Saturday, May 28, 2011

Riders' Up!

Today I visited Monmouth Park for the first time. I was excited to see what New Jersey racing had in store, and as it turns out, it was a beautiful day of racing and a great atmosphere! Many fans were in attendance at the popular picnic area, and most of them ventured over to visit the hotdog competition, where countless cooks were pulling out all the stops to see who could fry up the best lunchtime treat. The highlight of the day was watching Addie's Surprise, a first time starter by War Front, win the seventh race. Addie's Surprise is named for a 101 year old woman (an aunt of the owner) who happened to be in attendance! A close second in terms of highlights was meeting the jockey pictured below. He was named on a live mount in the second race, but unfortunately had to take off the mount for being overweight. He visited the picnic area and had a few drinks to console himself. Better luck next time, my friend! 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

So Long Lexington

It’s hard to believe the time has come to bid farewell once again. Yes, I will be back for two weeks in July to wrap up my Flying Start affairs, but after this week, in essence, my time here is finished.
I have had a lot of practice with goodbyes since joining Flying Start. In just nine months we have moved camp three times, and within in our three locations we have done many short courses and work placements in which people and places move quickly in and out of our lives. It’s never easy to say good bye to any place or anyone, but I expect it will be especially difficult to say so long to Lexington. Over the past five months I feel that it has become my home.
Perhaps it is the trials and tribulations that have inspired such an attachment. Myself and my fellow Flying Starters have been through a lot in Lexington. We braved and suffered the treacherous cold for far too long, pounded through mentally and physically demanding courses like the farrier school, nutrition class, the steward’s accreditation course, and a variety of work placements. We experienced the challenge of all-night vigils in the foaling barn, and in contrast, early mornings at the racetrack and on the stud farms.
It seems as if for every challenge, however, there was a reward. We got to assist with foalings, experience the rewards of getting mares in foal, and work with some of the best bloodstock in the world. I won’t soon forget the time I spent with Street Cry, Bernardini, Medaglia d’Oro, Ashado, Music Note, and the likes. We also made many new friends along the way. We won’t soon forget all the Darley employees who became our comrades, and all of the wonderful industry professionals and management staff who helped us along the way.
Then there was the Keeneland Spring Meet and the Kentucky Derby. A trip to Nashville. Nights in Downtown Lexington. Life in Lexington has truly been a pleasure.
So the next stop for me will be New Jersey, where I will complete my six week work placement with the TDN. I am so excited for this opportunity and everything the company and the city has to offer. I will be sure to give you all an update from the Jersey Shore, but until then, so long.