(Mike held the microphone for a bit at the official “Ground Breaking” event two years ago. Two. Years. We finally made it.)
(From Day One, Mike oversaw the construction and retrofit of what was to become the LTS. Which was four years in the making. Four. Years.)
(And, our first Kentucky Derby…)
(Mike and Gene inside the LTS’ rooftop beverage cart “Lucile”)
I’ve always been told that all is well that ends well. Right?
Well…we had a super week at The Louisville Thoroughbred Society. Could not have been any better.
Sunshine galore allowed our Members & Guests to enjoy the wide open Terrace and all the amenities of the Cigar Pavilion.
Our Chef knocked it out of the park. Out. Long. Gone. Food was spectacular and ample in supply.
Our Staff was unreal. Absolutely unreal. Just tremendous. Can’t say enough about how that approached each and every person with gracious Southern style and then returned with either food or beverage (or both) with a smile and their request. Amazing.
Our accommodations are unmatched. Simply put. If you have not had a chance yet to come visit us? Do yourself a favor and do it. It is the best in this business. Bar none.
People came. People stayed. And, people had so much fun. The only thing that drowned out the magnificent race calls of Churchill Downs’ unmatched announcer Travis Stone was the laughter and yelps of help to the jockeys and horses both.
The Brunch on Sunday was such a welcome sight. We had survived. It had ended well. So very well.
As for my selections?
Well…we had the winner of the KY Oaks, yet again. We loved Malathaat, and she loved us all back on Friday.
And, we had a few winners scattered throughout the days of Friday and Saturday.
But we whiffed on the KY Derby, again, and we certainly fell short of the goals set by us handicappers, and far short of the magnificence of the LTS’ Team.
Yet…we enjoyed the day with a group of friends that only love can buy and purchase. I can’t say enough, from my heart, how much it meant to sit at the table with Dave and Justine; Greg and Ronda, Bill and “Aunt” Kels, and my beautiful bride. I can’t muster the words of how much it meant to me to have Marc, Russell, Nick, Chris, David, LJ and all their beautiful brides in attendance. I can’t even come close to describing how much it meant to see LTS’ Investors Jeff and Jim in attendance, both having a great time. I can’t even number how many times I hugged the lovely Julie, Gail, and all the other friends and “family” that made it a special weekend. I can’t tell you all that came and enjoyed how much it meant for you to walk up and either shake my hand or rock my soul with your kind words and offers of congratulations.
No way to tell the staff how much I love them, and their sacrifice of time and sleep to be the best we could be.
But, in the end, there are no words to describe the pure “Thanks” that I feel for my partner-in-this-crime — Mike Schnell. Since we embarked on this journey over four years ago, there have been so many times that both of us, or one of us, or the other of us, felt that we would never finish this race.
It seemed as if this project was just not meant to be.
Even on a good day, there were bad things to happen. Normal bad things, mind you. But bad things. Unlucky things. Costly things. We would discover this issue and that problem. We would have to fix this before we could move on; we had to alter that just to fix this or that; we started over so many times that this journey of a thousand miles turned into one of a million.
Then, there was a world-wide pandemic.
Then, there were Louisville concerns and problems that had to be addressed and fixed. Bigger issues that required attention and fixing.
Then, for goodness sakes, we had a fire in our freight elevator that rocked us with both water damage to the building and tear damage to the soul.
I used to say that when I see the locust coming over the river, then it may be time to run. Then, I found out this may be the year of the damn cicada. Couldn’t use that line any more. But, then again, what is one more plague to overcome, right?
Truth be told?
Any mortal would have punted.
Long ago. Long, long, long ago.
Anybody with any good sense could sense this was not going well; or going to be easy; or going to get much better for a long period of time.
Still, through all of this, there was one person that would not let dreams die.
Didn’t matter how tough it got; or how frustrating it became. Seemingly, when a new obstacle would pop up, there was only one person to pop up higher to address it. To fix it. To make the project move forward. To make this project a reality.
Don’t be fooled, guys. The Louisville Thoroughbred Society is here today due to one person, and one person only. And, it ain’t Gene McLean.
Take a bow, Mike Schnell. Even though it is not your style. Even though you don’t want to. Even though you will never admit it. This is your baby. And, the rest of us are just along for the ride. The joy ride. The absolute joy ride of a lifetime.
Thanks for making this happen.
The Kentucky Thoroughbred industry will be better for it.
The City of Louisville is already better for it.
And, our worlds will forever be better for it.
Well. Well. Well. All is well when it ends well.
We have only just begun…
A Glimpse of Some of Our KY Derby Experiences: