Breeders' Cup Backstretch Snapshots

Greetings from Churchill Downs, two days out from the 2011 Breeders' Cup World Championships!

It was a chilly morning in Louisville as I roamed the barns, talking with trainers of the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (gr. IIT) contenders, but those frigid early hours have melted into a beautiful and mild afternoon. I thought I would share a few snapshots from this morning:

Pearl the goat all bundled up

BC Classic contender Havre de Grace, surveying the track before her gallop


Trainer Larry Jones aboard Havre de Grace

Exercise rider Shannon aboard her track pony "Louie"

Exercise rider Chase Miller with Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint contender Havelock

Early morning backstretch scene

New Zealand-bred BC Turf contender Hoofit, in trainer Graham Motion's barn

Morning bath time


Leave a Comment:

backside sweetie

I really enjoy the backside photos,brings back lots of memories,thanks so much for sharing these with us.

02 Nov 2011 7:52 PM

love the goat!!

02 Nov 2011 11:17 PM
Love 'em all

What a delightful treat for us!  Thank you.

The cutest pic is, of course, the goat in the coat!  Too funny.

Getting excited for Friday and Saturday races, and wish them all the very best.

03 Nov 2011 9:25 AM
Dawn in MN


I love the photos.  This is the part of Thoroughbred racing that is where all the blood, sweat and tears are invested to produce champions.  My deepest respect goes out to the people like Chase, Shannon, and Larry Jones who work so hard to make the horses comfortable and do all the really hard labor to get them ready.  Even Pearl the goat has an important role.  Thanks for this look at the backside of the Breeders Cup and Churchill Downs.

03 Nov 2011 11:33 AM
Susan from VA

Please don't think this is ignorant, but isn't it kind of chilly to get a bath in this weather?  I'm sure the horses are hot and sweaty (but not as much as in warm weather) and their coats are probably clipped, and that they'll be covered with a cooler or something, but STILL, it makes me shiver to see the last photo!

03 Nov 2011 12:23 PM

Its the people the horses the cute goat!  

Thanks for the photos.

Loved 'em.

03 Nov 2011 1:48 PM
Karen in Texas

Nice backside photos! Pearl the goat certainly looks well fed!

03 Nov 2011 5:28 PM
A Horsey Canuck

Esther, how lucky are you to be on the backside of CD at this time? How lucky are WE that you shared your experience with us in pictures. My favourites are Pearl in her exquisite, cozy goat-sized coat and Havre de Grace surveying her "kingdom". I hope that she runs tomorrow, with her ears up like that, leaving the "boys" in her dust! The people and the animals (like Shannon, Louie and Chase) in your photos are the actual stars of this BC show. Enjoy the weekend..hope you get a chance to share some more photos with us! Good luck to all for safe trips!

04 Nov 2011 5:54 AM
Stephi S.

Susan, it is not harmful to give a horse a hot bath in winter weather as long as the bath water is hot and the horse is covered immediately after scraping the excess water off. Remember, these horses come in from exercise all sweated up and the sweat and dirt must be removed as soon as possible. The horse is still producing a lot of heat from their bodies at this point and the hot water does not chill them at all. The heat from his body while he is walking will dry him under the cooler long before he is put in his stall. And when he is put in, he will have a blanket or cooler on and will be nice and warm, and dry. So don't worry, they are fine.

05 Nov 2011 1:10 PM

Boo hoo hoo, Uncle Mo's owner must be the worst loser of all times. They found a blood disorter to blame this time, instead of blaming their poor efforts and planning.  Let's put UMo to race Pearl the goat, maybe he will eventually win. Nooope, i bet Pearly is tonnes gutsier than him... :))))

08 Nov 2011 11:54 AM

One of the funniest moments of the week, to me, was coming upon Pearl---and finding that with zillions of dollars' worth of famous horses around, everyone was reaching for their cell phones to take pictures of Pearl.  That was one personable little goat!

Thanks for the memories.  These are the real world---backstage at the Breeders Cup.

09 Nov 2011 9:45 PM


13 Nov 2011 8:58 AM

Lynx i would even breed Pearl the goat to UM.He went from as fit as can be to another blood disorder in 2 mins.  

15 Nov 2011 8:19 PM

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