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The Blood-Horse recently did a feature on Claiborne Farm as they celebrate their 100th anniversary this year. I sat in on author Lenny Shulman’s interview from the June 5th issue with Dell and Seth Hancock. After the interview we did a driving tour around the farm. Sitting in on the interview and viewing the farm gave me insights into the history and ideas for photographs.

A week after the interview, I spent an afternoon and evening photographing the Paris, Ky., farm. While it’s a traditional, working horse farm, the beauty and character of the farm appear everywhere you go.Famous Barn
My tour guide mapped out a plan starting with the stallions and stallion barns, before moving onto the mares and foals and then the yearlings. So much personality. The timing was perfect as mares and foals decided to run across a field to the water tanks. A group of yearlings played in a stream of water. Another group of yearlings, napping in a field of clover, only looked up to see who was approaching before lying back down.

Click here to view my full slideshow of Claiborne Farm.

Two weeks later, I planned a weekend of shooting at Churchill Downs, where Claiborne Farm’s Blame would be one of the favorites in the Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I).

The weekend started with the Downs After Dark night racing program at Churchill. Fun night out! Disco and the 70s was the night’s theme. Employees and fans dressed in 70s garb, including the big hair, glitter and platform shoes. Live bands, DJs, and dancing were on every level as a crowd of 25,000 plus enjoyed the evening.
Churchill Downs Night Racing
Photos opportunities were abundant. I started with fans and atmosphere. Lounges set up by the paddock were very popular. Dancing started on the first floor with fans in costume dancing. As the sun went down I started shooting the upper levels and the dancing, plus the spires and colored disco lights. With darkness I concentrated on the horsemen and racing, getting various race angles. The paddock had lots of shadows as horses worked their way through it.

Click here to view my entire slideshow from Stephen Foster Weekend at Churchill Downs.

Day racing at Churchill on Saturday was under extreme heat and humidity. While transmitting images between races, I left my cameras in a locked area outside. Otherwise cameras fogged up when I left the air conditioned work area.

Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra was the star of the undercard, winning easily and in an impressive time in the Fleur de Lis (gr. II). It was good to see the connections posing and looking relaxed after the win.

WinStar won a maiden 2-year-old race with Blue Orleans and then remained in the winners circle for a presentation. Trainer Todd Pletcher, jockey Calvin Borel and WinStar Farm were honored for Super Saver’s Kentucky Derby win.  Doug Cauthen with WinStar asked for a group photo of the WinStar team, farm employees and family. Their team has had great success this spring.

The Stephen Foster had a stellar field and a great finish as Adele Dilschneider’s and Claiborne’s Blame made a late run to win over pacesetter Battle Plan.
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Click here to view my entire slideshow from Stephen Foster Weekend at Churchill Downs.

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