A Visit With Havre de Grace

Owner Rick Porter offered fans a special opportunity to visit with his filly Havre de Grace at Vinery near Lexington, Ky., on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011.

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Vinery opened up their farm to fans for two hours on a beautiful, breezy afternoon in Central Kentucky. A Vinery spokesperson said the 4-year-old Saint Liam filly stopped over in Lexington for the fan visit at Mr. Porter’s request. Among those who came out for the filly viewing were local fans and media, some visitors in town for the Keeneland November sales and others from out of town, including a couple who drove in from New Jersey just to see the filly.

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Havre de Grace will travel on to Vinery Florida soon where she will have a break before resuming training with Larry Jones in the new year.

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While in her stall at Vinery fans took photos and petted the racing star. Havre de Grace then was paraded outside in front of fans, and stopped to graze every so often. Fans received Havre de Grace souvenirs and refreshments complimentary of Porter and Vinery.

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What a nice day..Wish I could have made it..big shout out to Rick Porter for sharing his filly with the fans.She deserves a vacation and I really hope she gets HOY!She did travel and compete at the highest levels all season long..her 4th wide and bumped in the Classic should not be held against her..she showed up!!

12 Nov 2011 7:00 PM
Alexandra Boyd

That's so cool. It's really awesome that after the success with Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta. People are starting to give fillies and mares the attention they deserve. Before they would be done racing then be forgot about once they were broodmares. I think it's absolutely awesome. Havre de grace is such a beautiful mare. Its so great that these girls are getting a lot of attention. Love all the fillies and mares past and present.

12 Nov 2011 7:03 PM

She's so beautiful. Zenyatta built her fan base over several years. If having strangers up close doesn't upset her, looks like Grace will charm us all too. Soon she'll have all the peppermints and carrots that are safe for her to eat. Kudos to Mr. Porter for giving us a chance to know "her".

12 Nov 2011 7:21 PM

Thank you for thinking of her fans. Well done, Mr. Porter.

12 Nov 2011 7:30 PM

Classy mare. Classy owner. HOY!

12 Nov 2011 7:44 PM

What a wonderful gesture!  It means so much to the fans to have an opportunity to bond with our racing stars and even though I'm several states away, I think this is great!  Thank you for sharing the photos!

12 Nov 2011 9:55 PM

She is such a beautiful mare. I sure hope she gets horse of the year. It would be great seeing the fillies and mares dominating the horse of the year status, over the last three years, if Havre De Grace takes it this year. It's about time, the girls get attention. I love them all.

12 Nov 2011 10:28 PM

What a wonderful opportunity - I wish I could have shared in the experience.

Like Rachael and Zenyatta, Havre De Grace eminates energy that is loved by all.  Horse of the Year to a third female in a row - would truly bring the progress filly/mare contribution to the forefront of horseraceing.

13 Nov 2011 12:13 AM

Wish I knew about this open house.  I live right here in Lexington and would have loved to visit Havre de Grace.  I have visited with Rachel once, and apparently, the public is not allowed to visit with Zenyatta, whom I truly adore.  Thanks for posting these pics!

13 Nov 2011 4:37 AM

How lovely of Mr. Porter to let racing fans and horse lovers see his magnificent filly, the 2011 Thoroughbred Horse of the Year, I hope!

13 Nov 2011 5:28 AM
Animal Lover

Havre de Grace looks like a mighty princess warrior.    I am hoping to see her race next year.  i am happy some fans got to see her, wish I could have made it..Thanks for sharing the powerful and gorgeous Havre de Grace.

13 Nov 2011 7:01 AM

What a fabulous gesture on Rick Porter's part. How I wish I could have been there. She seems to enjoy her fans and to be able to get that close is a tribute to Larry Jones and his handling of her. I loved the photos which showed her "look at me" attitude. I too, hope she receives HOTY.

13 Nov 2011 8:34 AM

Grace is such a hard knocking filly. I have all the respect in the world for her and her connections. I'm happy they attempted the Classic, and despite the fact that she finished a troubled fourth, I believe she did enough this year to garner HOY honors. She defeated two of the best in Blind Luck and Flat Out, and when you combine that with her travel and superior performances, it's difficult to place another horse ahead of her. They all have their pros and cons, and I'm not just saying this because she is a filly, but I truly feel she did the most overall this calendar year. Kudos to Mr. Porter for sharing his very special girl with the fans. Racing needs more gestures of that sort. The closer we can get...the more we will fall in love.

13 Nov 2011 11:58 AM
Love 'em all

Another wonderful Sunday treat ... and such great pics of the beautiful "Grace".

Looks like lots of fun for all that day.  Thanks so much for sharing with us.

13 Nov 2011 12:16 PM

I am a very loyal fan of Zenyatta and visit her website each day. For past several months I have also been eager each day to visit HDG facebook page for updates and the great webcam videoes. I even took the day off work to watch HDG in the Classic where she was fearless under difficult circumstances. I truely respect Larry Jones who loves his fillies. To this day I carry the Derby ticket in my wallet when Eight Belles ran. I echo all comments here... yes HDG deserves HOY!

13 Nov 2011 12:34 PM
Jennifer in Columbia

What a great thing to do for the fans! Thank you Mr. Porter!

The last three years in this sport have been all about the fillies and mares because they actually race, which provides the fans with an ongoing story. Without Goldikova, Rachel, Zenyatta, Blind Luck, and Havre de Grace the sport would be in dire need of star power. Here's hoping that Grace has a fabulous season next year.

Thank you for racing her another year Mr. Porter and for sharing her with the fans!

13 Nov 2011 1:09 PM

I'm glad Porter allowed this for HDG.   This is what brings in the fans.    It's always so great when you let the fans touch and feel up close their favorite stars.

13 Nov 2011 1:48 PM
Stellar Jayne

It is wonderful to have owners like Mr. Porter and trainers like Larry Jones who truly appreciate special horses like Havre de Grace and take excellent care of them.  I'm sure Saint Liam is proud of her - she looks so much like him.

Thank you for sharing her with us.

13 Nov 2011 1:49 PM

This was fantastic and it is great that fans and others were given the opportunkty to spend some nice moments with a current horseracing star.  More and more owners and connections of the horses that race need to do this, to give the fans opportunities to meet and take pics with their favorite horses.  It s good for everyone and is also good for the sport!

Havre de Grace is an exceptionally lovely and talented filly and wish her the best in the upcoming months.

Love & Blessings

LouAnn Cingel of Union, Missouri

13 Nov 2011 2:11 PM
Sue MacGray

I'm so glad Mr. Porter arranged for this. Havre de Grace is a gorgeous and talented filly and I look forward to seeing her run again next year. I'm also glad that other owners are taking a page from the Moss/Shirreffs notebook by making their beautiful stars available for us to meet and see personally. Someone above put it very well, by saying that these types of events allow us to know and fall in love with racing's stars. I think it's necessary to grow the sport and keep the stars in the public eye.

13 Nov 2011 3:02 PM
Linda in Texas

Havre de Grace is simply stunning. So regal and proud and aware of all that is around her. i guess when she sees a few people,perhaps she thinks she is headed to the racetrack and is 100 percent on!

You know i truly cannot and should not judge one better, more handsome, more beautiful or faster or whatever than the next one.

I love them all. Especially the ones who always give it their best

effort no matter what track or how much the purse is.

Be safe Havre de Grace.

13 Nov 2011 3:43 PM

Great photos Anne! Thanks for sharing them with us!

13 Nov 2011 5:57 PM

Thank you for the blog and great photos.  It is always wonderful to see owners make their horses accessible to the fans.  I thank the Mosses for "paving the way" with Zenyatta along with the Jacksons for their "Meet Rachel" events and Mike Repole for having an Uncle Mo day in New York this Spring.  Horse racing is losing its luster, and at a time when most horses are retired from racing at age 3, the sport needs to find ways to keep the interest of current fans alive and bring new fans to the game.  Allowing people to meet these superstars is a terrific way to promote the sport.  I think WinStar has the right idea with their club (I love the Colonel John web cam.) along with tours and events at the farm.  I hope other farms follow in their footsteps in the future.  Living in Lexington I have been spoiled getting to see the likes of Zenyatta, Rachel and most recently Blind Luck.  I regret that I was unable to see Havre de Grace on Saturday.  I am excited that Mr. Porter will be racing her in 2012 and look forward to having the opportunity to see her at the track next year.  I hope that she will have a safe and successful campaign that will lead her to a win in the BC Classic at Santa Anita.  In the meantime, I am certain that Grace is enjoying her well deserved time off and I am keeping my fingers crossed that she will receive the Horse of the Year honors at the Eclipse awards in January!

13 Nov 2011 8:47 PM

I was lucky enough to see HdG on Saturday. I was expecting to see a fantastic racehorse but had no idea that I'd see such a personable mare!  She would greet all her adoring fans,sometimes hanging her head on their shoulders, sometimes looking inquisitively (but always gently) for a hidden treat. The sound of a wrapper, even half way across the barn, that might hold a peppermint would have her attention in a split second. And she was totally fascinated by a couple of small children that were there.  The sight of HdG hanging her head over the webbing and putting it down at eye level for the little kids brought spontaneous "aahs" from the crowd.  Wish someone had a good picture of her greeting one little boy... that could have been an award winner.  My deepest thanks to all connected with Havre de Grace for letting the public have a chance to meet this great mare. Such thoughtfulness and hospitality is deeply appreciated and is such a positive light on the racing world.

13 Nov 2011 11:55 PM


14 Nov 2011 3:24 AM
Old Horse Lover

Thank you to the owners who are allowing the fans an upclose and personal with these wonderful horses.That goes along way when you let the public get some touch time with the horses that stir interest in horse racing.

14 Nov 2011 10:27 AM

HDG ran very well in all her races this year she is my 2nd pick for HOY.If the writers claim avoidance(of east coast races) and overthink HOY then Acclamation wont get HOY, of course this is IMO.She will get another shot next year in the classic barring unexpected circumstances,and just like big Z she is ultra consistent.

14 Nov 2011 1:46 PM

I couldn't be there - a long way from Canada - but thank you to Mr. Porter anyway. We need more people willing to do this kind of thing. Fans come back to see at the track top-class horses they've had a chance to actually meet and enjoy close up. As always, Rick Porter appreciates the fans who love his horses. Now - if the powers that be will just make her HOY ... She's got my vote - hands down!

14 Nov 2011 4:25 PM


I HATE 2 sound "HARSH" , but I wish u guys would QUIT acting like

there have NEVER been a group of

FILLIES and MARES that  have gotten their "PROPS"

the business as a WHOLE has a



is one of the few that


and RICK PORTER has stepped up VERY NICELY


Some of u MAY NOT be AWARE of

the long LIST of SERIOUS race mares

in the past, PRESENT, and RECENT years leading up to this "so called"



ENGLAND's "super- filly" and LADY'S SECRET, and OPEN MIND, BAYAKOYA, PASEANA, LITE LITE vs MEADOW STAR , and the list of

NYRA FILLY TRIPLE CROWN winners thsat includes


and perhaps the BEST of the BEST

GO FOR WAND ... oh yeah and there are the DERBY WINNERS GENUINE RISK and her  contemporary  BOLD N' DETERMINED and WINNING COLORS ,

and if botheres to CRACK OPEN a book or do some research

how about SILVERBULLETDAY, BANSHEE BREEZE , RIBOLETTA, SURFSIDE, BEAUTIFUL PLEASURE and SPAIN horses that may have "canceled each other out  because they ran against one ANOTHER at about the same time,

I guess it takes a MAN


what's REALLY GOING on..

BUT  what do u EXPECT

when the SPORT is promoted


I hope to CHANGE that...

REAL soon


on that LIST I just kicked out

next time,

Ill clue you on some more

but YEAH

the pics are NICE

and I would agree  in TEPID

fashion that HARVE is the leader

in a year in an "uncertain"  

and "WEAK" list of contenders

to be quite honest

if it were up to me Im not so sure

if 2011 is the kind of year

where it I would BYPASS

giving any individual'


can u really say that there is CLEAR and CONVINCING evidence

that someone REALLY DESERVES

th honor ?

perhaps Harve de Grace  fits that

criteria though SHE along w/ a host of OTHERS

did not conclude the year

on the

ideal "high note"  one looks for


THE "pics" are NICE and

I hope she COMES back and

runs WELL in 2012

14 Nov 2011 7:13 PM


15 Nov 2011 1:37 PM
Ida Lee

I'm partial to Fillies/Mares. I just adore them. Havre is not only a beauty among beauties but an incredibly talented athlete. She is my choice for HOTY which would make it 3-years in a row for the Female Equines. HOORAY FOR GIRL POWER!!!

15 Nov 2011 4:03 PM
Lisa g

She is just beautiful, did I detect a little dance number there?  These filly's are really Diva's

23 Feb 2012 4:38 PM

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