper, Drew Johnson, Michele Landers, Buffy Lawson, Michelle Rauch, Jen Roytz, Fran Taylor, Sue Ann Truitt


14 60 63 64 67 68

Interns Kelly Adams

Have an event you would like covered? Photo questions? Contact

To Advertise Your Business,

call 543-8677

RACING RECAP SPECIAL SECTION 32 Keeneland Wrap-up 39 Couture Derby Hat Auction Benefitting Old Friends Retired Racehorses 42 Community Spotlight: Old Friends 56 Cats Win It All! 71 New Businesses 96 TOPS Tour of Homes: Downtown Living 121 Wedding Party Responsibilities 122 WOW Wedding: Ashley & Andrew Pennington 129 Wedding Announcements


Cover Photo by Phillips Mitchell Photography Contributing Photographers Alex Orlov Paul Atkinson Shaun Ring David Dejardins Dr. Michael Huang

Out & About


Community Calendar Dining Out: Rossi’s Restaurant Parenting: Doing the Graduation Happy Dance Entertaining: Throwing a Graduation Party Gardening: Impossible to Kill Plants Relationships: Heather B. Melons

COMMUNITY SPECIAL SECTION 73 Pets: Community Service with your Pets 74 Community Gardens 80 Downtown Lexington’s Revitalization


What To Do

TOP HAPPENINGS Our Topparazzi photographers are everywhere! Please check our website for updated event information and please be aware of the changing nature of events.

Thursday, May 3rd The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and Other Tales 7PM Lexington Opera House 2012 Kentucky Bluegrass Wine Auction & Derby Gala 6PM Donamire Farm Thursday Night Live: Prefab Rehab 4:30PM-7:30PM Cheapside Park Taste of Derby 7PM Louisville Executive Aviation Hangar at Bowman Field

Friday, May 4th The Links, Incorporated Derby Eve Gala 6:30PM Embassy Suites Lexington Martinis on the Lawn 3:30PM Keeneland Oaks Day Keeneland Kentucky Oaks Churchill Downs

Saturday, May 5th Derby Day Stakes at Coldstream 8:30AM Embassy Suites at Coldstream


Kentucky Derby 138 Churchill Downs

Sunday, May 6th

Friday, May 11th

Brunch & Bibelots 11AM-2PM Headley-Whitney Museum

An Evening with Joe Bonamassa 8PM Rupp Arena

UK Commencement 9AM Rupp Arena

Local Female Hero Night 7PM-10PM Tuska House

Old Friends Homecoming 4PM 1841 Paynes Depot Rd, Georgetown

Monday, May 7th Portland Cello Project 7:30PM Norton Center

Tuesday, May 8th Big Band & Jazz 7PM-8:30PM Moondance at Midnight Pass VIPS Annual Golf Outing 11AM-5PM Keene Run Golf Course

Wednesday, May 9th Creative Intelligence Lecture Series 4PM Tranylvania University

Thursday, May 10th

Derby Bash Keeneland

Thursday Night Live: The Johnson Brothers 4:30PM-7:30PM Cheapside Park

Cinco de Mayo Celebration Mi Pequena Hacienda

Golden Spike “Back to the River” Day 2PM Bluegrass Railroad Museum

Lexington Legends Baseball 7PM Whitaker Bank Ballpark

Lexington Singers: The Planets 7:30PM Singletary Center Lexington Legends Baseball 7PM Whitaker Bank Ballpark

Saturday, May 12th Kentucky Magic Dinner Theater 6PM deSha’s Dancing with the Lexington Stars 6:30PM-12AM Griffin Gate Marriott Resort & Spa Decorator’s Showcase 2012 Highland Hall Lexington Humane Society’s Mutt Strut 9AM Keeneland Barn 2 Mayfest 10AM-6PM Gratz Park Lexington Legends Baseball 7PM Whitaker Bank Ballpark

Sunday, May 13th Mayfest 11AM-5PM Gratz Park

What To Do

Lexington Legends Baseball 1:30PM Whitaker Bank Ballpark

Tuesday, May 15th Big Band & Jazz 7PM-8:30PM Moondance at Midnight Pass

Wednesday, May 16th Food for Thought 12PM Thomas D Clark Center for Kentucky History Creative Intelligence Lecture Series 4:30PM Transylvania University

Thursday, May 17th Education Builds Hope Luncheon 12:15PM The Carrick House Thursday Night Live: Sunday Best 4:30PM-7:30PM Cheapside Park

Friday, May 18th Taste of the Bluegrass 7PM-11PM Keeneland Keene Barn Alzheimer’s Association Making Memories 2012 7PM-10PM The Carrick House Duke Ellington Jazz Series 8PM-10PM The Lyric Theatre Fountain Films: Pretty in Pink DUSK Triangle Park B-29 Superfortress Tour Stop 9AM-5PM Aviation Museum of Kentucky

Saturday, May 19th Woodford Wag 7:30AM Woodford County Park

Kentucky Sheep & Fiber Festival 9AM-7:30PM Masterson Station Park Founder’s Day Celebration McConnell Springs Kentucky Wine & Vine Fest 12PM-7PM Nicholasville Lexington Singers: Aquarius 8PM Lexington Opera House Ragnoli: A Splash of Colors 7:30PM Downtown Arts Center Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Great Strides Walk 9AM Whitaker Bank Ballpark Armed Forces Motorcycle Poker Run 12PM Man O’War Harley Davidson Girls on the Run 9:30PM Commonwealth Stadium

Sunday, May 20th High Hope Steeplechase 11AM-6:30PM Kentucky Horse Park Lexington Singers: Aquarius 3PM Lexington Opera House

Monday, May 21st Lexington Legends Baseball 7PM Whitaker Bank Ballpark

Tuesday, May 22nd

Wednesday, May 23rd Lexington Legends Baseball 7PM Whitaker Bank Ballpark

Thursday, May 24th Thursday Night Live: The Swells 4:30PM-7:30PM Cheapside Park

Saturday, May 26th Kentucky Dachshund Derby 10AM-9PM Masterson Station Park Singin’ on the Railroad 2PM Bluegrass Railroad Museum

Memorial Day Monday, May 28th Lexington Legends Baseball 7PM Whitaker Bank Ballpark

Tuesday, May 29th Big Band & Jazz 7PM-8:30PM Moondance at Midnight Pass Lexington Legends Baseball 7PM Whitaker Bank Ballpark

Wednesday, May 30th Lexington Legends Baseball 7PM Whitaker Bank Ballpark

Thursday, May 31st

Big Band & Jazz 7PM-8:30PM Moondance at Midnight Pass

Thursday Night Live: Jordan English 4:30PM-7:30PM Cheapside Park

Lexington Legends Baseball 7PM Whitaker Bank Ballpark

Lexington Legends Baseball 7PM Whitaker Bank Ballpark


Out & About The Legends are ready for a great season!

Peggy Trafton, Nell Main and Mac Wall at the TOPS April Preview Party

Sergio Budar and son, Sergio, at the Rincon Mexicano Gift Shop Open House

Ruth Ann Childers at the Central Baptist Hospital Men’s Health Event

JP Miller, Bart Shockley and Larry Chiles at the Mazda CX-5 Launch Party

Julie Russell and Kelly Tudor at the Women Leading Kentucky Roundtable Luncheon


Top Events

Angela Carlos and Stewart Perry

Alisha DeMoss and Lindsey DeMoss

Susan Kennedy Hanna and Paula Gearheart

Logan Nicole Gregory and Deata Gregory

Geoffrey Blair and Louanne Cooper

Tiffany Quisenberry and Jerry G. Hale

Nicole Johnson and Michael Swearingen

Lisa Edwards and Rusty Wade

Step Out Walk to Stop Diabetes Team Captain’s Luncheon The American Diabetes Association hosted the Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes Team Captain Kick-off Luncheon on Wednesday, March 21, at Keeneland. Over 100 people were in attendance to listen to the inspirational words from former Miss America 1999 and International Diabetes Advocate, Nicole Johnson. The Step Out: Walk will be held on Saturday, June 2, at Keeneland. Photos by Alex Orlov



Top Events

Penny Bass, Katie Williamson and Melanie Miller

Hayden Phillips

Chip Huffman

The Winning Team! Rob Brown, Chip Huffman, Dave Varns and Ted Toponak

Jay Rutherford, Patrick Cashman, Michael Sweeney and Scott Carling

Judy and Jerry Seebach

Good Shepherd Day School Golf Tournament Friends and family of Good Shepherd Day School enjoyed an afternoon of golf at Houston Oaks Golf Club for the First Annual GSDS Golf Tournament. The fundraiser benefitted the Good Shepherd Day School Scholarship and Financial Assistance Program. The Day School is an outreach ministry of the Church of the Good Shepherd Episcopal church and has been a part of the Lexington community for over 50 years. Photos by David Desjardins



Top Events

Chris McCarron

Katie Aydelotte and Caroline Ecklin

Michelle & Mike Penna

Natalie Heitz

Michael Blowen

LuAnn Burton and Jean Cruguet

Anna Locklair, Nikki Meyers, Kira Noorwijk and Kim Hodges

Janet Peck, Mary Ann Lee, Carol Heitz and Margarite Klain

UK Horse Racing Club Presents Inside Horse Racing

The University of Kentucky’s Horse Racing Club held their annual “Inside Horse Racing” event on April 17, 2012 at Fasig Tipton Sales Pavilion. This year’s Triple Crown theme was used throughout the evening in the silent auction and the panel guests. The 4 member panel included: Darley’s Jimmy Bell, Triple Crown Winning Jockey Jean Cruguet, Team Valor’s Barry Irwin, and Preakness winning trainer Dale Romans. The silent auction and admission proceeds benefitted the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund. Photos by Alex Orlov


Top Events

Keeneland Spring Meet Opening Day Opening Day of Keeneland’s 2012 Spring Meet was one for the books. With over 23,000 racing fans in attandance, Lexington’s favorite month of the year went off with a bang. The Keeneland Spring Meet has become a tradition for many Lexington families, as racing fans as little as a few months came out to see their first race. Other events on Opening Day included College Scholarship Day, where college students from around the areas received free admission, prizes and the chance to enter to win $10,000 in scholarships. Photos by Paul Atkinson


Top Events

Larry & Debbie Jones

Janet Scott

Susie Lawrence and Janet Scott

Bill Watts, Tim Sineath and Angel Levas

Ralph Coldiron, William Farish, Ann Hammond and Farra Alford

Farish Theater Grand Opening

Sue Ann Truitt, Bill Savage and Meg Jewett

On Friday, March 23rd, the Lexington Public Library dedicated the W. Paul and Lucille Caudill Little Rotunda and the William Stamps Farish Fund Theater. Donors who contributed at the $5,000+ level to the renovation project were invited to a cocktail reception and ribbon cutting ceremony which began at 6 p.m. The Library’s Executive Director, Ann Hammond, officiated and the ribbon was cut by William S. Farish, Jr. with the assistance of Dolores Roberson and Kathy Milby, W. Paul and Lucille Caudill Little Foundation Board Members. Photos by David Desjardins



Top Events

Toyota Blue Grass Stakes Day Breakfast With the Works Saturday morning before the big race, guests enjoyed a delicious breakfast while listening to trackside commentary about the day’s race. Guests were also able to watch the world-famous Thoroughbreds as they worked out in preparation for the big Bluegrass Stakes. The breakfast also included childrens activities and a live demonstration in the paddock. Photos by Alex Orlov


Top Events

Horses & Hope Pink Day On Sunday, April 15, Keeneland hosted Pink Day in conjunction with First Lady Jane Beshear’s Horses and Hope Program. The North Terrace was all things pink for the day with live music, a lady’s only handicapping contest, prize drawings and special pink day activities. Attendees donned their pink and celebrated with survivors and supporters of breast cancer awareness. keeneland .com Photos by Alex Orlov



What’s New

IT’S SPRINGTIME IN THE BLUEGRASS by Jen Roytz Photos courtesy of Keeneland


What’s New and the Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center, a facility at the Kentucky Horse Park specializing in the retraining and adoption of ex-racehorses. “And our new Keeneland Kids Club, and mascot Buckles, have been a huge hit,” explained Balog. This spring Keeneland served as the training ground for many of this year’s top Kentucky Derby and Oaks contenders, as horses like 2011 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner, Hansen, and early Kentucky Derby future wager favorite, Union Rags, were on site to prepare for a likely start in the Kentucky Derby.


ach May, all eyes are set on Louisville for the lead-up and celebration of the “Fastest Two Minutes in Sports” on the first Saturday of the month. But for Lexington, April is our time to shine when it comes to fast horses, fabulous fashion and endless opportunities to live it up, whatever your style may be.

Hansen and last fall’s Breeders’ Futurity winner, Dullahan, went head-to-head in the meet’s feature race and a key Kentucky Derby prep race, the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes, with Dullahan coming from behind to run down Hansen in the final strides to punch his ticket to the Kentucky Derby.

There are only a few places left in the country where horseracing is truly celebrated with many of the traditions and pomp of an earlier era. At historic Keeneland Race Course, a day is much less about hoping to come out on top after an afternoon of wagering. It’s the food, the atmosphere, and the countless ways to experience the Bluegrass’s signature tradition that brings people from near and far to enjoy a day at the races. With the mild weather we enjoyed in Lexington this spring, race goers young and old were seen donning everything from shorts and flip-flops to seersuckers and sun dresses. The weather also provided the perfect opportunity for families to come out and enjoy all that Keeneland has to offer, in addition to some of the best racing in the country. “For many people, the April meeting signals that spring has arrived in Kentucky, explained Keeneland Director of Communications, Julie Balog. “It is a unique combination that is just as much a sporting event as it is a social event. It’s a chance to showcase our signature industry and be proud of our roots.” As has become a tradition during every Keeneland meet, each Saturday morning, families came out for “Breakfast with the Works,” and enjoyed a traditional Southern breakfast and an array of children’s activities while watching and learning about the many beautiful Thoroughbreds stabled at Keeneland as they got their morning exercise out on the main track. After breakfast, families were invited down to the paddock area for live demonstrations and discussions by local equestrians and industry experts, such as Old Friends, a retirement farm for pensioned Thoroughbreds,

Photo by Alex Orlov


What’s New

For those who like to lay down a wager or two, there were ample opportunities to bank some major green. The Daily Racing Form sponsored several handicapping contests in which horseplayers could place a mythical $2 bet on a series of races with a guaranteed pool of $2,500. For those looking to hone their handicapping skills, Keeneland offered free handicapping seminars on Saturdays just prior to the day’s first race. Internationally renowned for its elegant and eclectic array of equestrian-themed merchandise, the Keeneland Gift Shop is literally a “must stop shop”’ for any race-goer, whether it’s their first or hundred and first time at the track. For those looking for that perfect Derby hat, this spring, Keeneland’s Gift Shop hosted several trunk shows featuring an exquisite array of hats, jewelry, apparel and other merchandise by designers such as Satya, Christine A. Moore Millinery, and Dorfman Hat. A day at Keeneland is typically not without its share of celebrity sightings. Well-known University of Kentucky quarterback Tim Couch was on hand, along with Maker’s Mark chief operating officer Rob Samuels and Keeneland president and CEO Nick Nicholson, to sign the annual Maker’s Mark commemorative limited edition bottles of bourbon. The celebrity sightings didn’t end there. “Actor David Keith, St. Louis Cardinals announcer Mike Shannon, and country singers T.G. Shepard and William Lee Golden were among some of our celebrity guests,” said Balog. “The cast from ‘Midtown Men’ who also starred on Broadway in The Tony Award winning ‘Jersey Boys’ sang the national anthem on closing day.” For those in Lexington looking for the perfect Oaks and Derby experience without making the drive to Louisville, Keeneland was THE place to be to take in the action and the atmosphere. Keeneland’s Oaks Day celebration, dubbed “Martinis on the Lawn,” provided the perfect opportunity for fans to sip on cocktails in the clubhouse or enjoy a picnic in the paddock as they cheered on the fillies as they made their run for the lilies. The following day was Keeneland’s annual Derby Bash, in which guests enjoyed a Kentucky-themed buffet, live music, and, of course, mint juleps as


they cheered on the Kentucky Derby contenders from either the Keeneland Entertainment Center or open-air Keene Barn. The 2012 Keeneland spring meet also saw the retirement announcement of the racetrack and sales company’s sixth president, Nick Nicholson after thirteen years of leadership. “Nick Nicholson has done a tremendous job leading us these last 13 years,” said Balog. “He was especially good at reaching out to the public and making Keeneland relevant and interesting to all age groups and all interest levels. We are in great hands, however, with Bill Thomason and look forward to his leadership in the coming years.” While Lexington and the surrounding area is world-renowned as the Horse Capital of the World, it’s easy for some to forget about all of the opportunities to experience our state’s signature industry that are available nowhere else in the world other than in our own back yard. Whether it’s a morning stroll around the grounds and breakfast during morning training hours, some retail therapy at the gift shop, people-watching under a shady tree near the parklike paddock, or just simply allowing some of the most majestic and athletic horses in the world take your breath away as they thunder down the stretch, time spent at Keeneland Racecourse is time well spent.

What’s New


Triple Crown


Triple Crown


What’s New

How a Cape Cod Hat Maker Helps Horses Retire in Style

by Kristin Espeland Gourlay

“Horses were my first passion as a little girl. I just ate, drank, and slept them.” That’s how Sally Faith Steinmann, a Cape Cod-based milliner, remembers her childhood. That young girl couldn’t have known she would later turn her passion for horses into a career and a cause. She simply knew she loved watching the Kentucky Derby on television with her family, and that her first favorite horse was Hall of Famer Majestic Prince, who came thrillingly close to being the first to win the Triple Crown in decades. “And then I saw what happened to Ruffian,” Steinmann remembers. Ruffian was a beautiful black filly, a superstar of the racetrack, who famously broke down during a 1975 match race. She had to be euthanized on the track in front of thousands of fans, a gruesome foreshadowing of Eight Belles’ more recent Derby tragedy. “I guess it was kind of an awakening,” Steinmann recalls of watching the end of Ruffian’s promising career, the moment she realized Thoroughbred racehorses didn’t always ride into the sunset after a lifetime of glorious wins. Sometimes they met less than glorious ends. Steinmann went on to study at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. After graduating in Psychology and Women’s Studies with honors, she considered going into documentary filmmaking and graduate school. But it was around this time that Steinmann’s mother happened to hand her a pattern for making a felted hat. That hat led to more, and soon Steinmann was hooked on hat-making. She took her creations to a shop in Chatham on Cape Cod. They sold like hotcakes. And so the aspiring documentarian shelved graduate school and hung out a milliner’s shingle instead, eventually launching her own design business, Maggie Mae Designs® (

Creating hats for chic ladies to wear for the Kentucky Derby became one of her specialties. And then in 2006, Steinmann remembers, Barbaro happened. It was another tragic breakdown on the racetrack, this time of a beloved Derby winner. She decided to channel her grief. “I created a hat to honor him,” she says. “I called it ‘Run for the Roses.’” Hats for Horses Soon, Steinmann was wondering how else she could draw attention to the plight of less fortunate Thoroughbreds. “I had also been hearing a lot about these aftercare programs,” Steinmann says, referring to charities that adopt retired racehorses. “I was feeling some hope that there were some people who were genuinely interested in these athletes.” Acting on that hope, she created a website called “Hats and Horses: A Lifelong Love Affair” ( htm) to showcase various horse welfare organizations around the country. It wasn’t long before Foxwoods Casino contacted her to create a hat in memory of Derby runner-up Eight Belles. Still, Steinmann wanted to do more to honor the animals that had captured her imagination since childhood. A horse welfare advocate referred her to Old Friends, the thoroughbred retirement farm in Georgetown, Ky (for more on Old Friends, read our Community Spotlight starting on page 42). Among Old Friends’ distinguished residents, Steinmann found the perfect fit for her passions: hats and horses. To benefit the facility, she created the “Hats Off for Horses: The Road to the Derby” auction. Now in its third year, the program has raised more than $12,000.


What’s New

Each Hat Inspired by a Horse For each of the six months prior to the Kentucky Derby, Steinmann creates one original hat, inspired by a particular Old Friends resident. During the first 10 days of the month, anyone interested in bidding on the hat can visit or and follow links to Old Friends’ eBay auction site. But long before any of Steinmann’s bold, glamorous hats go up for auction, the designer begins her careful research, digging in to each horse’s character for details she might incorporate into its hat. One detail will always make the cut: actual strands from the horse’s mane or tail.


“Once I know the horse’s color,” Steinmann says, she likes to watch footage from some of his races, to get a sense for how he moved. She talks to the people who work with the horse day to day. She finds the exact colors of the racing silks. She studies photographs of the animal. “I feel like a detective at first when I get started,” Steinmann says. And then, among the bolts of fabric and tulle and trimmings in her studio, Steinmann finds the materials that, to her, express the spirit of her hat’s subject.


Steinmann spends the rest of the year making hats not only for Derby but for weddings and other events for a growing clientele. But she says it’s her work on behalf of Old Friends that always reinvigorates her curiosity, as well as her compassion.


“Let’s just say that the little girl who loved horses is jumping up and down all the time,” she says. “I feel like they’re running through all my designs now, all my hats.” Prized

Fortunate Prospect


Arson Squad


What’s New

Former Champions Find a Home at Old Friends by Kristin Espeland Gourlay

Some retired athletes find second careers in broadcasting or coaching. Others bow out of the game, fortune in hand, and live out the rest of their days in comfort. The rest can always fall back on some retirement savings, or at least a social security check. Not so if you’re a four-legged athlete. Living History “These horses earned $90 million dollars on the race track, but they get no social security,” says Michael Blowen, President and founder of Old Friends, a retirement facility for Thoroughbred stallions. A former film critic for The Boston Globe, Blowen is referring to the nearly 60 ex-racehorses who graze and gallop on the farm he bought after leaving the newspaper business. For some of these former world-class athletes, it’s the last stop before an ignominious end. Take Afternoon Deelites, a Thoroughbred previously owned by Burt Bacharach. After winning more than a million dollars on the track, A.D. went on to earn even more breeding (or “standing stud”), fathering the likes of Popcorn Deelites—who never won a stakes race but starred as “Seabiscuit” in the eponymous movie. But stallions can’t stand stud forever, and they’re expensive to care for, needing their own paddocks and lots of space. At that point, an investment like Afternoon Deelites loses value. Horses with wealthy owners might be able to keep them, but many can’t afford to. Fortunately for Afternoon Deelites, Bacharach and his ex-wife, actress Angie Dickinson, made substantial contributions to his elder care.


“At some of these ‘lower’ [race]tracks,” says Blowen, “if they can’t make money, they’re doomed.” But where some see a liability, Blowen sees living history, a champion who deserves a little dignity in his final years. In 2003, he began adopting these older athletes with nowhere else to go, funding their care with donations and his own contributions. That was right after news of Ferdinand, the 1986 Kentucky Derby winner who ended up in a slaughterhouse in Japan in 2002, broke. It deepened Blowen’s commitment to making Old Friends a beacon for at-risk ex-racehorses. Now, his is the only Thoroughbred retirement facility that specializes in accepting stallions. And he’s made it a priority to bring home American-bred horses at risk overseas.

Afternoon Deelites wants a smooch

What’s New

Blowen takes me on a tour of Old Friends in a golf cart, careening down the muddy tracks between lush green paddocks. Every few yards, he stops to call out to one of his residents. Most seem to know him, too, and trot up to the fence to return the greeting. “They run the place,” he says about the horses. “They really do.” On this rainy afternoon in mid-March, a tour group is roaming the farm. (Old Friends is open to the public and welcomes groups that make reservations.) This group has gathered around Creator, a magnificent stallion Blowen says once sold for $2 million dollars. Blowen practically leaps out of the golf cart to tell the horse’s story. “Creator was about 24 [years old] when he stopped breeding,” he tells the group, whose members hail from as far away as Alaska. “You miss the women?” one of them asks, scratching Creator under the chin. Blowen tells them that despite the absence of equine female companions, the human variety still favor him. Blowen’s wife Diane White, also a former columnist for the The Boston Globe, buys only brand name gingersnaps and specialty pears from Harry and David for Creator. If

Michael Blowen

you’re going to be a retired racehorse, this is where you want to end up. If you’re going to be a retired film critic, this isn’t a bad choice, either. Blowen fell in love with Thoroughbreds and the sport while living near Boston. “I used to have racehorses up at Suffolk Downs,” says Blowen. Though he never made a


Visitors Welcome

Old Friends Visitor Center



What’s New mint, he got hooked on horses, spending his time with jockeys and owners. And when the opportunity arose to retire from the Globe, Blowen and his wife left the densely packed academic hub of Cambridge for the rolling green hills of Kentucky. He worked for the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation in Lexington before buying Dream Chase Farm in Georgetown, Ky., now known as Old Friends. High Stakes Rescues

Bowen giving a tour at Old Friends

Today, Old Friends is home to dozens of pensioned stallions with superstar lineages, their names on shiny gold plaques tacked to the paddock fences. Blowen drives by I’m Charismatic, whose father won the Derby. Nearby grazes Ferdinand’s son, Bull in the Heather, a white Thoroughbred who won the Florida Derby and ran in the Kentucky Derby. Secretariat’s best living son, Tinner’s Way, also lives here.


Creator shows off his pasture

And Fraise, another high-stakes winner, is buried here. He spent his last few months at Old Friends after a long breeding career in Japan. Blowen says he’s since brought five horses who were no longer able to breed home from Japan. At approximately $25,000 a horse, it’s an expensive proposition. But one of Fraise’s original owners heard about the horse’s plight and paid for his return. Some original owners want nothing to do with horses they’ve long since sold. But, Blowen says, “There are people in this horse racing business who are so nice.” Once a horse finds its way to Old Friends, Blowen must still rely on the generosity of donors and volunteers to help with upkeep. Feed bills alone can top $3200 dollars a week. That’s why he spends time trying to persuade people in the industry that it makes sense to create a kind of pension fund for its retired athletes. 401(k)s for Horses Old Friends Cemetery

“What we’ve been working on is getting sustained funding from racing – from



What’s New tracks, breeders,” says Blowen. We need, he says, a social security plan for horses. “If you don’t have them, what do you have at Keeneland? A bunch of short people running around!” Blowen is quick to set joking aside, saying he loves jockeys. “If we got $25 dollars for every horse that sold for more than $1000 dollars at Keeneland,” says Blowen, “that’s thousands and thousands of dollars. You have to interest people about these horses when [they’re still] excited about them,” he continues, meaning when they’re selling at auction. Collecting a small fee per horse then would add up, potentially helping every Thoroughbred retire with dignity. Blowen is on Kentucky’s Equine Health and Welfare Council, which he calls a great group of smart people. He meets with horse industry officials, writes letters and emails. And he says the reception to his ideas for caring for retired racehorses has been mixed. “The people for whom this sport is about money will never be interested,” Blowen reflects. “But for those who understand what a fantastic sport this is, those are the ones who will commit to this vision.” Committed Volunteers A long list of donors and volunteers have already committed to Blowen’s vision. Between hops out of the golf cart to chuck a horse under the chin, Blowen’s cell phone seems to ring constantly with fans and helpers. Today, he has high praise for one, T. Douglas Byars, DVM, a Georgetown-based equine veterinarian Blowen says is “the greatest vet in the history of the freakin’ world.”

Since Blowen called Byars up out of the blue for advice, the renowned internist has been providing pro bono medical services. “With these old horses,” Blowen says, “you need somebody that’s been around.” In addition to veterinary services, Old Friends receives donated feed, and the nonprofit’s web site maintains a wish list of other items Blowen says would help. As the storm closes in, we race back to the barn, where Blowen introduces Nick Newman, a Lexington firefighter, and his brother, Tim, a trainer. Together, they run a Bluegrass tour company called Thoroughbred Heritage Tours ( But even when the Newman brothers aren’t working, they stop by to help out. “My car always kind of ends up here,” says Nick. For the Newman brothers, horses are in the blood. Their grandfather was a trainer, and they grew up among equine champions. When they learned about Old Friends and the access volunteers and visitors have to the horses, Nick says they had to get involved. “The big farms around here,” says Nick, “I always liken it to people who collect action figures. They keep them under wraps, away from the public.” At Old Friends, he says, “It’s like ripping into an action figure. If you’re a fan, these horses are amazing.” Blowen hopes that kind of awe will continue to draw more fans and supporters to the cause. It’s certainly what drew him.

Visit Old Friends, Support their Work, Learn More On the web: Tours: Call 502.863.1775to make a reservation. Tours depart from the visitor center, at 1841 Paynes Depot Rd., Georgetown, Ky. How to help: • Donate an item on Old Friends’ wish list (such as rice bran oil or a copy machine). • Sponsor a retiree ($100), a paddock ($5000), run in shed, waterer ($1000), or stall ($2000). • Shop in the Old Friends online store. • Bid on a hat in the annual online Derby hat auction, “Hats off to Horses: The Road to the Derby,” featuring hats by Maggie Mae Designs. (See our story on page 39.) View a portfolio of past hats and the horses that inspired them at



Who’s Who


by Michelle Rauch Photos courtesy of Tom Hammond, NBC Universal and Dr. Michael Huang 48

Who’s Who


sk Ask Tom Hammond why he pursued a career in television and he will tell you he didn’t. “In high school I was pretty shy,” Hammond says. The very public career of broadcasting was farthest from his mind. Growing up in Lexington, it was the lure of the thoroughbred industry he found irresistible. He worked on horse farms during summer breaks in high school. In college, he worked on race tracks. It was great experience since he was pursuing his bachelor’s degree at the University of Kentucky focusing on equine genetics. Working with horses seemed like a natural fit. His grandfather, Thomas Cooper, was the former dean of UK’s college of agriculture. After Hammond earned his bachelor’s degree he had trouble finding a good job in the thoroughbred industry. “Out of desperation I went to graduate school,” Hammond says. During that time he started doing pedigree work for horseman, Tom Gentry. It was through Gentry’s connections Hammond got the opportunity to call race results on WVLK in 1968. That was a turning point.

the inaugural Breeders Cup Race with Dick Enberg on NBC. The broadcast was such a success, Hammond received a long term contract with NBC, but his partnership was not limited to horse racing as he would soon find out. RACING VERSUS SKATING? Hammond may be equally known for his coverage of figure skating as he is for horse racing. When he was approached to cover skating he didn’t have any interest in it and was skeptical on top of that, telling NBC executives, “You understand I don’t know a thing about this.” He feared he may just make a fool of himself as he was in the international spotlight covering the skating world championship in Munich in 1991. One powerful jump on the ice by Kurt Browning changed everything for Hammond. “I realized it was not all ‘fru-fru’ and ruffles. There is a sport to it,” he says. Hammond has come to appreciate the level of athleticism in figure skating. “It is the most pressure packed event in sports. There is no one to get the rebound if you miss. What you work on all your whole life can be gone in minutes with a minor mistake,” Hammond says.

“It’s a charmed life to live where you love and work at the top level.”

Hammond’s knowledge of thoroughbreds and his natural skill for broadcasting was a good fit. He earned $35 a week for his efforts. Volunteering for a nightly sports show led to high school football and basketball play-by-play. Then he covered news. Hammond worked his way up earning the titles of News Director and Program Director. After two years with WVLK, Hammond made the switch from radio to television. He was hired by WLEX as their Sports Director. Hammond spent the next ten years at 18 as the Sports Director. It’s that progression into the broadcasting business that makes Hammond say he didn’t choose the business, “It decided for me.”

To say Hammond has an eclectic mix of coverage areas is an understatement. His job is truly unique. One week he is covering the NFL Wild Card Playoff followed by an Olympic marathon, the U.S. Figure Skating Championship, the Florida Derby and topped off with Notre Dame spring training. “It’s a blessing,” he says. Among those he says some of the greatest moments he has covered are in Olympic track and field. Yet another area he was tapped to cover unexpectedly. Dick Ebersol approached him the day after a Pacers and Celtics play-off game and asked him what he knew about U.S. championship track and field. It was yet another great fit for Hammond and another source to remind him just how inspiring sports can be.

Even though Hammond was gaining valuable experience in broadcasting, he always maintained a connection to the thoroughbred industry. During the 70s and 80s Hammond was a sales announcer at Keeneland as well as thoroughbred sales in more than a dozen other states. That experience earned him the recognition as one of the top pedigree experts in the country. By the mid-eighties the network noticed. He Tom broadcasting Olympic Figure Skating in was picked to co-host

Vancouver with Sandra Bezic and Scott Hamilton

During the 2000 Opening Ceremony for the Olympics in Sydney, Australia, Cathy Freeman had the honor to light the


Who’s Who Hammond was covering all the horse racing events on NBC throughout the 1980s. When NBC acquired the rights to the Triple Crown in 2001, he became the host and tackled the challenges that come with it. He has to learn all the vital facts of twenty horses, their owners, trainers, and jockeys. There are also the little known, interesting, sometimes quirky background stories to tell. Ultimately he has to showcase the essence of the Derby, which Hammond says is much more than just a horse race.

Tom with Mike Battaglia

flame in her home country. It was not only a personal honor, but one of great regard in Australia where she is a member of an Aboriginal tribe. She was the one to watch in the track and field 400 meter. Should she win gold, it would be a big moment to do so on her home turf. Hammond wanted to be prepared with something to say. Freeman was in fifth place as she made the turn for the final straight away. She pushed herself to win and when she crossed the finish line capturing the Gold Medal, Freeman collapsed with the weight of the world on her shoulders. It is a memorable moment for Hammond and one where the words practically escaped him. The pictures on that day were worth a thousand words and memories. In addition to Olympic figure skating and track and field, Hammond also broadcasts men’s and women’s basketball, diving and gymnastics during the world games.

Hammond has a list of memorable moments at the Derby. Monarchos won the first year he hosted. The horse was trained by John Ward, Jr. who has been a friend of Hammonds dating back to high school. In 2003, Funny Cide won. The story of everyday guys from upstate New York who rode to Kentucky in a school bus to see their New York bred gelding beat the millionaires in the Derby was priceless. Then there was Smarty Jones. The horse was owned by a wheelchair bound Philadelphia automobile dealer. The owner and his trainer had never participated in the derby and were not accustomed to the spotlight. Hammond had a front row seat when Smarty Jones went for the Triple Crown in the Belmont Stakes, as fans stopped to root for him. There are memorable moments and then there are unforgettable ones. Hammond tells this story best in his own words: “With Queen Elizabeth in attendance, who could ever forget the scene in 2007 when Calvin Borel, the unassuming, but fearless jockey from Cajun country, skimmed the rail to get Street Sense home...and then, displayed such uninhibited emotion, complete with genuine tears and joyful interaction with the adoring crowd, that we stayed with it without a commercial for nearly 20 minutes and I elected to keep quiet most of that time because nothing I could say would match

RUN FOR THE ROSES All of Hammond’s colleagues at NBC know he is a proud Kentuckian. His pride shows the first Saturday in May. Even though he watched his first Derby in 1964, the novelty has never worn off. “The Derby is too vital an entity and too much hard work to ever become old hat. Each year brings a different set of players and different story lines which keeps things fresh. And, as a fairly sentimental person, I do get a bit choked up when they play My Old Kentucky Home, keeping in mind that right after that I have to talk for about five minutes straight with 20 horses in the post parade,” Hammond says.

Tom broadcasting from the Kentucky Derby for NBC with Hall of Fame Jockey Gary Stevens


Who’s Who ways to get noticed and advance their careers. Hammond on the other hand is at ease taking the back seat to the story, “I’m kind of shy, so it fits my personality.” HOME SWEET HOME Hammond’s career takes him around the world, but Lexington is and always has been home. “I like everything about Lexington. It’s the best of both worlds.” There isn’t anything he is unable to do with the network. He gets the call and goes where the event is. When he is finished he returns home, to the bluegrass. “It’s a charmed life to live where you love and work at the top level,” he says. Sports Broadcasting Lifetime Achievement Recipient Tom Hammond with Larry Conley

that scene. The picture told the story and sometimes the best thing to say is nothing. Who would have guessed that Calvin would wind up winning 3 out of 4 Derbies? And then, Mine That Bird, winning in 2009 at 50-1 (with Calvin). Nobody had heard of his trainer Bennie Wooley, who drove the horse in a van behind his pickup truck, cross country from New Mexico, with a broken ankle suffered in a motorcycle accident. You can’t make this stuff up!” Those are the stories Hammond believes make the Derby so compelling. “It’s the great equalizer. Anybody can win, not always the best horse, the richest owner or the most accomplished trainer and jockey,” he says. AWARD WINNING Hammond has been recognized with top honors from both broadcasting and the thoroughbred industry. He has been the recipient of the Eclipse Award twice and has a handful of Emmys for coverage of the 1992 Breeder’s Cup, men’s and women’s basketball, Olympic track and field as well as diving. He is a member of the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame and Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame.

Leisure time is spent with his family. He met his wife of 45 years, Sheilagh, when he was at UK. They have three grown children, two sons and a daughter. Each Christmas vacation they travel with their kids, their spouses, and six grandkids. The time together is cherished as his family is spread out across the country. Hammond finds refuge from his busy schedule in his garden. “It’s a way to release pressure and slow down. It’s therapeutic,” he says. He grows vegetables and flowers in the anonymity of his backyard. It’s a nice break from the business. “Everyone dissects everything you say. It’s nice to run around in the dirt,” Hammond says. He also has a passion for wine which goes far beyond tasting. Hammond is an avid wine collector. He has 1,500 bottles in his cellar. His interest started nearly thirty years ago. The more he read about it, the more he cultivated his interest. France, Italy, and Chile are among the international growers he appreciates. Closer to home, California produces wines are among his favorites. He credits Oregon with its ability to be a competitive wine growing region. “The discovery, buying and researching is almost as fun as drinking it,” Hammond says. Hammond has come a long way since his first year in broadcasting earning $9,600. “It never gets stale. These aren’t events you can cram for which keeps you on your toes.”

FINDING THE STORY Hammond is a story teller at heart. It’s a hallmark of his broadcasting career he credits to Dick Ebersol. Ebersol pushed him to find the story behind the event. He taught him to weave stories in and out of the play-by-play as a means to enhance the how and why. Among all the sports he covers, Hammond still finds the two greatest sources for memorable stories are found in horse racing. Between the horses and the owners, “Each has personality. It’s a gold mine of stories to tell,” he says. That style is becoming a lost art. “When I first started there were three networks,” he says. Today there are hundreds of choices for information which has left many broadcasters vying for viewer’s attention. The personality of the anchors at times is competing with the story itself as those broadcasters look for


Tom & Sheilagh

What’s New


by Drew Johnson

Wildcats Define “Special” defines the word special as “distinguished or different from what is ordinary or usual.” If college basketball had a dictionary, the 2012 Kentucky Wildcats team photo would be positioned directly under it, basking in the glory of what the sports world now universally calls “The Big Blue Nation.” And just how would the college basketball version of the word “special” be defined, exactly? • Six probable first round NBA draft picks, including the Naismith Player of the Year Anthony Davis, All-SEC performers in Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Doron Lamb and Terrence Jones, and Sixth Man of the Year Darius Miller, • An undefeated conference record for only the third time in SEC history, • A 38-2 record, a single season record for most wins by a team, • The 2012 national champions! Using any one of these “special” definitions associated with the Wildcats alone is doing the word a bit of a disservice. In today’s mediamad world of hyperbole and attention grabbing tweets, the term has become an overused adjective used far too freely when describing an above average player or team. When used together, John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats earned the “special” label after dismissing the upset-minded Kansas Jayhawks 67-59 in New Orleans amidst a sea of Kentucky blue to capture the program’s eighth national championship. Kentucky again sits atop the college basketball mountain. Photos by Dr. Michael Huang and Alex Orlov


What’s New Big Blue Nation was buzzing about the potential of these six pieces on one basketball team. But how would the individual pieces fit the team puzzle? From this season’s beginning, the expectations were enormous. The preseason hype was staggering. Each night, parents from Pikeville to Paducah would tuck their children to bed, telling stories of what Kentucky basketball was going to accomplish this year. This side of maybe the North Carolina Tar Heels, no other team in all the land was up to the challenge of defeating the mighty Wildcats.

When did this “special” team begin? You have to travel almost two years back in time. It all started on April 14, 2010 when Michael Gilchrist, a high school phenom from New Jersey with an insatiable work ethic and an electric smile, decided to commit to the University of Kentucky. The day Gilchrist signed his letter of intent, his uncle Darin Kidd— the man who replaced his father that died when Gilchrist was only two years old— unexpectedly passed away. Shortly after, to honor his “best friend”, he changed his name to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Only eight days later, Marquis Teague, a precocious point guard from Indianapolis, turned down the overtures from Rick Pitino’s Louisville Cardinals, instead deciding to cast his lot with John Calipari’s penchant for producing NBA caliber point guards with the dribble-drive offense he’s become so famous for. The chance to follow in the footsteps of Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans, John Wall, and Brandon Knight proved too difficult to pass up. The wave of Kentucky recruiting momentum reached its zenith on August 13, 2010, when a skinny ex-point guard from Chicago named Anthony Davis gave John Calipari his third commitment for the class of 2011. After a remarkable growth spurt of eight inches over the summer that had no effects on his coordination, Davis was the number one high school player in the country by the time he finished he senior year.

After announcing their collective talent to the world with a season opening fifty point victory over Marist, the Wildcats headed to the Big Apple and beat Kansas (for the first time) in Madison Square Garden. After dismissing opponents of less renown like Old Dominion and Penn State, Roy Williams and the top-ranked Tar Heels arrived in Lexington for the most hyped regular season game in college basketball history. The Tar Heels left as losers, 7372. Indiana took advantage of a frenzied Assembly Hall crowd and Anthony Davis foul trouble to upset the Wildcats on a Christian Watford last second three pointer. Kentucky did not lose again for 24 consecutive games, running through the SEC portion of the schedule unscathed and undefeated. The only blemish for the rest of the season was a loss to a talented Vanderbilt in the SEC Tournament championship game. When the biggest spectacle in college sports began with March Madness, Kentucky was positioned as the #1 overall seed in the South region. Opening tournament play in Louisville’s shiny new YUM Center, the Wildcats took care of “little brother” Western Kentucky to get the championship run rolling. The next vanquished opponent was the Iowa State Cyclones, led by the uber-talented

Back in the Bluegrass State, three key contributors from Kentucky’s 2010-2011 Final Four Team— Doron Lamb, Darius Miller and Terrence Jones—announced they were putting their professional dreams on hold for another year and returning to Kentucky for their sophomore campaigns. The college basketball era of the “one and done” program so often associated with John Calipari was flipped on its head. Kentucky was positioned perfectly to stake their claim on a new banner hanging from Rupp Arena’s rafters.



What’s New Royce White. The Sweet Sixteen saw Kentucky exact revenge on the Indiana Hoosiers in the most dynamic offensive display in the entire tournament, putting up a record 101 points. The long and athletic Baylor Bears proved no match as Kentucky put together one of its best games of the season to reach its second straight Final Four. In a matchup only famous fiction writers can imagine, fans across the state were treated to “Commonwealth Armageddon” as Kentucky dispatched archrival Louisville to advance to its first national championship game since the Comeback Cats in 1998. Then, on April 2, 2012, Kentucky cut down the nets in the Superdome and laid its claim to college basketball dominance as the last team standing. More than wins and titles made this Kentucky season “special”, one that will be passed on to generations of Kentucky fans for years to come. Was it Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s childlike exuberance for playing basketball? Was it Anthony Davis’s transcendence as one of college basketball’s most dominant players over the past twenty five years? Was it John Calipari finally shedding the moniker as the best coach that hadn’t won the big one? Was it Doron Lamb’s cool demeanor and swagger? Was it senior Darius Miller, leaving the program with a college degree and one of the most popular players in recent Kentucky memory? Or was it the confidence of Terrence Jones, or the steady play of Marquis Teague?

Kentucky is the winningest program in college basketball history, the 2012 champions deserve to be in the middle of the “greatest team in history” conversation. And they should be. On April 3, 2012, the Kentucky Wildcats returned to Lexington and celebrated with over 25,000 screaming members of Big Blue Nation in front of a sold out Rupp Arena. Euclid Avenue was packed with delirious students and proud alumni ready to buy their brand new “National Champions” t-shirt. The 2012 national champion banner was hung for all to see. On April 11, 2012, shot-blocking prodigy Nerlens Noel—the top high school player in the country—announced his intentions to attend the University of Kentucky, along with fellow high school All-Americans shooting guard Archie Goodwin from Arkansas, forward Alex Poythress from Tennessee, and seven-foot center Willie Cauley-Stein from Kansas. In a sign of things to come, Noel announced his commitment by taking off his hood, unveiling a “UK” logo shaved into the back of his old-school high top fade. Soon, Kentucky fans of a younger generation will have the same haircut. The Anthony Davis unibrow is so last year. It will be John Calipari’s fourth consecutive top rated recruiting class, unheard of in college basketball circles and unseen by recruiting experts and services alike. On April 17, 2012, the day Big Blue Nation had dreaded for almost a year finally arrived. John Calipari—flanked by Anthony Davis, Doron Lamb, and Terrence Jones on his right; Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Marquis Teague to his left—announced all five would be leaving Kentucky to pursue their dreams in the NBA. In an unprecedented press conference that was broadcast live nationally on ESPN, the five decided to leave Kentucky just how they had played at Kentucky: together and as one. Some Kentucky fans cried. Others cheered. Some were disappointed. Others were proud. More than anything, Big Blue Nation was grateful for everything they accomplished and how they accomplished it. Kentucky is back. Indeed, a “special” season defined.

I believe it was all of the above. Kentucky played every game with passion and a “team first” attitude not seen often in the college basketball world. Each player sacrificed individual goals for the greater good. They cared for one another as both teammates and friends. John Calipari molded this squad into arguably the greatest Wildcats team of all time. As


What To Do


by Blake Hannon


What To Do

As TOPS magazine’s resident foodie, I consider myself very lucky to be able to sample Lexington’s various restaurants and eateries. Many of these places I am experiencing for the first time. Others, I am getting reacquainted with. That being said, I have a particular relationship and perspective to offer when it comes to Rossi’s. Of all of the city’s more upscale eating establishments, Rossi’s is the one I’m most familiar with. When I was in college and traveled to visit my mother in Lexington, Rossi’s was one of the first places she took me to eat when it was at its initial, more modestly spaced digs in Chevy Chase. After I moved to Lexington, I ended up waiting tables at the restaurant’s more spacious location in Chinoe Center for several months. This outing to Rossi’s was the equivalent of a meeting of old buddies grabbing a bite and playing catchup. What did I discover? Naturally, some things have changed while other characteristics are just as you left them. Thankfully, one thing that hasn’t changed is the interior, whose sleek, modern and minimalist design, light colored wood and dim lighting has an instant calming effect. The expansive bar still practically zig-zags across the entire length of the restaurant. This is a great place to end up, considering the unique, flavorful and potent martinis they are slinging, which are as big a draw as ever with combinations that span the mixology spectrum. The first time I noticed something different came upon opening my menu. Chef Robert Myers has taken the reigns in the back of the house from previous chef Rod Jones. With a culinary background in classic French and Italian cooking, Myers knows his way around a sauce and a glaze. When we got to the appetizers, only a few dishes from my short tenure as a server remained (the always delectable calamari, bleu cheese chips). Patrons can now enjoy offerings like the Mini Hotbrowns or Chef Myers fresh-baked Ciabatta of the Day. I got to try some ultra-classy bar grub in the form of the Sea Horse and Shrimp Beignets, with shrimp and prosciutto-wrapped sea scallops fried up perfectly and served with cocktail and hollandaise sauces. Also, the Napoletana Meatballs were nice and tender, bursting with garlic flavor and simmered in an herby sauce topped with melted Fontinella. Rossi’s was smart to leave well enough alone with their entrée salads. The Grilled Romaine Salad with an olive tapenade and Warm Goat Cheese Salad were some of my favorite spruce-ups of typical greenery. My entrées were a sampling that let me know that change can be a fine thing with consistency. While the fried, prosciutto-wrapped sea scallops was a perfect bar snack, the mollusk got a refined treatment with the Spanish Sea Scallops, proficiently seared and flavorful with white wine, lemon butter and the pickled burst of capers. They also gave me a preview of one of the highlighted dishes on its upcoming spring/summer menu with the Dijon Crusted Lamb Chop. It was a version of lamb chop I had yet to experience but was glad I did, with bread crumbs roasted in olive oil and garlic infused with the punch of Dijon mustard served on a mint demi-glaze and served with a risotto highlighted with the welcome spice of saffron. I didn’t think I had room for dessert until they brought me out a flourless chocolate cake, studded with dark chocolate chips and pastels and served with a side of vanilla ice cream. It was drizzled with a berry puree, which took different notes of blueberry when you ate it with the warm chocolate cake or the cool ice cream. By the time I was scraping the puree off my plate, I realized that if I didn’t have room for dessert, I just made room. It was nice to get back in touch with Rossi’s with this outing and have a sampling of what they’re up to these days—which indicates that while a few things may have changed, the quality and essence of the restaurant have thankfully remained the same.

859.335.8788 | 1060 Chinoe Rd. Suite 104 |



What To Do






The stack of graduation announcements grows by the day this time of year. Each year, the long-standing traditions that mark the end of high school give rise to a new group of boo-hooing mamas, sitting through the seemingly endless parade of children in adult bodies, dressed in cheap polyester gowns and ugly caps, waiting for the moment when their child crosses the stage so they can capture it on the flip camera for posterity. My first kid graduated high school two years ago. And honestly, I had no idea what kind of emotional wreck I might be. So I had a talk with my daughter that went something like this: “I’ll try not to cry. If I do cry, I’ll try not to do it at a time or in a place where you would be embarrassed. If you’re embarrassed, just ignore me.” Turns out, I didn’t need to worry. I was prepared with plenty of tissues, and as Pomp and Circumstance cued the entrance of graduates, I felt my throat tighten. But then, an individual whose house my daughter had decorated with a six-month supply of Charmin walked in. I got the giggles instead.

Wiping—Bottoms, noses, tears. Hair out of the eyes. The certain-kind-of-grin off your face. Listening with love and concern to the myriad incidents that cause emotional pain and distress – knowing that truth and time will put them all in perspective, and this child will likely forget about it long before you do. Listening with love and concern to practice sessions. Paying the piano teacher anyway. I have three more kids to graduate. I will be doing all this stuff for a long time. And that’s where the time will go. The days drag on, but the years fly by. Frankly, I don’t have the energy to do this forever. So, I didn’t cry at graduation. I did a happy dance! And then I sent her on her merry way to college. And I have to say, as much as I miss her, I really like the person who returns from college on holidays. She can find her own socks and manage her own schedule. I’m still doing her laundry though. We’ll have to do something about that.

Bless her heart. It’s not that I don’t relate a little to the nostalgia. There is something that makes you stop and think as you watch your child walk across that stage, a mostly grown-up person. You realize, while the significance of your input into her life is not diminished, from now on, it will be limited. I thought all of that as I watched my daughter, and I echoed the sentiments of most parents who experience that moment: where did the time go? But then I thought a little more. And I’ll tell you where the time goes: laundry. Laundry, and cleaning the homework papers out of a backpack. Making lunches. Making cookies to go into the lunches. Taking the forgotten lunch to school. Holding up multiplication flashcards. Chasing down the right sports equipment. Making sure the teacher gets a good Christmas gift. Making the teacher’s Christmas gift. Waiting in the carpool line. Finding the other sock. Or the other shoe. Finding the right shoes, if you have a daughter.


What To Do

GRADUATION PARTIES by Sue Ann Truitt Etiquette Consultant

Lives are made up of milestones which should be celebrated. Memories are created at these times. A party is definitely in order with the Graduate as the Guest of Honor. Whatever plans are made must center around this important person. Graduation is the culmination of a job well done and the beginning of a bright future. An event can be planned from a formal black tie dance at a club to a casual backyard cookout. Fitting the party to the liking of the Graduate should be the deciding factor. A fun and appealing idea for any age Graduate is a “Through the Years” party. This theme features the guest of honor as his or her life has progressed. The invitation could feature photos at various ages in the life of this special person. Thus, giving a clue as to the theme of the upcoming get together. Decorating for a Graduation Party can be so much fun—think school! Balloons, banners, glasses, napkins, and plates can all be personalized with a picture of the Graduate. Class rings, yearbooks, and letter jackets are appropriate incidentals to emphasize the accomplishments of this Star of the Day. Photos from babyhood to graduation enlarged and displayed on easels are entertaining for guests to view and add a festive touch to the occasion. A life-sized cutout of the Grad in cap and gown provides a perfect greeter at the entrance.


The table, as in any party, is a very important feature. With this theme, again think school. The colors used may be the school colors, seasonal ideas, or other appropriate color choices. Using the school focus, cover the table in a solid color cloth. Wrap several books individually in paper to coordinate with the color of the cloth and tie with a colorful ribbon. Group books in the center of the table with a simple container of fresh roses. Then, place a ruler, compass, scissors and pencils around the flower and book grouping. Down the center of the table to each end, display photos of the “Graduate Through the Years”. If games are your fancy, plan them to center around the Grad. For possibilities: • Driveway Scrabble - using sidewalk chalk, write words having to do with the Graduate. • Outdoor Scavenger Hunt - search for clues about the Guest of Honor, favorite subjects or sports, future plans, etc. • A Photo Booth where guests may have their picture taken with the Graduate. As a departure gift for the guests, fill a school lunch sack with an apple and cookies. When the sun has set and the guests have gone, the Guest of Honor Graduate will definitely feel that family and friends have celebrated this special milestone in his or her life.

What To Do

HOME GARDENING IMPOSSIBLE TO KILL PLANTS by Michelle Rauch, Gardening Enthusiast

I have always wanted to garden, even as a child. As I’ve written before, I always thought I had to wait until I had a house with a yard; so many years were lost to a hobby I now relish. But I never knew where my interest came from because my mom is anything, but a gardener. Her skills at growing and caring for any plant, flower, or lawn are about as good as her ability to trim hair. (I had to suffer the humiliation as a child of going to school after she cut my bangs. Each time she trimmed they were uneven so she kept trying to correct it. Needless to say, I was left with a small fringe of hair over my forehead before she gave up.) You get the picture. My mom + gardening = bad news. That said, there is a top ten list of plants that are virtually impossible to kill. A few of those have been tested by my mom. English Ivy was the one and only thing she planted from a small clipping she received. Year after year it grew, climbing up the side of our house covering the brick. She never watered it or gave it supplements. That baby was on it’s own for more than thirty years. It was beautiful. The Ficus tree fared very well inside our house for more than a decade. I

don’t remember my mom ever doing anything with it. As a child I would water it occasionally. We also had a little bottle that sprayed mist on the leaves, which I thought was neat. I would spray the plant from time to time. It proved to be another no-fuss plant that doesn’t seem to mind periods of neglect. Other plants that complete the list include: spider plant, snake plant, jade plant, California poppy, pothos, cast iron plant, bamboo, and geranium. Geranium is on my list for beginning gardeners, too. It has proven to be a hearty and beautiful plant that requires little to no care. I also had a small bamboo plant on my desk at work once. It survived quite nicely. I enjoy easy care plants. But, unlike my mom, I am challenging myself with other varieties. So far, so good. Which begs the question, where does my knack for gardening come from? I did not realize this until recently, but my grandmother was a successful gardener. The green thumb gene must have skipped a generation. Not only did my mom not get it, but my aunt doesn’t have a green thumb either. Fortunately for them and others, there are impossible to kill plants out there.


What To Do


HEATHER B. MELONS by Buffy Lawson Relationship Veteran

Her name was Heather B. Melons. She had long straight silky brown hair, stood 5 feet 7 inches tall and her middle name was Bigg, if that tells you anything. Yes, her actual name was Heather Bigg Melons. It was fascinating watching Heather saunter into the room, perfectly tanned, with flawless nails and intricately plucked eyebrows. I never recalled seeing her repeat the same fabulous outfit more than once, and was certain she had a personal trainer. She never bothered speaking to the women in the office, although she had been with the company for months. Either she truly didn’t want to make friends, or had been rejected enough through the years by females that she had finally given up. Heather didn’t say a whole lot to the men either. Well, with words anyway. It seemed obvious that her mission each day was to taunt them like small dogs being taunted by pepperoni. Married, engaged, young, single…it didn’t matter to Heather. Watching her lean over their desks to ask a simple question was nearly like witnessing a science project-with every man as her guinea pig. I was never intimidated, nor jealous of Ms. Melons, as I have grown to realize that jealousy is one of the most unattractive qualities a person can have, whereas genuine confidence is flat sexy. Until… One lovely July afternoon after lunch, I was touching up my make-up and Ms. Melons walked in. It was just the two of us in the restroom, and while she stood a mere two feet away from me, she acted like I wasn’t even in the room. Not sure if I was suddenly aware of the painfully awkward silence, if I felt strangely sympathetic to her, or just curious to see what this woman was really about, I blurted out a cheerful, “Hello!” Still facing forward applying her lipstick, never turning away from her own reflection in the mirror, she coldly replied, “Hello.” It speaks! I thought to myself. “I don’t think we have actually met …my name is Buf.” I said, extending my hand for her to shake. She reached her beautifully manicured hand out, reluctantly accepting my gesture and suddenly my short little stubby fingers felt shorter and stubbier than ever. With that, she put her lipstick back in her Louis Vuitton handbag and made her exit. I stood there looking at those, now seemingly ugly fingers of mine, and then revisited my own reflection in the mirror. How did I suddenly look so old? Five minutes ago I looked great! And five minutes ago, ordinary things were running though my mind: Remember to pick up chicken after work…Remember to send Grandma Lawson flowers for her birthday…Did I fill out my Google docs for May? The dog needs to get back on his flea meds…I went back to my desk, deflated and terribly perplexed. How in the hell did I allow a two-minute encounter with a fake, heartless witch make me question my own beauty as


a person? I have always prided myself on not being vain. I’m an honest, giving, intelligent woman and my Mister Man thought I was gorgeous, right? I reflected on this for the rest of the day, and made the decision that I would rise above this momentary loss of reason and do exactly what I knew needed to be done. I immediately called the nail salon and set up an appointment to get a new set of nails. I then phoned my girlfriend Marsha with Mary Kay and ordered everything Mary Kay sold that promised to give me that “young fresh glow”; I even sprung for a Miracle Bra from Victoria’s Secret. For one solid week, I was the epitome of everything I disliked about this planet. Me! Me! Me! New shoes! New jeans! New eyebrows! And I had to admit, it was just what the doctor ordered. But strangely, not for the reasons I had anticipated. What I realized that week was that while I might have looked a bit more stylish, nothing substantially changed in my life because at fourty-two years old, I was already a welldefined woman. However, lesson learned…the one thing on my list of things “to do” was to…take time for myself, something that had been neglected. If one does not refill one’s own pitcher with water, one is not capable of watering the roses in our lives. I couldn’t help but notice that Ms. Melons had not been spotted in the office for several days. Hmm? Curious. With my fabulous new fingernails glamorously pointing out the fabulous Chicken Parmesan, Strawberry Salad and magnificent Margaritas, strategically prepared for Mister Man this particular Friday evening, I casually asked him about his day at work. “You look beautiful tonight.” He interrupted. I shyly nodded… adoring his compliment. He continued, “Yeah, my day was fine at work. I got an awesome new assistant.” He casually stated… “Her name is Heather Melons. I am sure she will look forward to meeting you.” About that time Mister Man began to choke. Literally choke. I quickly shoved him down on the ground and started applying everything I could recall about CPR and tried to resuscitate him. At some point I looked down at my hands and realized that one fingernail was missing. Turns out, a fingernail in his chicken is what choked him.



What’s New

Expectant mothers will find an array of hip, high-quality maternity wear for all stages of pregnancy at Blossom, featuring fashionable clothing and accessories that help women feel confident and comfortable. Blossom carries maternity brands like Paige

Premium Denim, Citizens of Humanity, Lilac, Olian, Michael Stars, Jules & Jim, Noppies and StorkSak. Their assortment of children’s clothing is just as varied. Blossom carries baby necessities for every stage of early childhood, from birth to 8 years, keeping infants, toddlers and children looking stylish and precious. They feature brands such as Tea Collection, Stuart Weitzman shoes, BabyLegs, Cradle Will Rock handmade originals and UK apparel. Owner Rebecca Kent is a mother of three, so she understands the needs of today’s mom-to-be. She strives to find unique, highquality clothing for a wide variety of women and children and hand selects the pieces Blossom carries. She hopes that expecting moms, parents and grandparents will stop by Blossom to find that special necessity or a lovely gift for moms-to-be or children.



lossom is dedicated to helping expecting mamas and their little ones look and feel wonderful. With a wide variety of clothing, Blossom offers apparel that keeps Central Kentucky families fabulous. With a store interior designed for a comfortable shopping experience, the hand-painted murals and beautifully organized interior will delight moms and kids alike!

Blossom 814 Euclid Ave 859.389.6700


ocated inside Rincon Mexicano Restaraunt, the Rincon Mexican gift shop offers a unique experience. The gift shop offers a wide variety of handicrafts, all made in Mexcio. The array of gifts that Rincon offers in its shop are surprising and wonderful. They offer some goods that you may not see anywhere else in Central Kentucky, including Talavera (Mexican ceramics.) Many of their artisans are from the central Mexican states of Guanajuato, Jalisco, Queretaro, Aguascalientes and Chiapas.

Rincon has a number of small gifts, like keychains, piñatas, candy, hats, sombreros and other fun trinkets. They also have plans for feature bakery items with Mexican flavor, like flan, dulce de leche, guava pastries and pineapple empanadas. For unique Mexican items and gifts, Rincon Mexicano Restaurant’s Gift Shop is a vibrant, exciting shopping location that brings a little bit of Mexico right into the heart of Central Kentucky.

They have some amazing furniture and home goods items. They have furniture made from tequila barrels, including a cantina with swivel chairs, a grill, an ice chest, a trash can and a servi-bar. They also have fountains, vases, figurines and flower pots.

Rincon Mexicano Restaurant & Gift Shop 3901 Harrodsburg Rd Ste 170 859.219.0181


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COMMUNITY SERVICE WITH YOUR DOG by Amanda Harper, Pet Aficionado

If you’re a dog owner and you’re community-minded, you may not know that you and your pooch have a lot of opportunities waiting out there to help others. Helping Lexington become a better place to live for humans and animals is a wonderful way to bond with your favorite canine pal. First and foremost, before you bring your pet along to any event, call and check with the event organizers to be sure it’s okay. Even events that sound like they would welcome dogs may not necessarily do so; many event organizers prefer you leave your pets at home due to liability and comfort issues. If you get the go-ahead from an organizer, be aware that they may be wrong in telling you to bring your pooch along. In the event that it’s perfectly alright to have your pooch at a charity event, be sure to bring your own leash, collar, water, food and “clean-up kit”, as well a muzzle in case she’s not as excited to be there as you originally anticipated. If you’re physically active, there are a lot of charity walks and 5Ks in Central Kentucky that are dog-friendly. For bigger or highlyactive dogs, it’s a great way to take a stroll together while doing some good in the community. Just be sure you and your dog are physically capable of tackling the challenge. If the weather is too hot or too great a distance, consider letting Fido bow out for the day. The Lexington Humane Society’s Mutt Strut on May 12th is a great place to start. Of course, you don’t have to do the walk to do some good. There are probably a lot of opportunities for you and your dog to help that don’t require jogging the entire 5K. Volunteer to pass out water, hold the stopwatch or just serve as an unofficial cheerleader.

Another way that you and your dog can make an impact is to serve as a pet foster parent. Local animal shelters often use foster families as a way to offer animals individualized attention in a home setting, allowing them to become better socialized. You and your dog (or cat!) can provide a great temporary shelter until a family comes along to adopt your foster friend. If that sounds like something you’d like to do, contact a local animal shelter to see what requirements they have. Remember that this is a temporary situation in which you’ll be required to feed, nuture and give love to an animal who will be leaving your home after a time, so make sure that’s a commitment you can make. If you’re having a hard time finding charity events that accomodate pets, reach out to event organizers in advance of their fundraisers. Suggest that you’d like to have your pet at the event. Help organize a pet play area and watering station at their event, and once you’ve got the go-ahead, get the word out to fellow pet owners. I’m sure they’d be equally excited to bring Rover along. Of course, you can always host your own! Invite some of your fellow pet lovers over for a bark and mingle for charity. Do a doggie bake sale to benefit your favorite non-profit; make dog biscuits and human treats to sell (and be sure to make signs to let customers know which is which!) Be sure you’re following the proper channels for setting up your bake sale. You can even incorporate it into a community yard sale for charity. Together, you and your pooch can do some good. Helping Lexington be even more amazing is a great opportunity to spend some time with your dog. And who knows, maybe you’ll meet some fellow pet lovers who will want to set up some puppy playdates. So go on, get waggin’!


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by Michelle Rauch

Kris Kelly is a self described “hippie, eco-freak” who grew her own vegetables back in the day. “I can’t resist the chance to do it again,” she says. Kelly is getting that opportunity at the London Ferrell community garden on Third Street. “I come over here to the community garden and I learn something every week. I learn why my garden never succeeded back in the day,” Kelly says. Outside of the opportunity to learn, she’s getting the access to home grown she simply can’t get at home. “I have an apartment—no yard, no balcony, not even a fire escape,” she says. Kelly is part of a growing number of people who are digging into community gardening. By definition, a community garden is any piece of land that is gardened by a group of volunteers. They can be found in neighborhoods, at schools, community centers and hospitals. The London Ferrell garden is one of fifteen plots managed by Seedleaf. During the last five years the non-profit group has planted, grown, and harvested food that they, in turn, distribute throughout the community. It is part of their grow— cook—share philosophy. Janice Lewis lives nearby and walks to the garden once a month during growing season. “I feel better about picking it myself,” Lewis says. She was raised on a farm and appreciates the quality of organic produce. “There’s a big difference,” she says, “We can’t do a lot of this stuff for ourselves.” Ryan Koch is the executive director of Seedleaf. A concern for his neighbors motivates him. “My family and I live on the north side of Lexington, in an area where nutritious and fresh food is hard to come by. With


these nutritional injustices in mind, we sought to create an organization that could initially grow a lot of food, but eventually grow a lot of gardeners,” he says. It’s working. Generous financial gifts coupled with volunteer labor are keeping the community gardens across the city productive. Seedleaf volunteers make a batch of seasonal soup the second Tuesday of each month. The soup is shared with local feeding organizations. Additionally, Seedleaf is encouraging composting among restaurant kitchens across Lexington. To date they have recycled 14,500 gallons of waste. “All this assistance has helped us broaden our reach beyond what I would have expected at this point in our history,” Koch says. That reach is extending to children. The SEEDS program (Service Education and Entrepreneurship in Downtown Spaces) targets 12 to 15 year old kids in Fayette County. They learn how to install and maintain a vegetable garden, how to cook, and how to sell fresh vegetables. “In a world where children are often ignored, we are finding that these young people find a lot of empowerment by being involved in these tasks,” Koch says. Seedleaf is not the only organization encouraging kids to roll up their sleeves. The Kentucky Children’s Garden at the Arboretum in Lexington recently opened nearly two acres devoted just to kids. The kid-friendly space was created after they outgrew their smaller plot. Children as young as two years old can interact in a child-scaled garden. There are opportunities to plant, grow, and harvest their own food. “Those children who grow and harvest the food will also eat the food and the better vegetables. They are

What To Do


Photos by Michelle Rauch



What To Do more likely to try the food when they grow it,” says Arboretum executive director, Marcia Farris. That is encouraging news for parents who are trying to get their kids to eat healthier and combat the growing obesity problem among children. The benefits aren’t limited to nutrition. The arboretum offers a Junior Master Gardener program and plenty of summer camps to choose from. The enrichment is giving kids an outlet for outdoor exercise as well as an opportunity to boost their mental health. “Studies show behavior is better when they are out in nature,” Farris says. The arboretum has just as many opportunities for adults. Classes led by Master Gardeners provide education on plants, trees, flowers, fruits and vegetables. Environmentalists may enjoy tips for greener lawn care. If your yard has space and sun limitations, consider adopting a plot at the arboretum. You will have your own space to nurture plants and watch them grow. There are those who may not fancy digging in the dirt, but certainly enjoy the fruits of other people’s labor. For that reason the arboretum and other community gardens make the perfect backdrop for exercise and relaxation. “There are all kinds of studies that talk about how very important green is to your health. Hospitals with green outside the windows help people heal more quickly. Just for your general well being, psychologically, emotionally; I think it’s incredibly important to have a place to go where you can feel like you can get away from the hustle and bustle,” Farris says. The number of visitors to the arboretum has tripled during the last three years. Recently one hundred and eighty cars were parked in the lot on a sunny afternoon. Guests are encouraged to come often because each time you do, something new will be in bloom. While the beautiful blossoms at the arboretum are there to enjoy, there is one community garden in Lexington where you can pick what is grown. Tucked away in a quiet corner behind Ashland Terrace retirement community is the city’s only public cutting garden. For a nominal fee you may cut your choice of flowers and herbs to take home. The small garden is a relaxing oasis with soothing water features. Ashland Terrace residents maintain the garden and have created what may be one of the best kept secrets in town. The welcome mat at Ashland Terrace is yet another hallmark of community gardening. Places that create a sense of community and a common ground to grow food, flowers, and friendship. That’s why more are sprouting across Lexington and the country. Whether it’s a passing fad or has staying

power remains to be seen. Ryan Koch of Seedleaf is cautiously optimistic. “It certainly has some of the marks of a passing fad—suddenly interesting, a fun outing, etc. I think I have observed some of this each spring since Seedleaf ’s inception. Spring reminds people how great it is to get outside and be active. July reminds us why we love our air conditioners,” Koch says. While some people head indoors, the faithful continue to show up week after week to water and weed the garden. “We have regular volunteers who don’t seem to be that interested in fads. I know this because I have seen them turn compost. You really have to be into this to turn compost and to keep coming back through the heat of the summer.” Koch says. The renewed interest in where food comes from, the link of diet to health and more attention to food as preventative medicine are all positive signs that community gardening has staying power. The increased cost to buy food at the grocery is another incentive to grow it yourself. This brings us back to taste. One afternoon volunteers were finishing the watering duties at the Gainesway Community Garden (a Seedleaf plot). Koch remembers two girls who wandered over to see what they were doing. They asked about the carrots, but since they had already been harvested, Koch offered them kale that was ready to taste. “We all tasted a Red Russian Kale and the girls liked it. We moved on to the cilantro, and the girls liked that, too. A young fellow came to see what we were doing, and he took me up on my invitation to taste the cilantro. An angry look crossed his face and he rid himself of the small leaf and walked away. That’s okay though; we were two for three. That would be amazing in baseball,” Koch says. He felt good knowing the young girls left knowing that this garden was a welcoming place where they could come, see and taste for themselves. He also has a hunch the curious little boy will be back too! The tomatoes, green beans, cucumbers, and lush supply of greens that were added at Janice Lewis’ request keep her coming back to the London Ferrell garden. Kris Kelly keeps coming back, too, for the continuous supply of information and food. “With his (Koch’s) expertise everything is delicious. I am so pleased to see a second green wave. I was part of the first wave of back-to-the-landers,” Kelly says. She and other community gardeners are excited to see more people get involved, tap into the joy of growing and sharing food; and cultivating the friendships that come with it.


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Photos by Michelle Rauch



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The pace has definitely picked up. The energy is palpable. Downtown Lexington officially has a pulse and it is strong – perhaps even living up to its Thoroughbred heritage – not just strong, but racing!

Photo by Jeff Rogers, courtesy of the Lexington Convention & Visitors Bureau


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fter years of planning and studies and more planning and studies (this could go on and on), downtown Lexington is becoming vibrant. Monty Fraley, manager of the new Shakespeare and Co. on Short Street put it well when he remarked that downtown Lexington “has a heartbeat now.” Most of this growth is organic and through private investment – but public leadership and vision has fueled that growth. Why is downtown beginning to thrive? It can be directly attributed to the choice made, and re-affirmed regularly by Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, to slow Lexington’s sprawl by concentrating growth within the perimeter of New Circle Road and limiting development beyond it. Factors influencing the ongoing support of this decision include Central Kentucky’s Bluegrass being named to the World Monuments Fund “100 Most Endangered Sites” list in 2006 and being cited by the Brookings Institute in 2008 as the city (out of the top 100 metropolitan areas) with the worst carbon footprint. Conservation advocate Don Robinson sums up the dilemma of growth in the Bluegrass neatly: “It’s not IF we grow, but HOW we grow.” To understand why much of this exciting development is happening downtown, watch the award-winning Fayette Alliance video recently produced by Bullhorn at CENTREPOINTE Since this is a story about downtown, it made sense to put a pin smack dab in the middle of the downtown map and start at the center – with a project aptly named CentrePointe. But, so much has been written about CentrePointe that it didn’t seem a topic particularly new or newsworthy. But that is where this story must begin for many reasons. The first is that CentrePointe is the most obvious downtown project (or lack thereof ) and clearly a point of controversy. It is what some would refer to as “the gaping hole” in the middle of downtown and others reference as the “refreshing green space” in the middle of our city. Hmmm. We do have a hard time agreeing on some things. But all agree that this block has tremendous potential.

These photos, courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society, show that the more things change in downtown Lexington, the more they remain the same. Note an early pedway from the late 1800s (top); an early 1900s version of Thursday Night Live at Cheapside Park complete with trolley (middle) and the magnificent original Lexington Brewery (bottom).


The second reason is that the firm in the middle of this project and much of the controversy is the Webb Companies. The same people who restored a critical block of downtown (Victorian Square), built Vine Center and the Radisson Plaza (now the downtown Hilton), the Lexington Financial Center (the Big Blue building now known as the Fifth Third Building), Festival Market (now called Triangle Center), the Woodlands, the Merrill Lynch building and I would go on but you get the picture.

What To Do The Webb Companies projects have largely defined downtown Lexington and have made good things happen when it looked like we were ready to settle for “less than” or nothing. The latest generation of Lexingtonians may not realize that because of the Webb brothers hutzpah and dogged determination to build the Radisson hotel, Lexington was able to land the 1985 NCAA Final Four Basketball Tournament. Perhaps the only one we may ever get. It galvanized the city and kicked Lexington’s “can-do” spirit into gear. Twenty-five years later, another pivotal event, The 2010 Alltech-FEI World Equestrian Games had Lexington on its feet and once again feeling proud to be the heart of the Bluegrass, where the world comes to celebrate everything equine (when not celebrating all things basketball). So this conversation about what’s going on downtown started with Woodford Webb, second-generation leader of the Webb Companies. Smart and good-natured, he is a huge advocate of downtown Lexington. He ushered me out onto the balcony of the Webb Companies 31st floor to get a bird’s eye view of downtown (and far, far, beyond). It was magnificent and gives a perspective that clears out the

cobwebs when trying to get a good mental image of what kind of potential resides within our downtown. We talked about successes and disappointments related to downtown projects. Victorian Square—still to-date, the largest preservation project in the state. The Webbs and their partners, Lilly Webb (no relation), Elmer Whitaker, W.T. Young and Alex Campbell all pitched in to make it happen and it transformed the city and led to the development of Festival Market. We reminisced about Festival Market, inspired by The Rouse Company projects Faneuil Hall in Boston, South Street Seaport in New York and Harborplace in Baltimore and its efforts to stay relevant. Note that the Rouse projects were all built near water. There is a theme there… Woodford spoke of the up and down cycles of downtown Lexington projects and how they struggled in eras where growth was defined as what happened in the suburbs; while downtown, try as it might to sizzle and pop, more often fizzled and flopped. Even the user-friendly trolleys, birthed by Dudley Webb and Debra Hensley to enliven downtown in the late 80s or early 90s went away after a decade or so only to be resurrected again in 2010 as LexTran’s Colts.

Proposed CentrePointe Rendering Courtesy Webb Companies


What To Do So I asked Woodford – president of the Downtown Lexington Corporation (DLC) in 2007, 2008 and 2012 – what is it about downtown Lexington? Why do the sparks fly but the kindling not light? To switch analogies: Why can’t we get this party started? SOMETHING IN THE WATER? He went to his file cabinet and pulled out a picture of Lake Lexington, a Webb Company’s project that was introduced in the 1980s but never caught fire. For those Lexington short-timers or those of us who have been around a long time but tend to forget what we had for breakfast much less what happened 30 years ago, Lake Lexington was the forerunner to the new Arena District proposal. It created a water feature out of Town Branch and the Patterson Street parking lot and made the Lexington Center and Rupp Arena (dare I say it?) sexy. He went on to explain that Lexington is the largest metropolitan city not to be built along a navigable waterway. It’s remarkable that we have grown to be as big and relatively cosmopolitan (in our own quasi-Cosmo southern way) as we have. We don’t have any water to play in or on, watch, travel to, sit it front of, relax around or otherwise enjoy. No wonder half of Lexington goes to Naples or Vero Beach in the winter and the other half goes to a lake (Cumberland, Herrington, Deer or Michigan) in the summer.

So what do we have? We have lots of private investment, potential public-private partnerships, emerging dining and entertainment districts, a town-gown shotgun wedding (thank goodness, we thought they might never get married), the DLC working with the Triangle Foundation, Cheapside Park and the Fifth Third Pavilion, a re-born Triangle Park with 22,000 people skating this past winter and mini-concerts and an eight week schedule of Friday Nite Fountain Flicks coming up this summer. Whew! To put it in terms Lexingtonians can understand, we have Jefferson Street running flat out and Short Street closing fast. Limestone gaining speed and The Distillery District pulled up—but with the Barrel House and Buster’s willing to go the distance. And out of nowhere comes the Arena District charging toward the finish line. Folks, it’s a horse race! THE ARENA DISTRICT Perhaps the most exciting development to come along in years and one that has generated a surprising amount of consensus is the Rupp Arena Arts & Entertainment District – the 46-acre city-owned parcel in downtown. Brent Rice, Chairman of the task force created by Mayor Jim Gray to evaluate the current facilities and to create a plan for a District which would shape Lexington’s Third Century, feels the project will produce a significant economic impact on the city – both directly and indirectly. Lake Lexington Rendering Courtesy Webb Companies



What To Do

Potential Downtown Lexington

Brent went on record speaking at a Commerce Lexington Breakfast event on the floor of Rupp Arena in early March, “The University of Kentucky basketball brand is the strongest in collegiate sports.” He went on to tell the audience, “A Rupp Arena district would have huge revenue engines that could be harnessed to retire the debt of a reinvented Rupp Arena, new Civic Center, and many new features, including the retail space and possibly an outdoor ampitheater.” Almost as exciting as a reinvented Rupp Arena is the idea of harnessing the mesmerizing effect of water by unearthing Town Branch where it goes underground in the Patterson Street parking lot behind Rupp and creating a park space – Town Branch Commons – with (gasp!) a prominent water feature. This series of park-like spaces would run from the Distillery District through downtown to the East End. It fits in beautifully with existing Legacy Trail plans stretching from Lexington’s East End to the Kentucky Horse Park and ultimately to Georgetown. A bigger convention center, a small performing arts center, visual arts space, more retail shops and a Cat Walk connecting downtown to the University of Kentucky would also be part of the plan. To get more information

about this exciting proposal, check out Bullhorn’s Rupp Arena District video at Changes in streetscapes (bye, bye Jefferson viaduct; hello new Patterson Street) would also be part of the plan. Buried utilities and landscaping would complete the transformation. Some of this is actively in planning now, with work to start once financing sources are identified. Hey, with all of this going on, it might be time to look into working and/or living downtown – it hasn’t looked this appealing in a hundred years! DOWNTOWN RESIDENTIAL REVIVAL As previously mentioned, “build it and they will come” may have worked in Field of Dreams, but does not necessarily apply to downtown commercial or residential properties. The downtown condo market proliferated in the last ten years and a number of those that didn’t sell have turned to lease vs. buy options. However, the downtown residential market remained active during the recent recession that just about stopped suburban homebuilders cold. Becky Reinhold, Vice President/Principal Broker for Bluegrass Sotheby’s International Realty commented


What To Do about the downtown residential market. “It’s active due to the combination of baby boomers and empty nesters who like the vibrancy and walk-ability of downtown and the twenty-somethings who have had a change in attitude about downtown Lexington. In their minds, downtown has gone from boring to fun.” Lexington’s downtown is ringed by healthy historic neighborhoods with active neighborhood associations. Homes in Woodward Heights, South Hill, Western Suburbs and Northside neighborhoods have remained predominantly owner-occupied, which bodes well for their future. Those residents are in it for the long haul and are thrilled about downtown Lexington’s revival. To remove real and perceived roadblocks to future development, Mayor Jim Gray created a new position of Chief Development Officer and hired Kevin Atkins to fill that position. Kevin’s job is to help streamline the process for development and construction in downtown that has not

Arena District Rendering by Space Group MIR


always had the reputation for being “user-friendly,” especially when dealing with projects in or abutting historic districts. NEW HOTELS ON THE HORIZON FOR DOWNTOWN? Well, it’s official. The longstanding rumor that a 21c Museum Hotel is coming to Lexington was confirmed in early April. The hip hotel chain that started in Louisville has named the historic First National Building at Main and Upper streets, directly adjacent to the CentrePointe block, for their next project, which is scheduled to open in 2014. The trademark red penguins that top the flagship Louisville 21c will be traded in for blue penguins for Lexington in keeping with Big Blue Nation expectations. Don Wathen, owner-operator of Nick Ryan’s is also talking about the possibility of creating a boutique hotel very close to the Jefferson Street corridor and has been work-

What To Do ing with architect Tom Cheek on the project. Most locals will agree that a Euro-style boutique hotel in downtown Lexington is a missing link and would be embraced by the equine industry if the bells and whistles were right. Certainly CentrePointe was designed with a hotel in mind as a major anchor for the project and JW Marriott was identified as an interested party. This upscale luxury chain is truly international and no two JW Marriott hotels are alike, choosing instead to focus on the art, architecture and cuisine of its locale. Landing a JW Marriott in Lexington would be a coup. Local hoteliers have historically argued vigorously that Lexington is overbuilt related to hotel rooms and are never happy to see new hotels on the horizon. Statistics would support their argument with most recent occupancy figures for the 7,543 hotel rooms in Lexington at 58.6 percent for 2011 and at an average daily rate of $86.00 (courtesy of the Lexington Convention and Visitors Bu-

reau and Smith Travel Research 2011 Lexington Lodging Report). Still, most people you speak with are eager to see a fresh face on the downtown Lexington hospitality scene. The Gratz Park Inn, downtown’s sole boutique hotel fills up quickly during peak times (horse sales, racing and ballgames). Having Jonathan’s at Gratz Park as your “inhouse” dining option certainly doesn’t hurt their bookings either, with its cozy bar, fine dining, personable chef/owner and competent staff. Of those making hotel inquiries, a whopping 75 percent are motivated to visit Lexington because of the scenic beauty and equine activities. A word to the wise – encourage Bluegrass Conservancy and Fayette Alliance to keep doing what they’re doing to raise awareness about the value of preserving those horse farms. Our tourism and a healthy regional economy depend on it!



What To Do Here is a rundown on what we know for sure is happening in downtown Lexington: JEFFERSON STREET Stella’s Kentucky Deli – 143 Jefferson Street Griffin Van Meter and Lester Miller bought the building from Darrell Woolum in 2006 and turned it on its ear. It’s been hoppin’ ever since with Paul Holbrook, Lester Miller and Aumaine Mott running Stella’s. 255-DELI or Nick Ryan’s Saloon – 157 Jefferson Street Barb and Don Wathen brought a winning combination of hospitality experience and fresh ideas to Jefferson Street and created an instant classic. So much so, it doubled in size within the first year. Usually the kiss of death for a restaurant, this expansion was just right and added much needed bar and patio space. If you haven’t been there yet – shame on you! 233-7900 or The Grey Goose – 170 Jefferson Street The easy downtown stop for drinks, perhaps Lexington’s best thin-crust pizza, and friendly service. A huge patio out back just about triples the seating when weather permits. Owners Keith Clark and Cheri Pulliam had a vision and became the second restaurant to put a stake in the ground (or even better a steak on the grill – my husband’s favorite) on Jefferson. 233-1500 Wine + Market (W + M) – 486 West Second Street at Jefferson New owner Renée Saunier-Brewer purchased Wine and Market from Krim Boughalem and Andrea Sims (owners of Table 310) in November of 2011. The concept, atmosphere and menu have remained relatively unchanged and are as delightful as before the sale but the focus has shifted toward the spirits side of the business. With wine tastings every Friday and wine classes a couple of times a month there is a greater emphasis on developing an appreciation of fine wines (with reasonable price points). Select bourbons and scotches are also sold with tastings scheduled periodically. Jonathan Laurel, the resident cheese monger (yes, you heard it right) gave a delightful and enthusiastic tour of the shop. His feelings were evident when he smiled and said, “Jefferson Street is an exciting place to be right now!” 225-0755 or The Bread Box – At the intersection of Jefferson & West 6th St. Originally built in the 1890s and expanded over the years, this 90,000 sq. ft. industrial-sized bakery changed hands, or at least brands (Holsum, Kern’s then Rainbo bakeries) until it closed in 1995 and became a records storage facility before shuttering completely in 2008. Its re-birth is at hand in the form of new owners and a newly opened anchor tenant West Sixth Brewing Company – a community

focused craft brewery ideally situated just a short walk or bike ride to the expanding Transylvania and Bluegrass Community and Technical College campuses and next leg of the Legacy Trail. Four partners—Ben Self, Joe Kuosman, Brady Barlow and Robin Sither have banded together to become owner/ operators of the Bread Box and the West Sixth Brewing Company. Their philosophy? That you can successfully start a new business that is not just about making money, but about supporting and giving back to the community around you. Hence their commitment to give six percent of their profits back to charity each year. Other tenants of the building are a talented group of artists; The Broke Spoke, a nonprofit to encourage bicycle use; and Cricket Press, designers of the ultimate silkscreen printed posters rivaling Nashville’s Hatch Show Print (icons of silk-screen event posters golden age). Also part of the mix will be Food Chain, a new non-profit focused on demonstrating and educating Lexingtonians on urban indoor-agricultural food production and processing. They plan to operate a vertical farm to grow fresh greens and Tilapia fish in the Bread Box. Finally, Roller Girls of Central Kentucky (ROCK), an all-female flattrack roller derby team founded in 2007, are using the Bread Box as their primary practice space. 536-3239 or


What To Do Coming soon on Jefferson … Apiary | Fine Catering and Events – 218 Jefferson Street Lexington will soon be buzzing about this multifaceted project by Cooper Vaughan, chef and owner of Apiary. Watch for this newest and most ambitious food/diningoriented undertaking on Jefferson to roll out in phases with the first phase opening this summer with catering services and a 12-seat tasting kitchen featuring local products and food grown in the adjacent organic garden created by nationally renowned landscape architect, Jon Carloftis. A larger garden and special event area for up to 150 people, the Orangerie, will open in the second phase later this summer. Book now for special events and parties! 254-2225 or

Shorty’s The Urban Market – 163 West Short Street


One classic downtown eatery, deSha’s Restaurant & Bar and its adjoining pub The Horse & Barrel (advertising the world’s largest ultra premium bourbon collection) anchors the complex of shops, offices and bars that make up “Vic” Square. Other bar, dining and entertainment options in the complex are Blue Agave Cantina & Tequila Bar, The Chase Tap Room and Cosi.

Dudley’s on Short – 259 West Short Street Just when you think it couldn’t get any better, Dudley’s metamorphosis on West Short proves you wrong. With interiors by rising star, Matt Carter, the “new” Dudley’s cranks it up more than a notch from its old Dudley’s Square location. The décor, the atmosphere, the food – all are superb and the wine list is epic. It is a place to share with friends and out-of-town guests. Owner Debbie Long and her trusted staff are ever-present to make sure that service and food do not disappoint. 252-1010 or Table 310 – 310 West Short Street The kind of place that makes you feel as if you are on vacation in another, far more hip, city. Great atmosphere and a bargain house wine during happy hour make this a regular after-work stop for many. Their cheese plates and desserts consistently get rave reviews. Owners Krim Boughalem and Andrea Sims are to be congratulated for winning the Clyde Carpenter Adaptive Re-Use Award by Blue Grass Trust for Historic Preservation in 2011 and for the talented staff. Superstar dessert chef Stella Parks has been named Food & Wine Best New Pastry Chefs of 2012 and touted in the New York Times. 309-3901 or Cheapside Bar and Grill – 131 Cheapside at West Short Street Perhaps the most picturesque patio in Lexington, Cheapside offers good pub food in a relaxed atmosphere. Their entertainment offerings include classic Johnson Brothers and other stellar talent. 254-0046 or Parlay Social – 257 West Short Street One of the newest venues to open on Short features an interesting mix of live music every Friday and Saturday


with a speakeasy atmosphere. The perfect place to land after Thursday Night Live. 244-1932 or

If you live or work in downtown Lexington, you thank your lucky stars that Shorty’s has arrived. Billing itself as an urban grocery, Shorty’s offers fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and breads and the kinds of things you can’t live without. If you haven’t visited the frozen food section located in a giant vault – you are missing a truly memorable moment. The adjacent wine store has friendly, helpful service that complements the Shorty’s experience. (859) 309-3813 or Victorian Square – Bound by Short, Broadway and Main Streets

Also relocating to Victorian Square by late spring (and occupying the former DeVassa nightclub location) is the Visitors Center component of the Lexington Convention and Visitors Bureau. Arrangements for curbside shortterm parking are in the works to make it easy for visitors to stop in for directions and information. Less than half a block away from Victorian Square on West Main Street is the Penguin Dueling Piano Bar. Open Thursday through Saturday nights starting at 8 (with the show starting at 9) the Penguin has a loyal following and great atmosphere for the late night crowd. Greentree Close – 521 to 531 West Short Street Saving the best for last and finishing up our rundown of notable Short Street establishments is award-winning Greentree Close, an adaptive re-use project by architect Tom Cheek. A remarkable complex with “the best of the best” in home furnishings and antiques, it features the ever-popular Greentree Tearoom (reservations required; (859) 455-9660 or Owners Gay Reading and John Martin continue to delight with a menu that changes monthly and reflects the seasons. The tearoom serves as an art gallery for the adjoining antique shop, Greentree Antiques & Klismos, where you can see (and purchase) from the owners’ wonderful collections. Quite possibly the finest shop east of Rodeo Drive is L.V. Harkness at Greentree Close. Owner Meg Jewett hits it out of the ballpark with her home furnishings, corporate gifts, tableware, crystal, books, notecards and more, more, more! Her staff is known for their knowledge and

What To Do service with a smile – great gift-wrapping, too, for the discriminating gift-giver. 225-7474 or Also in Greentree Close, is Belle Maison and Trillium. Debbie Chamblin demonstrates her fabulous taste with beautiful French antique furniture and accessories, amazing shell creations by artist Ron Meece and her fun (and kicky) home and garden furnishings. Just off Short Street: Skybar – 269 W. Main Street With a terrific atmosphere and panoramic views of downtown, Skybar feels like a special occasion place. Upscale bar menu and sushi offerings complement the extensive drinks and wine menu. 368-7900 or Portofino – 249 E. Main Street Winner of the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for the past 8 years, Portofino puts just as much emphasis on the quality of food that they serve. Owner Wayne Masterman is usually on hand to extend a warm welcome. 253-9300 or Courtyard Deli – 113 Cheapside Soups, sandwiches and salads with a great view of Cheapside Park – or call in an order and take it to go. 252-3354 or thecourtyarddeli@ Natasha’s Bistro and Bar – 112 Esplanade Music, entertainment, theater, great food and drink throughout the year, with the best of local and national touring and headlining performers taking the stage in an intimate setting. A major contributor to the quality of life in Lexington thanks to owners Natasha and Gene Williams. 259-2754 or Coming Soon on Short Street … The Village Idiot – 307 West Short Street Lexington’s oldest surviving post office gains a new lease on life as an upscale “gastro” pub. Scheduled to open this spring, the former Metropole location is another Lexington restaurant for Tom Behr (Pazzo’s) who is partnering this time with son Brian. Son Brett operates The Beer Trappe in Chevy Chase. These guys know their beer and their restaurants are known for great food at reasonable prices. This looks to be another home run. 252-0099.


Shakespeare and Co. prototype

will also feature a bar. An integral part of the plan also includes banquet facilities and catering. The Shakespeare and Co. collection of restaurants is owned by Dr. Edward Saad a chemical engineer who came to the University of Kentucky to earn his Ph. D. in Chemical Engineering. He spent time here and in Ashland then in Boston ultimately working in Saudi Arabia where he became involved in the petro-chemical industry. But as manager Monty Fraley explains, Saad was always enamored with restaurants and started Shakespeare and Co. for that reason. Lucky for us, he also thought that Lexington would be a great spot to try a “soft landing” for the concept stateside. His plans include opening more U.S. stores while keeping Lexington as his U.S. headquarters. Watch for opening announcements via Facebook. THE LIMESTONE CORRIDOR While new construction is not in evidence on Limestone in downtown Lexington, it still deserves note in any article about an energized center city. With 12 landmark bars and restaurants sitting practically side-by-side for several short blocks, it is possible to quaff a powerful thirst or dine on some of the tastiest food in town – whether you have a beer or champagne budget. Sam’s Hot Dog Stand – 109 S. Limestone No pretentions; just great dogs and a friendly, nostalgic atmosphere. 253-3192

Shakespeare and Co. – 367 West Short Street

Molly Brooke’s Irish Bar – 109 N. Limestone

MacKenzie-Childs meets Alice in Wonderland. This eyepopping establishment is sure to find a following in this, its first U.S., location. Its predecessors are in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Syria and India. True to form, Shakespeare and Co. plans to serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and offer fresh baked goods when they open this spring. Unlike other Shakespeare and Co. locations, the Lexington shop

The name says it all – it’s an Irish pub with a great atmosphere, terrific beer and pub food. 420-5792

Crossings – 117 N. Limestone Lexington’s second oldest gay bar has a loyal following and is known for its welcoming atmosphere. 233-7266

What To Do Giacomo’s Deli – 133 N. Limestone A New York-style deli. Go for the corned beef ! Plus they deliver on a scooter to downtown locations. 367-0061


Side Bar – 147 N. Limestone A great little (with the emphasis on little) spot that flies under the radar for many. Good food, simply and well prepared. Open late night. 225-8883 a la Lucies – 159 N. Limestone A favorite occasion place for many Lexingtonians. The Chicken a la Lucie is irresistible. 252-5277 Jonathan at Gratz Park – 120 W. Second St. (parking lot backs up to Limestone; enter off Second Street) Chef Jonathan Lundy, author of Jonathan’s Bluegrass Table, has a committed clientele. Try the Pimento Cheese Grits Fries appetizer - yum! 2524949

Jim Gray Mayor of Lexington

Le Deauville – 199 N. Limestone Traditional French bistro food in a relaxed atmosphere. Visit their website to get in the mood for a French experience: 246-0999 Third Street Stuff – 257 N. Limestone Eclectic, perhaps radical at times; from old folks to kids, owner Patricia Gerhard makes everyone feel welcome. Great shopping, too! 255-5301

Woodford Webb President The Webb Companies

Becky Reinhold Vice President / Principal Broker Bluegrass Sotheby’s International Realty

Doodles – 262 N. Limestone Comfort food with a conscience. Translation: organic whenever possible. Breakfast and lunch. 317-8507 Atomic Café -- 265 N. Limestone A Caribbean Restaurant and Bar with tropical murals, menu, music and terrific patio. You’ll love it. 2541969 SUMMING IT ALL UP Mayor Jim Gray speaks to this renewed interest in downtown: “Jefferson Street and North Broadway to the East End are all great examples of connecting our past with our future, using the rich history and fabric of our city to create unique, authentic places . . . where people want to be. It’s all part of building a great American City, honoring and valuing our past and building creatively on it.” We echo his sentiments. Lexington is on its way to greatness and it is starting at its core, the very heart of the Bluegrass region—historic and vibrant downtown LEX.

Don Wathen Developer/Restauranteur Nick Ryan’s Saloon

W. Brent Rice, Esq. McBrayor, McGinnis, Leslie and Kirkland, PLLC

Contributing writer, Fran Taylor is a confirmed downtowner and enjoys living and working in Woodward Heights with architect husband Tom Cheek. They have renovated five historic properties in the neighborhood.


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INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION When Kerry and Julie Cauthen first laid eyes on this building, its interior was more like a warehouse than a dwelling. Originally a cigar manufacturer in downtown Lexington, the Blue Grass Cigar Co. had sat empty for several years, but the cigar smell had stubbornly stuck around. Cinder block walls and metal roofing enclosed what was essentially an industrial box. But Kerry and Julie, along with their architect Brent Bruner and interior designer Matthew Carter (both good friends of the couple,) saw something more in this space. They worked together with friendship, collaboration, patience and fun! Together, they envisioned a modern space that would reflect the incredible development going on downtown. They envisioned a living area that was full of light and possibility. They envisioned a home. Together, the Cauthens and their deigners decided to use old and new materials to add to the modern loft feel. The floor and entryway railings were made of poplar ballasts. They, along with the beams, were brought in from a circa 1800s barrel factory in Ohio. Bricks were collected from the Centre Pointe area. The front living area was created in a way that is very modular and functional for the Cauthens, whether they’re entertaining or enjoying time at home with their children. A living room area featuring a sofa and chairs custom-created by Matthew Carter Interiors, nestles up to the fireplace for a cozy space to read or chat. The bookcase was also custom-built by Randy Spors of Stamping Ground, KY and features Keeneland sales books from years past. The sitting area in the center of the room is more informal and is easily swapped out with the dining table when the family has company over. Installed lighting in the rafters keeps the space bright. The kitchen is also located in the front third of the home. Custom-poured concrete countertops and steel appliances carry over the industrial loft theme while the deep blue-gray cabinetry (also built by Randy Spors) anchors the space and gives it a warm, welcoming appearance. A mirror behind the shelving helps bounce light around the room. Additional lighting is installed throughout the kitchen to ensure that the space doesn’t become too dark, no matter what time of day it is. In order to create natural light and to allow a breeze to flow through the space, their architect added a courtyard to the center of the home. This required cutting out the roof and installing lots of windows and doors to offer every room in the home some of the sunlight and air that the courtyard offers. Their architect, Brent Bruner of EOP, has recently worked on Shorty’s Market and the new CentrePointe design project, giving him unique experience with this aesthetic and vision. The home is partially underground or street level where it sits, so bringing in natural lighting this way was essential.

by Amanda Harper Shaun Ring Photography


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In addition to allowing the family to open up its doors on warm days, it doubles as a wonderful entertaining space. Edison bulb lighting and teak patio furniture make it perfect for catching up with friends or dining outside at night. In one of the children’s rooms, a cowhide rug, a wood-covered light fixture and colorful artwork give this room a playful edge while the storage and exposed ductwork carry on the home’s clean and industrial aesthetic. A loft serves as an office and clever lookout over the whole space. Contemporary pieces are paired with goods that feature a more timeless appeal, creating a comfortable space that is current without feeling cold. Wrought iron railing picks up on the home’s factory history. The railing, custom steel front door, steel canopy and front railing were all installed by Gill Cloud.


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Barn stall doors from Cowgirl Attic are installed on a track to allow them to slide over, shutting off the master bedroom at night. During the day, they’re pushed open to allow the space to have the same open flow as the rest of the home. This room also opens up to the courtyard, offering tons of natural light and fresh breezes in this space. The headboard was custom-made in Louisville to suit the couple’s space and specs by Interior Desginer Matthew Carter, as were the sofa and club chairs in the living room.


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The dining table was purchased at Marchés aux Puces in France. The photograph that hangs above it was taken by Julie at the Marché in France and was enlarged and stretched by family friend Dr. Roger Strunk of Frankfort. The chairs were purchased inexpensively to offer a contrast to the antique table, a great example of the Cauthens’ mix of high and low decor. This space feels open and airy, in spite of essentially being a cinder block box in the heart of Downtown. A wonderful entertaining space, this gorgeous home seamlessly blends industrial chic with modern flair.


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BlueGrass Conservancy Farmland Conservation Celebration More than 350 land conservation leaders and supporters gathered at Bluegrass Conservancy’s 12th annual Farmland Conservation Celebration & Auction at FasigTipton on Thursday, April 12, to celebrate the protection of 17,215 acres of farmland in the region. Funds raised at the event will make it possible for Bluegrass Conservancy to steward protected farms and conserve more farmland in the future.

Photos by Paul Atkinson


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TOPS April Preview Party We unveiled our fabulous spring fashion and racing issue at Village Host Pizza Bar and Grille. Friends and guests of TOPS enjoyed great food and drinks, good times and of course a glossy new magazine. Photos by Alex Orlov



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NAWBO 2012 Winners’ Circle Awards

NAWBO’s Winners’ Circle Award recognizes a woman who has shown outstanding leadership; financial stamina and control; contributed to her community through time and resources; understands and resolves complex issues; and is dedicated to furthering women in business through personal support and mentoring. NAWBO was delighted to honor Dr. Reva Tackett as this year’s Winners’ Circle Award recipient. This year’s event also honored NAWBO’s member of the year, corporate partner of the year, public policy catalyst of the year and woman business owner of the year. Photos by Neil Sulier



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Central KY Home, Garden & Flower Show The 2012 AAA Insurance Central Kentucky Home, Garden and Flower Show is the largest and longest running show of its kind in Kentucky. Housed at Rupp Arena and Heritage Hall, the show featured everything you needed for your home or garden. Guests enjoyed state of the art products at show sale prices, demonstrations on home and outdoor improvement projects, and great ideas for future home and garden ventures all under one roof. Photos by Alex Orlov & David Desjardins


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Bob Schmidt

Burning Stick Foundation Stokes V The Stoke Event was started by a group of businessmen in Lexington about five years ago. The event sparked a charity group called the Burning Stick Foundation. The Burning Stick Foundation places an emphasis on giving to charities in Kentucky. It also places an emphasis on having a good time, making for a pretty good combination. The event provided cigars, food, drinks, and music in a casual and fun atmosphere, and in the end, the community benefited the most. Photos by Alex Orlov



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Grand Total!

Pam Heissenbuttel, Helene Steene, Anna Jarvis and Gale Reece

Cardinal Hill Telethon The 41st Annual Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital Telethon raised over $400,000 on Sunday, April 15. The money raised in the seven-hour telethon will help pay for uncompensated patient care. Guests on the telethon included University of Kentucky Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart and James “Ted� Basset III, the retired president of Keeneland Race Course. Photos by David Desjardins



Top Events

American Heart Association Heart Walk Thousands braved the elements to come out and support the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk! Music, tailgating, and plenty of fun made the drizzly morning better! Donations to the Heart Walk and other AHA fundraisers go toward education, advocacy, and research work designed to combat Kentucky’s #1 killer, cardiovascular disease. Photos by Alex Orlov



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So you aren’t Kim Kardashian with wedding items and responsibilities taken care of for publicity sake… who helps out with your festivities and expenses? Knowing the proper people in your bridal party to turn to for events and issues will ensure your pre-wedding events are handled with tact and taste—and that your marriage lasts more than 72 days! Responsibilities of the parents and bride and groom aside, here are some pointers on who to count on in your bridal party for help; and some guidelines for those involved to help things run smoothly and to avoid awkward situations. Party, Party, Party! Showers and Bachelorette Party It is the responsibility of the Maid of Honor to be party planner extraordinaire! She is in charge of both a Bridal Shower and the Bachelorette Party, and will take care of the planning, hosting, and also cover the expenses of both events. For the shower, it is perfectly acceptable for the maid of honor to have a co-host (another bridesmaid for example) to split the duties and expenses. The elaborateness of the event is entirely up to the hostess and her budget—not the bride. Something as simple as a coffee bar or afternoon tea at home is perfectly fine and budget smart for a shower, but can get as elaborate as a couples shower and party at an outside venue. Again, this is completely at the discretion of the Maid of Honor! For the Bachelorette Party, if the girls are hitting the town the maid of honor is not responsible for picking up the entire bar tab, but arranging for safe transportation for the party is a must. Covering a round of drinks or celebratory champagne and a toast is good manners.

Party Attendance and Gift Expectations Another must is attendance—even if the Maid of Honor does all the planning and covers the costs of these events, she must attend both unless there is an emergency or a very good reason. However, if a bride has multiple showers, bridesmaids should be invited to all showers to be inclusive, but the bride should not expect them to attend them all; especially in the case of out of town weddings or friends who live in other locales. The Bridal Shower itself is considered the gift to the Bride from the Maid of Honor or her co-hostesses, so an additional gift is not necessary or expected. Members of the bridal party are only expected to give one shower gift, not one at every party. If they are more comfortable bringing a gift to more than one shower, a simple framed photograph or small token is appropriate. The Bachelor Party The flip side is much the same—the Best Man is responsible for the Bachelor party. The exception to this rule is when the Father of the Groom is the Best Man as they often are. Then one or two of the groomsmen should step in and arrange the groom’s last night of freedom to keep Dad out of the hot seat! Picking up the cost of drinks is customary, but your party should step in to pay for their own if the evening is a long one. Again, it is the responsibility of the host to provide safe transportation after the evening of revelry to make sure everyone makes it to the altar safe and sound. There are many small jobs the Maid of Honor and Best Man need to take care of to make the wedding day itself go smoother, but planning the parties and ensuring the party looks good goes a long way to help out the Bride and Groom!


February 18, 2012

Ashley & Andrew Pennington

WOW Wedding

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rom a first grade friendship to first in each other hearts, Ashley and Andrew’s love is rooted in their shared history. They grew up in the same neighborhood, went to the same schools and are both UK grads. They share a love of music, football, and anything outdoors. Their first date in July 2008 was a wine tasting and play at Equus Run Vineyards. A surprise engagement followed two years later on Thanksgiving weekend. Andrew invited Ashley to dinner at the Hyatt where she was led to a suite filled with flowers, champagne and photographs that told the story of their relationship. After he proposed, their families joined them disguised as room service and bringing in dinner to help them celebrate. The couple chose Central Christian Church for their ceremony. A close friend, Jessie Rose Pennington, sang the Beatle’s If I Fell and How Great Thou Art during the Prelude, and The Lord’s Prayer as Ashley and Andrew shared their first communion as man and wife. This was one of Ashley’s favorite moments of the day. Ashley wore an ivory wedding gown by Forever Yours. She personalized her bouquet with antique hatpins that belonged to her great grandmother and her grandfather’s 200 year old rosary. Her “aha!” moment came when she put on her veil and realized she was really getting married. Her bridesmaids wore fascinators that were embellished with rhinestone buttons that belonged to Ashley’s grandmother. Andrew wore his grandfather’s 1953 UK class ring. In his pocket, he carried a bullet casing from the

21-gun salute at his grandfather’s military funeral. He also received a gift from Ashley, a titanium watch that matched his wedding ring. The groomsmen were decked out in dark gray suits from Geno’s. Their matching navy pinstripe ties were a gift from the groom. Talon Winery was the perfect setting for their reception. They loved the barn and capitalized on its rustic atmosphere by using pinecones and cedar tree rounds in the centerpieces and for the cake stand. During the cocktail hour, wedding guests were treated to lemonade and fresh sangria, and served appetizers of meatballs, country ham wontons and bruschetta. Dinner was a tasty buffet that included turkey and beef tenderloin carving stations and a mashed/sweet potato martini bar where guests could choose their toppings. The wedding cake was a three tiered confection of Italian Cream, Vanilla and Chocolate layers. The groom’s cake was a replica of a penny which represented the groom’s nickname “Penny.” A hot chocolate bar with bourbon infused donuts and strawberries topped off the dessert table. The dance-off during The Devil Went Down To Georgia, and the photo booth were two of the couple’s favorite fun memories. When it was time to leave, Ashley and Andrew were surprised as guests lined their path outside the barn holding candles and blowing bubbles. Ashley’s advice to brides— never worry about the weather, it’s the one thing you can’t control. Follow your dreams and everything will fall into place. by Michele Landers Photography by Matt Malicote


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Details: Venue: Central Christian Church Reception Venue: Talon Winery Bridal Gown: Forever Yours Bridesmaid Dresses: Jim Helm Grooms & Groomsmen: Geno’s Formal Affair DJ: David Soards (Friend of the groom) Florist: House by JSD Designs Catering: DeRae & Friends Wedding Cake: Cakes by George Photography: Matt Malicote Photography Rentals: Bryant’s Rent All




What’s New

Jennifer Lynn (Browning) & Tristan Thomas Timbrook September 24, 2011 Katie Kelley Photography

Lesley (Fish) & Lee Bishop October 22 2011 Melanie Mauer Photography

Hope (Hamilton) & Tyler Shelters April 14, 2012 Troy Young of Progressive Studio

Wedding Announcements

Ashley (Metcalf) & Brad Black September 10, 2011 Schmidt Studio & Gallery

Want to see your wedding photo published in TOPS? Email for more information.


O TSHOTSP Hunter Lyle and Dancing with the Stars Champion JR Martinez

The 2012 Commemorative Maker’s Mark Bottle featuring Tim Couch 130

Former President Bill Clinton congratulates the Bluegrass Youth on Earth Day!

Lee Cruse and Miss Kentucky Ann Blair Thornton switch it up at the Wig Out 2012 party

Congrats Cats on your 8th Championship!

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