When I was down in Kentucky for the Derby this year, I had the chance to go on a tour of Claiborne and Gainesway Farms near Lexington with Jane Dempsey and her Derby Junket tour. We spent an enjoyable day visiting the two farms, Thoroughbred Park in Lexington, and Keeneland along with lunch at Spindletop Hall. Here is a nice collection of photos from the day to give you a feel of what the trip was like. Click the small picture to see a larger version.
The stud barn at Claiborne Farm. The first stall on the left is now empty, but it was previously the home of Bold Ruler, Secretariat, Easy Goer, and Unbridled.
Here is the door to that stall and a close-up of the name plates on it.
One of the horses we met there was Pulpit, winner of the Fountain of Youth and Blue Grass Stakes. At stud he has had 15 stakes winners and 29 stakes horses and stands for a fee of $60,000. Farther down you will see his son Tapit at Gainesway.
2001 Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos stands for $25,000 and his first 2-year-olds will race this year. Notice how much lighter he is now than when he won the Derby (right). Why didn't I think to bet on the only gray horse in the Derby this year after just touching a gray Derby winner?
Monarchos displays typical studdish behavior by curling his lips, but he was actually quite calm and allowed us all to come and pat him and take pictures with him.
Seeking the Gold, multiple stakes winner at the track, stands for a hefty $125,000 stud fee. He has sired 67 stakes winners, 6 millionaires, and 5 champions including Dubai Millennium, Heavenly Prize, and Flanders. Here he is begging for a mint.
The graveyard at Claiborne is the resting place for many great horses including Secretariat and Mr. Prospector who lie next to each other.
Secretariat isn't the only Triple Crown winner buried here. You will also find 1930 Triple Crown winner Gallant Fox who is the only Triple Crown winner to sire another Triple Crown winner, Omaha in 1935.
One of the swans on the stream that runs through Claiborne Farm.
The trough fountain near the stud barns which is decorated with commemorative plaques for some of the best horses either bred at Gainesway or who stood at stud there. Some of the names include Stage Door Johnny, Key to the Mint, Cannonade, and Apalachee.
Tapit, winner of the Wood Memorial last year, on his way to the breeding shed. He had just got the scent of the mare and was posing for her at this point. Since this is his first year at stud, he stands for only $15,000. You saw his sire Pulpit earlier on this page.
Thoroughbred Park in Lexington has a life size race finish done in bronze by sculptor Gwen Reardon. There are seven horses driving for the finish next to a fountain. Also in the surrounding park are life size mares and foals.
Top Kentucky Derby Contenders - my list of the top horses headed to the Derby with profiles for each with photos, stats, and link to more info like past performances and pedigree.
Analyzing the top 2013 Kentucky Derby contenders - My annual analysis of the top contenders to try and select a winner by matching each to the profile of a Kentucky Derby winner using many of the more popular angles and statistical trends. This year there were is a 3-way tie for the top spot: Goldencents, Normandy Invasion, and Overanalyze.
2013 Kentucky Derby And Oaks Security - New enhanced stricter rules will be enforced this year. Be sure to read the rules as many have changed and more things are banned. There will still be magnetic wand searches of all patrons and many things are no longer allowed. Check here to make sure you don't bring anything they will confiscate.
Review: Triple Crown Handicapper 2013 - by Jim Mazur. Includes lots of stats for all 3 races and explains how to use a system of statistically derived negative angles to eliminate the "bad" picks.
Review: Kentucky Derby Greatest Moments - Commemorative DVD from Churchill Downs with video from 27 different runnings along with interviews, photos, and historical info. Definitely recommended for any racing fan!
Review: Churchill Downs - America's Most Historic Racetrack by Kimberly Gatto. An entertaining and informative account of the history of the track and it's most famous race, the Kentucky Derby, with lots of photos. Definitely recommended.