Tenfold at Churchill Downs

(Tenfold just outside the barn of trainer Steve Asmussen on Saturday morn / Photo by Gene McLean)

What a beautiful morning along the backside at Churchill Downs on Saturday, June 2. The sun does actually exist. And, the shy orb finally showed its’ face and colors. The horses seemed to love the dry dirt, for a change, too.

Got to see my good friend Neil Howard, whose talented runner Crosswalk ran a nice second to Seven Trumpets in a tough allowance race at Churchill Downs on Friday.

Got to see and spend time with my great friend Buff Bradley, who had a rooting section over at his barn which faces the beautiful Twin Spires. A group of about 20 people where on hand to watch some of Buff’s most talented runners take to their mourning routines and get their respective exercises over the Churchill Downs dirt track.

Got to see the grand Justify, who took his normal gallop routine this morning. The beautiful red head was calm, cool and collected as the masses were drawn to him. The sun splashed off his coat much like the bath water. Just a Belmont win away from glory. Everybody gathered round with cameras to create memories.

Got to see the wonderful Tenfold, owned by Ron Winchell and trained by Steve Asmussen, go to the track and get his last major work in before the Belmont Stakes. He covered the ground effortlessly and looked magnificent after his bath back at the Asmussen barn. I just so happened to look up, and there he was. Standing a few feet away and eyeballing me. Perfect picture moment.

Got to interview Ron Winchell, who owned and raced the great Gun Runner and now owns Tenfold. What a nice young man.

Got an upclose introduction to Steve Asmussen’s pony. A friendly sort, who nuzzled right up to reporters like Jennie Rees and appeared interested in everything his owner had to say.

Got to see my longtime friend Mark Board (I was going to write “old” friend, but that would simply date the both of us). Spent some time recalling some memories of days past, and talking about the horses of today, and our futures of tomorrow. Good time.

Got to meet several new acquaintances — like Elizabeth Wester’s beautiful mother, and Dr. Gary Lavin’s personable sister, and Buff Bradley’s longtime family friend and co-breeder Carl Hurst. Nice people all.

Here are some of the sights from this morning trek to the track. Not a better place on God’s Green Earth, unless you count my lake house…

(Steve Asmussen’s pony / Photo by Gene McLean)

(The great Justify’s bath pictures from Saturday / Photos by Gene McLean)

(Justify walking onto the track Saturday / Photo by Gene McLean)

(Tenfold stopped to say hello this morning…what a beautiful guy / Photos by Gene McLean)