Posts Tagged With: racing


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Yesterday, we concentrated on the barns at Keeneland Race Track, the workers washing, walking and prepping their animals. We met owner/trainer Greg Burchell and the type of affection and dedication you see among horses and their humans. Above a beautiful, graceful animal with two hundred years of breeding and pedigree enters the track. Follow along with us and watch through our lens.

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Notice two different types of saddles. The trainer has a conventional saddle, the exerciser behind him, has a light weight, practically bareback saddle. Trainers often ride a different breed of horse while training. They amble onto the track and discuss what expensive, precious horse needs to focus on.

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The exercisers cantor and post around the track until the horse is warmed up.

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The position of the feet is high on the saddle. The rider is positioned as though sitting in a chair.

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Then they get moving.

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Then they get moving a bit faster.

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There is a good bit of camaraderie among the exercisers, but for the most part, it is a solitary task between horse and human.

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Grace on the move. This rider carries a short whip and may be training her charge to the whip, though we watched and didn’t see her use it.

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At times the exercisers work together, imitating a race.

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Of course, what we like to see is those special moments when the horses are hell-bent for leather, but our cameras and our skills at photographing fast moving objects are somewhat limited but I got a few credible moments.

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The trouble is, if you catch the horse just gathering for the next lengthening of those legs, it looks like he is going to land on his bent ankles or toss his rider in some other pictures I took.

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They’re flying.

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We walked and took pictures the length of the track. This is right in front of the grandstand. It was hard to leave, so fun and so beautiful.

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We did though. We ran into Jim Cornes, an animal physical therapist. A much-needed guy on a race track. I asked him how he got interested in healing horses and he said his mother took him to Saratoga Race Track to watch the races. He was young and small and thought he’d like to be a jockey. His mother read all the horror stories about jockey injuries and kept discouraging any thought of it until she began to realize how much money they make. But, then he grew about two feet and the point was moot. He is addicted to the race track atmosphere, the horses the excitement. Can’t beat that if you love your job.

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There is always an equine ambulance near the track, even during everyday exercises and training. It lowers at the back like a moving van.

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Jim and I wandered into the grandstand and looked around. No racing now, so everything is empty.

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A one minute lesson on how it is done.

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People come here to bet the races from all over the country when and watch from these television screens. This is called simulcasting. It is very popular and it would have been nice to mingle with the crowds. Maybe another track someday.

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A beautiful building.

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Like an ivy covered college.

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Two-hundred pound cement jockies carry the colors for the racers for that day so a bettor can identify his horse from the color of his “silks” from the worst, and highest seat in the grandstand.

We had a wonderful time at the track. Very cool!

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We typically rise before the sun, but not all sunrises are as beautiful as this one where we are parked at Keeneland Race Track. The grounds are lovely here, with a lot of room to park the motor home. DSC05771 (Copy)

We walked up to the Track Kitchen at 7:00 for a hearty breakfast. Along the roads at Keeneland, you don’t find fallen leaves. It’s horse manure. Aren’t I gross? Bloggers will take a picture of anything. Truthfully, the birds call it breakfast, only I didn’t catch the birds.

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The barns stretch out on both sides of the main road to the track. The horses get exercised several mornings a week. A groom bathes this beauty while the hot walker holds the reins.  (Left click to make pictures larger.)

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I looked back, and the hot walker was kissing his charge. The horse is now wet and soapy up on his thighs, and the groom is working his tail. These horses are treated like princesses.

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An exercise girl is just returning her horse to the barn.

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She turns the horse over to the grooms. After a bath, a hot walker, walks the horse in a circle for about 30 minutes to settle down after the run.

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And if the horse is lucky, he or she will get a nibble of grass before being returned to a stall.

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Dozing in a bit of sunlight shining into his stall, waiting for an attendant to feed him or give him a treat.

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Each groom has to get rid of the old straw each day and replace it with new straw. It was steaming in the crisp cold of morning.

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The horses so beautiful, the workers so practiced and fast, I just didn’t tire of watching them.

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The horses and riders came streaming in groups back from the track. We thought we’d missed the exercise, but one girl told us that they were coming in for a break and would start again in 10 minutes.

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Always, the wrapped cannon, and ankles,  the most vulnerable part of a race horse.

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The exercise saddle is almost like riding bareback.

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Then another horse comes in from the track with leather blinders to keep the horse focused and free of distractions.  Only his back ankles were wrapped. I guess each trainer and horse gets individual attention, but whatever is needed.

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I watched him turn into the barn and couldn’t believe how fast the groom removed the wrappings.

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A good view of the soapy hooves.

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In the adjacent barn, a groom was allowing his charge to nibble fresh grass. The horses love that. I asked who the owner was. He told me Greg Burchell and pointed to a stall.

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Greg is an owner trainer and he was feeding his horses grapes for a treat. The horse is blurry in this photo but the pure joy on Greg’s  face is clear. He invited us to pet the horses.

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Horses are such intelligent animals. They return your affection.

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If you’ve never been tempted to nuzzle the soft nose of a horse, you can’t imagine what a pleasure that is.  He loves his horses and it shows.

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She wanted more grapes, but all I could offer was a salty hand to lick. She brought her owners a million dollars. But the cost to care for them is horrific.

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Then he introduced us to Sticks, a young horse of unusual height at 17.2 hands. He had the groom turn her around.

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He checked her feet.


And we got a good look at her. A real beauty. He says she has injured herself on the stall because she is too tall for the stall. And,  tall for a thoroughbred. She is named for one of the owners and Greg’s good friend who carries Stick for a nick-name.

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We finally got to the track where we met Ashley, a medical technician. A lovely job for a young girl. She worked as an Emergency Medical Tech for the fire department.  Now, she works the races, much more exciting. She sometimes rides the race with the horses in a van. She is there to see to an injured rider.

We didn’t get a correct website for Greg and hope to have it tomorrow when we’ll share our race track photos.

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There are three major stories about the Corvette.  In 1953 Chevrolet designed a sports car modeled after European sports cars. Veterans returning from Europe talked about racy European sports cars and those young vets were the intended market. The Corvette design was nifty but it had no speed or power. It was about to flop.

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A bold engineer by the name of Zora Arkus Duntov had the temerity to write to Chevrolet and tell them what was wrong with their car and made several suggestions of how they could improve it. They listened and invited him to meet with them. He was hired and became their head designer from then on. It was Duntov who made the Corvette the successful First American Sports Car that it became.

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The second major component of this museum is the Corvette Owners, the clubs, their support and loyalty to their dream car. The Museum is a non-profit, by the way. Corvette Clubs from all over the U.S. come here, they donate their cars, their patches, parts, etc. They are active in their clubs. Ralleys, parades, mystery cruises, all the fun stuff, but they also participate in charities, making money for great causes. NCM Master Ambassador Club fly Vietnam Veterans, who cannot make it on their own, to Washington D.C. to visit the Vietnam Memorial.  The Museum,  gives a discount to vets and does other things for vets. They have programs for children and great displays associated with the Corvette.

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They have a huge number of commemorative benches and sidewalk plaques and bricks around this huge building. Quite a place.

1969 Orange Blossom Express raced from 1972-2001

The third major story is Corvette’s entrance into the racing field. Above is the front end of the 1969 Orange Blossom Express, one of the most successful racers they produced.

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The Orange Blossom raced from 1972 until 2001. It garnered a tremendous record of wins along the way.

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This is my favorite Corvette, the rounded back, the convertible top, the sleek, longer front. When I was young, this is what a Corvette was supposed to look like.

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And this little beauty, a close second.

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There are many different Corvettes here and car buffs will absolutely love this place.

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This sexy model with its lift up door simply looks like a smiling gargoyle to me. But, it was a great design as I remember for women to enter with short skirts without having to cram themselves in through a tiny door.

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Sleek and speedy. Resembles a bomb. The word zoom just crawls out of your head.

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This one resembles a mass of bubbles.

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Eventually, they got wire wheels.

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A square back. Naaah, not for me. But, it might be your favorite.

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The only Corvette we saw in the place with a bra and a rack. It was considered a camping sports car.  I see a face and smile, besides.

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A sleek bomb.

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This was Duntov’s autographed car with his license, Zora 1.

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And, the original 1953 model was pretty and snazzy for all of its faults. Look at those whitewalls and that cherry red upholstery. Yazoo!

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Corvette decided to lend its sleek design to a guitar, but they didn’t stick with it.

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The license plate collection.

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The patches.

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A wonderful mural made of tiny pictures of Corvettes.

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And this amazing story. This 1965 Corvette was stolen in 1970. It was in show condition and its pedigree showed it had been in many car shows. The last buyer checked, found out it had been stolen and by some miracle the original report existed and the original owner got his Corvette back in 2009 worth a lot more than he paid for it. It is now in the museum. Isn’t that a terrific story? Well, folks, do come to visit, this is a terrific museum.

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