A Look At KY Downs’ Old Friends Stakes Day: Through the Eyes & Lens of Holly M. Smith

Editor’s Note:

Our very own Holly M. Smith, one of the finest young equine photographers in all the land, journeyed down to Kentucky Downs on Thursday to catch some of the racing action, adoring fans and this year’s version of the Old Friends Stakes.

What she got were some beautiful photos from the starting gate all the way to the day’s finish line.

What she got were a few great photos of Great Western jumping for joy and a few tire marks and shadows at the finish line of the Old Friends Stakes.

What she got were a few fantastic looks at some of the fans jumping for joy and basking in the great sunshine on another clover-filled day at the state’s only all-grass, European-styled racing venue.

What she got was some beauty captured for your pleasure.

Here’s a look:

(Jockey Brian Joseph Hernandez guides Get Western to the winner’s circle after capturing the Old Friends Stakes / Photo by Holly M. Smith)

(Great Western did his best imitation of a “jumper” near the wire of the Old Friends Stakes / Photos by Holly M. Smith)

(Cullum Road, and jockey Jose Ortiz before the Old Friends Stakes / Photo by Holly M. Smith)

(Jockey Ricardo Santana, Jr. enjoyed the sunny day / Photo by Holly M. Smith)

(Combatant — #3 — and his rider Joel Rosario were caught on the wire by Midnight Tea / Photo by Holly M. Smith)

(Young fans and older ones, alike, enjoy the races at KY Downs on Thursday / Photo by Holly M. Smith)

(Takeitback, and rider Jon Court, win the 7th race at KY Downs on Thursday / Photos by Holly M. Smith)

(Bohemian Bourbon and rider Julien Leparoux win the 6th race / Photos by Holly M. Smith)

(The outrider takes a break in-between races / Photo by Holly M. Smith)

(And…they are off from the starting gate at KY Downs / Photos by Holly M. Smith)

The horse broke well today,” Gaffalione said. “I had the horse inside, Dunph, going to the lead and then (Gun It) showed a little bit of speed. When I saw they were intent on going I just tried to get him back and got him to relax. He came back to me nicely and settled well down the backside. Got a little keen going into the far turn and wanted to move a little early. But I didn’t want to take too much away from him so I tried to sit as long as I could. He was waiting on horses down the lane but I kept him at task and there was plenty of horse there.”

“Mark (Casse, the trainer) and his team have done a great job,” Gaffalione said. “They’ve had a ton of confidence in this horse the whole way. It’s just an honor to be able to ride the horse. He’s just so professional, trains great and he’s a pleasure to be around.”

Tyler Gaffalione, Rode of War of Will to victory in the G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds
  • Holly M. Smith

    Holly M. Smith

    Holly is a freelance photographer based in Louisville. While she maintains a full time job outside of the thoroughbred/horse industry she spends most of her free time around the racetrack. Horses and photography have been a part of Holly's life going all the way back to elementary school. In 2015 ...

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