Opening weekend and the air was full of excitement. The weather was perfect, the grounds were beautiful and the horses were ready to run.
The opening weekend is chock full of stakes races and many are the "Win and You're In" for the Breeders' Cup. The Breeders Cup is the first week of November so the timing makes sense to have the "Win and You're In" series early in the meet at Keeneland.
We had been visiting the barns in the morning and taking pictures of some of the runners in the upcoming races. One of the prettiest runners has to be Get Stormy. He'd be great in the show ring because of all his markings (aka bling). Here's a photo of him being ponied back after his gallop work one morning. The mornings have been cool which tends to make the horses a bit friskier.
We stopped by to visit one of our favorite trainers, hall of famer Jonathan Sheppard, and the stars in his barn. He has Project Rose, Fantasia and Informed Decision. In this photo, assistant trainer Barry Wiseman, is cold hosing Informed Decision's legs before she is cooled out (hot walked) around the shedrow.
Barry Wiseman is one of the nicest guys on the backside of the track. We chatted with Barry while Matt gave him some photos of him working Informed Decision the other morning. Half kidding, I mentioned to Barry that one of my dream jobs is to hot walk the Sheppard horses during the Keeneland meet. Well guess what... I may very well be called upon to do so! I have already been called as a back up for someone he called at the last minute in case she couldn't make it! She was able to help out and I didn't get my chance. Next time...
Before we knew it, it was time for the races!
Matt and I enjoyed the stakes races and the weather. The crowds were great too! My goal was to shoot tight shots so that's what I did...
Wise Dan with Rafael Bejarano wins The Phoenix Stakes:
Rafael Bejarano celebrates after his win on Wickedly Perfect in The Alcibiades:
One of my favorite jocks, Julien Leparoux wins on Silver Timber in The Woodford Stakes:
and my other favorite jockey, Ramon Dominguez, won The Shadwell Turf Mile on Gio Ponti:
Now I'm on my way back to Traverse City to bring my cat to Lexington and make preparations for my boys to make their move at the end of the month - WOO HOO!