On a day when the autumn sun couldn’t quite seem to find its full strength, my husband and I stepped off a bus and into a buzzing crowd at Keeneland for the 2015 Breeder’s Cup. The trip had been planned for weeks – it was a birthday present and culmination of a girlhood wish to see a Triple Crown winner in a race. I had grown up on stories on that divine creature who broke records and created legends, Secretariat. There had been the fictional autobiography of Walter Farley’s Man o’ War, the story of the other immortal “Big Red”, that was often found beneath my pillows and was a constant companion through my childhood years when a horse or farm couldn’t be found. There would be other books that would line my bookshelves with the likes of Marguerite Henry and Mary O’Hara but it was the stories about the blooded horse, the Thoroughbred, that were often found around my room and worn with time, lovingly read again and again as a hunger to know more about this majestic animal grew.
By the time I attended Keeneland in October 2015, coming to Lexington felt like coming home. Though the rolling hills of Bluegrass I imagined so much were faded after another summer, I was still enchanted. Driving past the white and red colors of historic Calumet Farm, the jewel of the Bluegrass, sent chills up my spine and then to see a crowd of more than fifty-thousand people standing shoulder to shoulder, back to back trying to get as close as they could to that white rail and to the bay horse in blue and yellow silks who was there to write another legend was like nothing I had ever experienced before. The hum that was so tangible in the air and grew race after race was electrifying and as the crowd grew louder as the 2015 Triple Crown champion made his way onto the track, I knew that this was where I was meant to be – among these beautiful animals and the people who cared so deeply for them and the sport they represented.
This blog is for the regally bred horse who has been so carefully cultivated over the centuries. It is for their stories and their lineage and the battles they won on dirt or turf, over sprints and miles, of the valiant losses and timeless duels, and for the people who have dedicated their lives and love to the breed.
Recently featured in the Southern Gaming Magazine (Pat Day article)