Sunday, November 13, 2011

Beautiful Bluegrass: Final Day

The Breeders’ Cup had come to a close. The Sunday after the championships was the final day of my trip to Kentucky. I had a few hours to spare and my mom and I spent most of them at Lane’s End Farm in Versailles.
We arrived at the beautiful farm, strolling up to one of the three stallion barns. There stood Stephen Got Even, the winner of the Donn Handicap (GI) in 2000. The fifteen-year-old stallion posed for pictures, standing placidly as fans gathered around him.
Twirling Candy
Photo by Mary Cage
When Stephen Got Even returned to his stall, my mother and I headed to the next barn. Outside the main barn, a tall, dark horse that was race-fit paraded for many fans. It was Twirling Candy. He had only arrived at Lane’s End the day before.
After watching Twirling Candy for a bit, we headed into the main barn. On the first stall to my right, I recognized a tall bay with a very long and thick forelock. I didn’t have to read the nameplate on the stall; the forelock gave the horse’s identity away. It was the brilliant Quality Road. I’d seen him on the track before, but to be able to touch and meet him was amazing.
I knew who was in the next stall before I even reached it. I had remembered where A.P. Indy had been stabled. I ambled up to the stall and stroked the champion’s nose. I felt a smile come to my face as I greeted my favorite stallion. Though he is now pensioned, A.P. Indy is still the king of Lane’s End.

Photo by Mary Cage
I left A.P. Indy’s stall with one thing on my mind: Curlin. I remembered where the chestnut’s stall was and I headed that way. I arrived just in time to see a handler lead him out of his stall.
I watched with awe as Curlin stood before his fans. The chestnut was quite the spectacle and I was overjoyed to see him again.

Once Curlin was put away, I had to go see one of my other favorites, Pleasantly Perfect. I headed toward the barn I knew he was stabled in and sure enough, I arrived at his barn just in time. I walked up to the striking bay and took my picture with him as I wore my Pleasantly Perfect hat.
After looking around at the other stallions, I ran into fellow blogger Bunny from Bits N' Bunny. It was great to meet someone close to my age who, like me, is enthralled by horse racing. We chatted for a while about ourselves, horse racing, and just horses in general until my mother realized it was time to leave.
As we headed out, I stopped by A.P. Indy’s stall one last time, stroking his nose and telling him I loved him. I didn’t know when I would return and wanted to make sure I told him goodbye.
It wasn’t long after telling A.P. Indy goodbye that I was on a plane, about to leave the bluegrass. The words of My Old Kentucky Home rang in my head as the airplane sped down the runway. As the plane left the ground, six words from the song were on my mind: “My old Kentucky home, far away…”

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