My Insider's Tour of Race Tracks & Training Facilities

Paniolo_GalPaniolo_Gal Member
This thread was created to share backside photos taken during my visit(s) to The Keeneland Racetrack facility, The Thoroughbred Center and later, the Churchill Downs in Kentucky. But after my review, this thread will be left open for others to also share their personal photo stories of visits to "Equine Racing Venues" in the USA and elsewhere in the World. The photos can be of other equine sports including Harness Racing, Quarter Horse racing and related sports. Note: In keeping with the Forum Rules, photos posted are to be your own and not obtained from other websites or social media that is not yours unless you have permission by the photographer & reference your source. But, please be sure to give yourself photo credits as well!

If you do not know how to post images in the forum, please check with those that have the ability...we will be more than willing to help you share your story!
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  • Paniolo_GalPaniolo_Gal Member
    edited August 2015
    KEENELAND RACE TRACK AND BACK SCENES
    The following is based on notes taken during my Thoroughbred Heritage Tour partially reviewed in the discussion: Visiting Thoroughbred Breeding Farms-A personal Adventure!)
    imagePhoto taken on May 26, 2015 of the nicely manicured hedge within the Keeneland tracks.

    THE HISTORY OF KEENELAND...

    Why is this Racetrack named Keeneland?
    After the Revolutionary War, the country was still in its infancy and had little money to provide payment for those that participated in the war cause. In 1779, for his service in the Revolutionary War, Francis Keen was given 1,000 acres by the Governor of Virginia, Patrick Henry. It was somewhere near the Licking River and was not where Keen wanted to locate his family. Instead, Francis began buying land along a dirt road five miles out of Lexington along the Elkhorn Creek. Francis moved his family to the Fayette County in 1785. Francis' son Jack married Mary Bowman (daughter of Abraham Bowman) and built his house in 1805. The name Keen eventually became Keene.

    AFTER 1933...LEXINGTON WAS LEFT WITHOUT A RACETRACK!
    Over the generations, the land was passed down from father to son, Jack Keene. After the closing of the historic Kentucky Association Track near downtown Lexington in 1933, the Horse Capital of the World was left without a race track for the first time in more than 100 years! From 20 locations, they selected Jack Keene's property because Keene was willing to part with the property for much less than its fair market value. Plus, the land already included a mile and a furlong private track, a combination stone castle and barn, a 100,000 gallon water tank, a roadway and land for future stables and parking. With a good foundation of resources, the Association did renovations to become one of the world's first and only not-for-profit tracks. The Association became known as the Keeneland Association which consisted of a team of volunteers under the leadership of Beard and Headley, Keeneland's first president.
    In October 15, 1936: Keeneland hosted its first day of live Thoroughbred racing.
    About Keeneland Race Track:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keeneland

    The Thoroughbred Heritage Tour, began with a visit to the Keeneland Racetrack. Since it was a midday visit on a Tuesday, there were no real activity to see. But at least we got a chance to see Keeneland without all the frustration of dealing with crowds of people. We instead got to get a clear review of the track and architecture of the complex instead.

    Below: The South Grandstand entrance is a structure made of Random Ashlar limestone walling. Keene was a mason and preferred using this durable material to build many of his structures. It was also a material readily available in the area.
    image
    NEXT UP...SIGHTS FOUND AT KEENELAND RACE Course
  • Paniolo_GalPaniolo_Gal Member
    edited August 2015
    SIGHTS FOUND AT KEENELAND RACE COURSE...
    This is a mixed collection of photos of Keeneland Race Course taken back in April of 2007 and eight years later in May of 2015. Our Thoroughbred Heritage Tour Guide was John who was a minister and worked as a tour guide in-between.

    KEENELAND POLYTRACK COURSE BACK IN APRIL 2007 AND IN MAY 2015:
    Below: Comparative views of the former Polytrack (2007) vs the current dirt track at Keeneland in 2015.
    imageA close-up of the mixed fibers found in Polytrack back in 2007.
    imageA close-up of the current dirt track found in 2015.
    imageThis is Keeneland Race Course back in 2007 using Polytrack. They are setting up the starting gate for one of the first races of the day. You can tell it was raining heavy at the time.

    imageA similar view of Keeneland Race Course on May 27, 2015 using dirt.

    THE NEW DIRT TRACK INSTALLED IN 2014:
    PolyTrack was first installed at Keeneland in 2006 but after 8 years, as of the fall of 2014, Keeneland has reverted back to dirt. Although PolyTrack at Keeneland proved safer (1 catastrophic injury in 2013 (a rate of 0.43/1000 starts) vs dirt (a North America rate of nearly 5 times that rate at 2.11 for 2013). The reasons were due to the following:

    ●The surface was too slow and tended to favor stretch runners and horsemen said it sometimes led to soft tissue and hind-end injuries and other problems.
    ●The national simulcast market proclaimed their dislike for handicapping Polytrack races.
    ●Public preference: "If the bettors don't want to bet it, we can't have it."
    ●Although Keeneland said the successful bid to host the 2015 Breeders' Cup was not a major consideration in replacing the surface...the Breeders' Cup board has said that dirt is the preferred main surface. Note: On 6/2/2014, it was formally announced that Keeneland Race Course was selected to host the 2015 Breeders' Cup to be held on 10/30/15 & 10/31/15.

    Not everyone was in favor of the switch back to dirt...most notably Wise Dan the two-time Horse of the Year who trained over the Keeneland Polytrack his entire career. Trainer Charlie LoPresti said "it kept his horse sound...I know that".

    The new dirt surface is considered the "state-of-the-art" material of locally mined material composed of sand, clay and silt and that track officials strongly feel that safety is not being compromised "in any way" after conducting "diligent research" into the new surface. The complex drainage system built beneath the Polytrack surface in 2006 is a "critical component" and will be a major factor in the successful construction and operation of the new dirt track and its underlying systems.

    The number of synthetic tracks in North America peaked at nine by early 2008. After 2014, there will only have: Arlington Park, Golden Gate Fields, Presque Isle Downs, Woodbine and Turfway Park using PolyTrack.
    Reference: http://www.drf.com/news/keeneland-replace-polytrack-dirt-track-time-fall-meet

    imageAnother view of the current dirt track facing the finish line.

    imageOur tour group explored the perimeter of the Keeneland Winner's Circle...unencumbered by crowds of people.

    imageA Close Up of the recycled rubber pavers used in the winners circle. I had a nice cushioned feel under foot...like having an extra padded layer from a tennis shoe.

    imageThe view of the eerily empty Grand Stand where maintenance work was being done to the Lafayette Room windows. With grey skies...You can tell a thunderstorm was approaching the area.

    imageThe saddling stalls at the north end of the Paddock.

    imageAt the north end are the colors of recent Keeneland winners overlooking the Saddling Paddock. Note: Below, the two side-by-side photos overlap each other.

    image image
    ▲ From left to right: Wise Dan, Jack Milton, Princess Violet, Carpe Diem (2015 toyota Blue Grass Stakes), Lovely Maria, Ball Dancing, Dayatthespa, Crown Queen, Don't Tell Sophia, Peace and War and Carpe Diem (2014 Claiborne Breeders' Futurity Winner).

    imageThe old black Tobacco Barn found in the distance behind the track. According to John, our guide, it formerly housed the track's back-up supply of polytrack prior to the change of track surface. The road leading up to this barn was called "Polytrack Road". Today, it houses the additional supply of dirt for the tracks and is now called "Dirt Road". LOL!

    INSIDE THE GRAND STAND:
    We toured inside the grandstand and went up to the 5th floor to view into the entrance of the exclusive Keeneland Room. This room is only available to the featured race sponsor of the day...but is available for private groups when not in use for race day. The Keeneland Room (renovated in 2014) has a panoramic view of the track and a private rooftop patio.

    Located on the 4th floor of the grandstand overlooking the track was the Lafayette Room (aka the "Stakes Room") used for top owners with horses running in the day's feature race. But also on the 4th floor was the Phoenix Room which overlooks the paddock and walking ring. The Phoenix Room is one of Keeneland's public dining rooms. For $45/person ($50/person on Saturdays), the room includes a lunch buffet, general admission, a racing program and table for 4.
    Reference: https://www.keeneland.com/facility-pages/race-meet-hospitality

    imageThe Phoenix Room...Hmmm could use a bit of updated sprucing imho...I prefer something more contemporary..but perhaps contemporary, is probably not in keeping with the region.

    UP NEXT...FLASH BACK VIEWS ON RACE DAY AT KEENELAND...
  • Paniolo_GalPaniolo_Gal Member
    edited August 2015
    FLASH BACK VIEWS ON RACE DAY AT KEENELAND...
    The following photos are comparative views taken in 2007 and eight years later in 2015...

    imageThe stark, empty eating area at Keeneland back in May 26, 2015...you could hear a pin drop!

    imageIn contrast back in April, 2007...A noisy crowd of bettors & spectators get out of the cold rainy weather to grab a beer and something warm to eat.

    imageThe empty new dirt racetrack on 5/26/15.

    imageLoading the horses into the starting gate in April 2007 in a downpour on the PolyTrack course.

    imageGarret Gomez on Number 7-Tiger Woodman heading to the post for Race 1.

    Below, the horses took off from the starting gate so fast that by the time I could react....I could only get a blurry photo of their butts and tails! Tiger Woodman in post 7 was one of the last ones to leave the gate. ▼
    image

    imageHere in April 2007, you see the horses coming out of the final turn heading home, running in heavy rain. They look like they were running through a light fog plus my old (low dpi) camera could not focus at that distance.

    imageThe winner of that race from post 7 was Tiger Woodman ridden by Garret Gomez in a $44,000 claimer race for 4-year olds. Notice even though the rain was pouring, the Polytrack did not absorb the moisture.

    OTHER SCENES DURING KEENELAND'S RACE DAY IN 2007...
    imageHere is Rafael Bejarano on King Bordeaux.

    imageJamie Therlot on Hale & Hearty coming from the paddock/walking ring area back in April 2007.

    image A view of the walking ring area on May 26, 2015.

    image For security, Outriders and their trusty horses man the track entrance. (April 2007)

    imageThe arduous job of the Outriders and their horses...come rain or shine. Notice how the outriders are trying to stay warm in this dismal weather. (April 2007)

    Below: Meet track pony, CL Lake. Back in this 2007 photo, he was a 10-year old former racehorse. CL Lake loves candy! Although he is fully intact, he doesn't show stud-like mannerisms and has been a hardworking pony, proud of his work.
    imageCL Lake standing guard and alert. (April 2007)

    imageKeeneland's iconic Sycamore tree (see red arrow) in the paddock back in April 2007 without leaves. (See red arrow)

    This iconic Sycamore tree was planted personally by Hal Price Headley, the new president of the Keeneland Association back in 1935. The tree was planted at the original proposed covered racetrack that is now between the paddock and walking ring. Many people hug this symbolic tree for good luck.

    imageA view of the Sycamore tree (tree in the background) on 5/26/2015 with it's glorious leaves.

    As the weather was very bad back in 2007, we decided not to deal with the cold wet weather and headed out of Keeneland after a few races to get something warm to eat elsewhere where it was quiet and relaxed. I don't enjoy the noise and dealing with working around crowds for very long. Besides, I'm not into betting at the tracks. But I do enjoy learning about the breeding and training aspects of the sport.

    UP NEXT...WHAT KEENELAND IS DOING TO PREPARE FOR THE 2015 BREEDERS' CUP...
  • Paniolo_GalPaniolo_Gal Member
    edited August 2015
    PREPARATION FOR THE 2015 BREEDERS' CUP AT KEENELAND...
    Since there was no real activity seen while we visited this facility on our Thoroughbred Heritage Tour, below are some interesting videos and articles about Keeneland as they get ready for the Breeders' Cup.

    Construction is currently being made to accommodate the horse racing enthusiast with refurbishing the saddling paddocks, revitalizing the training track, painting and repaving, and adding temporary facilities like viewer chalets in preparation for Keenelands first time venue as the 2015 Breeders' Cup which will be occurring on October 30 and October 31, 2015. The temporary facilities will provide premium seating for another 7,000 fans which will be located throughout the Keeneland grounds.
    Read more from: http://www.kyforward.com/our-sports/2015/08/07/multiple-temporary-facilities-for-oct-30-31-breeders-cup-at-keeneland-taking-shape/

    Here are some videos that provide you a visual history and preparation
    for this first time ever event at Keeneland:
    From Keeneland.com via YouTube

    NEW TEMPORARY LUXURY CHALETS...with some of the best views of racing anywhere at the track...And it can all be yours this fall, when the championships come to Keeneland for the first time, for a mere $125,000! But that's for both days, includes food and drinks, and you get to invite 100 of your best friends. The $1,250 per ticket might sound pricey, but there are takers already!
    Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2014/10/12/3477159_keeneland-shows-fans-farms-community.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy

    Video from www.kentucky.com showing the construction of additional
    luxury chalets for the Breeders' Cup...tickets in this area will be $1,250 each.
    Video by Janet Patton-From www.kentucky.com via YouTube

    Published on Dec 6, 2014
    An overview about what to do & see at Keeneland racetrack in Lexington,
    Kentucky.
    By Alex Bradley via YouTube

    UP NEXT...WHERE FUTURE CHAMPIONS ARE BOUGHT AND SOLD!
  • Loved the tour of Keeneland! I've been to the track two times but it was just to see it while in Lexington in the summers so there was no racing. It is such a beautiful area, though, and it is high on my bucket list to go to the races there some day. Thanks for sharing your travels and your photos!!
  • Yes...Keeneland is a beautiful race track! I hope others will later post their personal insider's experience at other tracks in the country when I finish my secondary adventure. :oD
  • Paniolo_GalPaniolo_Gal Member
    edited August 2015
    A VISIT TO THE KEENELAND SALES PAVILION
    Aside from walking through the Keeneland Racing Facility, we were able to take a tour of the Sales Pavilion where future champions are purchased as yearlings or 2 year olds.

    In the early 1980, work began at the rear of the pavilion on an enclosed walking ring where buyers could inspect horses just before they entered the auction ring. The 6,400-square foot addition was octagonal in shape with a stone facade and floor-length windows. This structure was renovated back in 2005 with a 5,000 square foot expansion. In a subsequent posting is a video of Zenyatta when she was an unknown yearling (Hip 703) in the sales ring here at the 2005 September Keeneland Yearling Sales...the rest is history!

    imageThe familiar view of the Keeneland Sales Ring

    imageA close-Up of the Sales Ring where future champions are sold at auction.

    imageA view of the reserved seating inside the Sales Pavilion.

    image Of Course! At the front row seating are the reserved seats for Japan Buyers: Ryu Tanabe (MKY Enterprises) and Tan Maruyama just a few seats to the left in the front row!

    image ▲Maruyama Bloodstock
    image ▲Ryu Tanabe
    Below are names of other familiar breeders, buyers and trainers that have reserved seats in the Sales Pavilion.
    image ▲Brandywine Farm
    image ▲Ingordo Bloodstock

    image ▲Bob Baffert
    image ▲D. Wayne Lukas

    image ▲Claiborne Farm
    image▲WinStar Farm
    SALES PREPARATION...
    Preparing a Yearling for the Sales Ring:
    From America's Best Racing via YouTube.

    Inside Yearling Sales Prep: Nutrition
    From Blood-Horse via YouTube.

    WHAT BUYERS LOOK FOR IN A YEARLING...
    How To Buy A Winner published 11/16/2014 & produced in 1997:
    From Horse Racing via YouTube

    References:
    http://www.keeneland.com/discover/1980s

    UP NEXT...WATCH ZENYATTA & CARPET DIEM AT AUCTION AS YEARLINGS!
  • Paniolo_GalPaniolo_Gal Member
    edited August 2015
    THE YEARLING AUCTION OF A FUTURE CHAMPION!
    ZENYATTA & CARPE DIEM AT THE KEENELAND YEARLING AUCTION:

    Thought you might like reviewing this video once again...
    Zenyatta at the 2005 September Yearling Sale
    From Keeneland via YouTube

    Watch the 2013 September Yearling Sale of Hip 365-Carpe Diem:
    From Keeneland via YouTube

    UP NEXT...TRIVIA INFORMATION ON KEENELAND SALES AUCTION...
  • Loved the tour of Keeneland! I've been to the track two times but it was just to see it while in Lexington in the summers so there was no racing. It is such a beautiful area, though, and it is high on my bucket list to go to the races there some day. Thanks for sharing your travels and your photos!!
    Just thinking aloud @Celeste_in_TX...Perhaps you and your hubby (or friends) can make a trip up to Lexington to watch this year's Breeders Cup held at Keeneland for the first time! It's on 10/30 and 10/31/15. It you are daring, you can bring a Halloween Costume or a theme related hat! :oD
  • Unfortunately, if you want tickets now you'll have to go through a reseller. Tickets through Breeders' Cup are long sold out (unless they still have general admission, but I wouldn't even count on that).
  • Paniolo_GalPaniolo_Gal Member
    edited August 2015
    Oh Wow! Sold out already! I guess those around the area who haven't purchased tickets will have to watch the races on TV. For me, I have no choice. :o(

    Glad you already got your tickets lauraj_cincinnati! I hope you take a lot of photos while there! :oD
  • KEENELAND AUCTION SALES TRIVIA:

    Track & Auction Sales Overview-From www.keeneland.com

    ♦Two of the July 1998 Keeneland sales graduates took 2 of the 3 Triple Crown jewels when Fusaichi Pegasus won the 2000 Kentucky Derby and Commendable won the 2000 Belmont Stakes.
    In 2003, Citing the effects of Mare Reproductive Loss Syndrome, Keeneland officials place the July Selected yearling Sles on a one-year hiatus.
    ♦In 2003, Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Cash Run, in foal to Storm Cat, tied a world-record price for a broodmare sold at public auction when Coolmore's John Magnier paid $7.1 million for her at the November Breeding Stock Sale.
    ♦ In 2004, sale records for the highest-priced horses were set during the September Yearling sale. A Storm Cat colt sold for $8 million.
    The 2006 September Yearling Sale had the largest-grossing Thoroughbred auction in the world with record gains in gross ($399,791,800 for 3,556 horses). This includes the sale of a colt by Kingmambo who sold for $11.7 million, the second highest price for a yearling sold at public auction. The current standing record is $13.1 million set back in 1985. Note: 2006 was the same year that The Green Monkey sold for $16 million at the Fasig-Tipton February sale for 2 year olds.
    ♦In 2011, with Lane's End as agent, the dispersal of Edward P. Evans' Spring Hill Farm sold 170 lots for $55,820,000 at the November Sale to become the highest-grossing Thoroughbred dispersal at public auction in North America. When combined with the 50 yearlings sold by the Evans estate for $6,527,000 at the September Yearling Sale, the dispersal sold a total of 220 lots for $62,347,000.

    More Keeneland trivia information link:
    http://www.keeneland.com/discover/1980s
    http://www.keeneland.com/discover/2000s

    UP NEXT...VISITING THE THOROUGHBRED CENTER...
  • Nice idea, Paniolo_Gal, but I'd rather not be there when it is such a big, over crowded event. The older I get the less I can tolerate large groups like that - I'm sure it will be exciting, but I'd like to go when I have time to experience it in a calmer manner. Yeah, guess I am getting to be an old fuddy-duddy - lol!
  • Paniolo_GalPaniolo_Gal Member
    edited August 2015
    Nice idea, Paniolo_Gal, but I'd rather not be there when it is such a big, over crowded event. The older I get the less I can tolerate large groups like that - I'm sure it will be exciting, but I'd like to go when I have time to experience it in a calmer manner. Yeah, guess I am getting to be an old fuddy-duddy - lol!
    LOL! You and I both! I guess I have a large personal bubble (proximity space) and long exposures to packed crowds tend to give me a headache! Too much noisy energy that emits out from a crowd I guess. :oP
  • Oh Wow! Sold out already! I guess those around the area who haven't purchased tickets will have to watch the races on TV. For me, I have no choice. :o(

    Glad you already got your tickets lauraj_cincinnati! I hope you take a lot of photos while there! :oD
    The tickets sold out within hours! I logged on to the BC site at 8am sharp the day they went on sale. I was in the queue almost an hour before I was able to purchase my ticket, and it still took three tries.

    I just this afternoon bought park-and-ride passes for the Horse Park remote parking location.
  • THE THOROUGHBRED CENTER

    imageThe Main Structure of The Thoroughbred Center.

    imageA Close-up of a beautiful bronze statue of farriers working on shoeing a horse. Sorry, we were not able to find out who the sculptor was for this work of art.

    Back in 2007, we had visited The Thoroughbred Center but we were faced with very damp weather and all we got to meet was a trainer named Michael Cameron and 3 of his racehorses in his barn back then. Hopefully, this time, we would get to see more since the weather was better today.

    The Thoroughbred Center is a Keeneland Property which is a Thoroughbred training center with over 1000 stalls, 2 training tracks, a starting gate and clocker stand. The property consists of approximately 240 acres. It is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Keeneland Association, Inc. According to our knowledgeable guide, Annette, this facility originated back in 1969. It was originally named the Kentucky Horse Center. Later, the property was purchased from Churchill Downs in April, 2000 and was re-named "The Thoroughbred Center" by Keeneland Association.

    imageA close-up of the Front Door of the Thoroughbred Center. Note the equine detailed benches!

    UP NEXT...SIGHTS BEFORE OUR TOUR STARTED ...
  • Oh Wow! Sold out already! I guess those around the area who haven't purchased tickets will have to watch the races on TV. For me, I have no choice. :o(

    Glad you already got your tickets lauraj_cincinnati! I hope you take a lot of photos while there! :oD

    The tickets sold out within hours! I logged on to the BC site at 8am sharp the day they went on sale. I was in the queue almost an hour before I was able to purchase my ticket, and it still took three tries.

    I just this afternoon bought park-and-ride passes for the Horse Park remote parking location.
    Terrific! Glad you got on-line the day tickets went on sale for the 2015 Breeders' Cup at Keeneland! I guess this is one event you had to be quick & yet patient on the "keyboard". I give you credit for your tenacity! Sounds like you got really good seats near the winners circle! Thanks for sharing! :oD
  • PHOTOS BEFORE THE THOROUGHBRED CENTER TOUR BEGAN...

    imageWhile arriving at the parking lot with time to spare, we could see exercise riders and their horses walking out to the tracks for their morning workouts.

    imageHere we spot a horse being brought back to the stables from the training track where it had to walk through an underground tunnel. I suppose this is a good learning exercise for these horses in the future when they are led under the grandstands and out to the tracks when race day occurs.

    imageThe exercise rider and his mount now head up the hill, back to the stables.

    imageHere we see a couple of grooms washing down a horse after it's morning workout.

    imageA beautiful, flashy chestnut filly who spotted me taking her photo while she was having her white stockings rinsed off. I think she was posing for me.

    According to our tour description, we will be visiting with a trainer and learn about the care, equipment and methods used to keep the Thoroughbred horse in top racing condition. Since it is a training facility for racehorses only, broodmare, weanlings or show horses are not stabled at this facility.
    Reference: http://www.thoroughbred-center.com/

    As our group gathered, we were greeted by our tour guide Annette, a bubbly horsewoman who brought up our tour van to head out for an adventure. It was 9:00a in the morning, so we should definitely get to see some horses training on the tracks!

    imageOur group eagerly head into the van...hoping for an enjoyable experience.

    UP NEXT...SEEING SOME MORNING WORKOUTS AT THE TRAINING TRACKS...
  • WATCHING A COLORFUL PARADE OF MORNING WORKOUTS AT THE THOROUGHBRED CENTER TRAINING TRACK

    imageHanging around the outside rails at The Thoroughbred Center training tracks, we were fortunate on this tour to see several exercise riders entering the track for a morning workout.

    imageAhhh! Smiling faces from the exercise riders as they get closer to us. Oh! I hear sounds of hooves coming up from behind my left shoulder as the older gentleman from our tour group pulls out his camera.

    imageI turned around just in time to catch a blurred photo of two riders and their mounts come zipping by us!

    TRACK PROTOCOL...
    Here Annette described the protocol of track training to minimize the risk of accidents or injury to the staff and horses. While on the tracks, the fastest horses work along the inner rails running counter clockwise...these are horses that are galloping or breezing (breezing is about 40mph). Also running counter-clockwise are horses working on slower gaits doing pace work (cantering) and jogging (aka trotting) work along the middle width of the tracks. Horses who are walking do so along the outside rail of the track which may be clockwise or counterclockwise. In other words, horses who are not working fast are to keep towards the outside of the track. Although each track varies, at this particular training track, no more than three horses can work abreast doing their paces. All exercise riders must wear safety gear when working a horse on the tracks. All horses enter and exit at a certain designation point.

    Trivia: Annette informed us that the word "trot" is not used around here. The preferred verbiage for trot is "jog".

    imageA pair of female exercise riders putting their mounts through a workout !

    imageThe same pair of female exercise riders as they go zipping by us.

    imageAnother rider comes jogging by. I really like his fringed leather chaps!

    imageA passing view of the same rider and his mount.

    UP NEXT...GETTING TO TALK WITH ONE OF THE EXERCISE RIDERS...
  • KMMKMM Member
    I have a pair of vintage chaps. Don't think they are fringed, maybe 2003.
  • MEET BILLY AND SALLY ANN'S BUD!

    imageWe were fortunate that one of the exercise riders stopped by to chat with us. Here his mount is posing for my camera.

    At first glance, I thought the exercise rider was Calvin Borel...but he was a very nice, calm and friendly rider named Billy. He had just finished putting his mount, a 3 year old named Sally Ann's Bud (2012f) through a workout and stopped by the outside rails to chat with us as they cooled down. His mount Sally Ann's Bud was a real sweetheart and enjoyed the attention she was getting during this rest break.
    This is Sally Ann's Bud's pedigree: http://www.pedigreequery.com/sally+anns+bud

    imageBilly chats with us as Sally Ann's Bud sniffs around for some treats and was hoping to get some loving pats on her head. A real sweet girl!

    imageSally was listening in on our conversation with her alert ears going back and forth with our conversations. She had very calm, intelligent eyes...I bet she probably understood every word Billy was telling us. :oD

    imageOne of our tour members was able to give Sally some loving caresses which Sally thoroughly enjoyed! Too bad I couldn't bring out my baby carrots to feed her...I was busy taking photos.

    THE UNSUNG HERO...
    The exercise riders are the unsung heroes of the racing world. Owners, trainers and jockeys get the glory but the exercise rider is the foundation key on keeping the racehorse in top condition. Exercise riders are not paid a straight salary but per ride ($15-$20/ride sometimes up to $50/ride). (However, a few good exercise riders are kept on salary.) They'll ride 6 or 7 horses a day for approximately 5 hours. They work closely with the trainer of each horse in order to keep these horses in peak performance level. Sometimes the track work can be done within 20 minutes or can extend out to 45-50 minutes/per horse if they are asked to do outside road work by the trainer. Part of their responsibility is to inform the trainer on the condition of the horse during the workout. Some trainers will also give a percentage bonus if the horse hits the boards. Sometimes room & board are included as well.

    A video of the day of an Exercise Rider
    From Thoroughbred Times Video via YouTube.

    UP NEXT...VISITING THE BARN OF CAMERON FARMS.
  • VISITING A TRAINER AT BARN 28...CAMERON FARMS...

    imageAfter leaving the tracks, Annette drove us up to Barn 28 where a trainer was waiting for us.

    imageThis is Mike Cameron's Barn

    There are 32 barns scattered across the property at The Thoroughbred Center...along with 40 paddocks that range from a quarter of an acre to half an acre.

    Here's an on-line brochure of The Thoroughbred Center:
    http://www.thoroughbred-center.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/The-Making-of-a-Racehorse-full.pdf

    Inside Barn 28...A visit with Clintonville trainer and local talk show host, Mike Cameron. He has schooled hundreds of horses over the past 30 years, but currently, Tellalittlesecret is his one and only right now. Frankly, I was a bit disappointed in seeing the deteriorated conditions inside the barn even more so than 8 years ago! As mentioned earlier, we met Mike Cameron 8 years ago on our 2007 tour at The Thoroughbred Center, so I was hoping a different trainer would be talking to us this time to get a different perspective in training.

    imageMeet Tellalittlesecret (2006), a mare who is 9 years old with her trainer Mike Cameron.


    imageI felt bad for Tellalittlesecret, she looked thin and her ribs were showing. She's raced 52 times so far! However, she does have a pretty head with alert, bright eyes.

    imageCameron flips Tellalittlesecret's lips to show her tattoo

    When I mentioned to Cameron since Tellalittlesecret was 9-years old, she's at an age where she could be retired to perhaps be a broodmare. Cameron said: "Oh No! She's a money maker for me and gets on the board most of the time." With that said, I sort of lost interest in the rest that Cameron had to say. I hoped in my heart that someone would claim her and retire her from racing where she could relax and fatten up at a farm-like environment instead...perhaps be a mama as well. She didn't look healthy in my amateur eyes.
    This is Tellalittlesecret's pedigree: http://www.pedigreequery.com/tellalittlesecret

    imageTellalittlesecret refused to eat my baby carrots! Cameron thought I had sprayed perfume on the baby carrots and I said no it was straight out of the original plastic bag the carrots came in. So, he walked back to his feed room to bring out a carrot that had it's outer skin still on. He gave me that carrot and Tellalittlesecret ate the carrot without hesitation. Everyone laughed and said she likes her carrots unrefined...real with skin and all!

    BACK TRACK 8 YEARS AGO TO APRIL 2007 IN BARN 28...
    imageThis is Cameron's racehorse from 8 years ago named Sultry Mood (1996 gelding) who was 11-years old at the time!

    Sultry Mood started 73 times in claiming races! He was a tall horse at 17.2 hands high. According to Cameron, Sultry Mood is very competitive. When he loses a race, he gets all depressed and doesn't want to eat for a week. But when he wins, he gloats over his success!
    This is Sultry Mood's pedigree chart: http://www.pedigreequery.com/sultry+mood

    imageSultry Mood listens in on the conversation but looks bored.

    According to Cameron, race horses can race from 2 years to 12+ years of age. Note: There is no maximum age limit for racing a thoroughbred. For a racing horse, Mike feeds his horses a high protein diet consisting of grain & hay.

    imageAs Mike continued speaking with us, Sultry Mood kept cribbing and nipping at Mike's shirt to get attention. Here is a blurred photo of Sultry Moon pulling at Mike's shirt when he was trying to talk to us. Sultry Mood was a real ham!

    How old is too old for a racehorse?
    http://www.drf.com/news/how-old-too-old-racehorse

    UP NEXT...THE OTHER HORSES IN THE BARN...
  • THE OTHER HORSES IN BARN 28...
    There were 3 other horses in the barn who were owned by someone else. I assume they rented or leased stall space from Cameron. As my attention strayed away from listening to Mike Cameron, I was very intrigued at the flashy sabino that had just returned to the barn. I found out from the exercise rider that her name was Painted Princess.

    imagePainted Princess was brought in from a workout with her buddy Livin A Prayer greeting her stable mate.

    imageThis is Painted Princess (2012), with her tack removed. She is a flashy filly out of Turf Club (2005) by Steven Got Even (1996).

    imageThis is a better view showing Painted Princess and her interesting markings.

    imageHere is Painted Princess having a conversation with her neighbor...Livin A Prayer through the small opening in the common wall between them.

    imageLivin A Prayer (2011 filly) was Painted Princess's neighbor. Apparently, they were pasture buddies since they were young and are inseparable. Here she is looking back at Painted Princess through the small opening in the stall wall.

    As Mike Cameron went on to explain other aspects of training, etc., Livin A Prayer began putting up a noisy ruckus. Apparently, Painted Princess was taken outside to have a vet check on her and get her teeth floated. Livin A Prayer began panicking! Livin A Prayer knew what it meant when a vet comes by and was afraid the vet took her buddy away. Livin A Prayer started pacing her stall and causing a non-stop disturbance. As a result, the vet and handler had to bring Painted Princess back into her stall to calm down Livin A Prayer while getting her teeth treated.

    This is Painted Princess's pedigree: http://www.pedigreequery.com/painted+princess3
    This is Livin A Prayer's pedigree: http://www.pedigreequery.com/livin+a+prayer

    imageA panicked Livin A Prayer tries to look for her friend, Painted Princess through a small opening between the stall wall they shared.

    imagePoor Livin A Prayer panics when she can't find her buddy in the adjoining stall! Here she looks outside her stall for her buddy between loud whinnies that interrupted our meeting with Mike.

    imageWith all the noise and ruckus caused by Livin A Prayer, Camalu (2011f), a filly belonging to another trainer, also looks out to see where her stablemate, Painted Princess was as well.

    imageFortunately, by being able to see her buddy in her stall, Livin A Prayer calms down. This is Livin A Prayer's pretty head and interesting, irregular blaze. I was finally able to share my baby carrots with Livin A Prayer, Painted Princess and the chestnut filly, Camalu...they didn't mind baby carrots at all, not like Tellalittlesecret!

    This is Camalu's pedigree: http://www.pedigreequery.com/camalu2

    image"Hey! Do you have carrots? I know you have carrots!" says Camalu.

    image"Okay...who left the stinky wheel barrel in front of my stall!" Note the "rustic" environment surrounding Camalu in the barn.

    imageAnd last but not least...meet Buster, the deaf barn mouser!

    As we parted from the barn and thanked Mike Cameron for his time, Annette came up to me and asked me what coat color I had earlier called Painted Princess once again. I said I think she's a sabino. Annette quickly responded, yes! That is her coat color! Most other visitors would have just called her a pinto. She was surprised how a person from Hawaii knew this particular detail as well as show an interest in thoroughbred horseracing. Hey hey, I didn't tell her I learned most of my information thanks to our Forum! :oD

    UP NEXT...MORE SIGHTS AT THE THOROUGHBRED CENTER
  • MORE SIGHTS AT THE THOROUGHBRED CENTER

    imageAs we headed to another area of the Thoroughbred Center, we passed by the starting gates that are used for training. It was unfortunate that no one was working a horse at the gates at the time.

    imageInteresting tractor wheel tread patterns...like an abstract work of art!

    imageA tractor with a float which is dragged along the track to help compress the dirt to encourage the drying process on a muddy track before they harrow it. We've had passing thunderstorms so the training track was probably a bit muddy today.

    What do you get when you have 1000+ horse stalls?...you get a lot of horse manure mixed with hay! Check out the accumulated mountain of hay and poop! Luckily, this waste by-product is gathered, then packed into large bales to be sent to mushroom growers or used as fertilizer.

    Trivia: Pennsylvania grows 47% of mushrooms in the US. China grows more mushroom that the U.S. and the Netherlands comes in 3rd.

    imageThis is the huge mountain of horse manure we saw at the collecting area of the farm!...Just HUGE!

    imageThe manure/hay is compressed into manageable bales to be shipped to the mushroom growers, or used as fertilizer elsewhere.

    UP NEXT...AN EQUINE SWIMMING POOL!
  • I'm really enjoying all the inside info, @PG! However, like you, I am disgusted by the trainer of Tellalittlesecret! WTH! She looks awful and his attitude sounds a lot like Jacobson. So how long is he going to run her, I wonder? I certainly hope he considers letting her live a nice horse life where she can run free and have friends and maybe babies. Why do so many just run them until they get hurt or worse. I feel really sorry for her and have zero respect for him.
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