Sunday, June 14, 2009

Churchill Downs

Chad's parents recently came to visit us in Kentucky. We had a blast with them during their stay - we went to a lot of neat places around Lexington and Louisville and thoroughly enjoyed our time with them.

We went to the Mary Todd Lincoln House in Lexington, which was fascinatingly creepy. Then we ventured west to Louisville to eat at Lynn's Paradise Cafe and visit the Kentucky Derby Museum. When we pulled up to Churchill Downs, we found out that they were running races that day. That was a bonus, because I figured they wouldn't be racing in June. So we were able to watch two races (I made $15 on my first ever horse-racing bet!) and visit the museum. The coolest part of the whole Churchill Downs experience was getting to watch "The Greatest Race" a 17 minute film on the Derby on a 360 degree screen. It chronicled Derby day, starting at 5:30am and going through to the finish of the race. I was in tears at the end (along with a lot of other people in the room!) watching Calvin Borel win on Mine That Bird and then point upwards, in honor of his late parents.

We also toured Old Friends, a horse farm in Georgetown, KY, a retirement and rescue farm for pensioned Thoroughbreds. We mainly went to see Popcorn Delight, the horse that played Seabiscuit in the movie Seabiscuit, but it was really neat to see all of the horses that they have there. I know nothing about horse racing, but I really appreciate the care and attention that owners and trainers give to their horses. There are 48 horses at Old Friends, and their collective earnings from their combined careers exceeds $500 million dollars - wow! The people at Old Friends want these thoroughbreds (most of which are very old at 23+) to live out their days with the dignity and respect that they deserve.

Here are some pictures from Churchill Downs, with pictures from Old Friends and a Skelter for the Shelter 5k race report to follow in the next two posts.

One of the horses getting ready to race at Churchill Downs

The starting gate

Trying my best on a jockey simulation game. (I didn't do too well, considering that I'm about two feet taller than most jockeys!)

Memorial for Barbaro - "The Horse that Captured the Nation"

Inscription on Barbaro's memorial:
"I believe God made me for a purpose, but He also made me fast.
And when I run, I feel His pleasure." - Eric Liddell

The famous Twin Spires
(with Mr. David and Chad's heads barely visible in the forefront)

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