10/31/2011 9:22PM

Churchill Downs' moments - lead-up to the 2011 Breeders' Cup


Breeders' Cup week has officially begun, and the past weekend was a flurry of activity with arrivals, gallopers and workouts.  Here are some photos from the past few days....

Above:  The twin spires are lit within with purple, in honor of the Breeders' Cup.

Above:  Havre de Grace is back to work, this time at Churchill Downs on Monday.  Gabe Saez is aboard - and he's still wearing that camera on his helmet.  Havre de Grace doesn't seem to mind.

Above:  It's hard to find a filly who loves the camera more than Havre de Grace, shown after her Monday workout.

Above:  He sure is a good sport about it all, but I've gotta feel just a little sorry for Larry Jones this week!

Above:  Cold temperatures can make for some lovely images...not that this beauty, Cambina, could be anything but lovely.  

Above:  Stacelita is usually beautiful, too...but her attire this week makes her look like a horse from The Jetsons!  (do young people even know The Jetsons?)

Above:  I wonder if To Honor and Serve realizes he's being walked by a Hall of Fame trainer?  (Bill Mott)

Above:  Optimizer smiles and says, "Cheesssssssssssssse!"

Above:  Finale was so not happy about a gate-schooling visit....

Above: ...and Mr. Commons was so in the mood to test his handler....

Above:  ...and Sabercat was in even more of a mood to test his handler...unless....

Above: ...that handler turned into Steve Asmussen.

Above:  Dynaslew really, really wanted to lie down during her schooling session on Sunday....

Above: ...but she was a perfect angel when grazing in the company of her pony.

Above:  I'm not sure if she's a perfect angel, but Satans Quick Chick sure is attractive.   For some reason, she captured my heart this week.  Maybe it's because, whenever I think of her name, I picture Dana Carvey saying, with a cocked eyebrow, "Could it be.....Satan?!," in a Church Lady voice.  

Above:  I love when trainers work good horses in company - just because it makes for a good photo!  Drosselmeyer (left) and Birdrun enjoy a morning spin.

Above:  Robby Albarado joins the workout-recording brigade, here aboard Court Vision on Monday morning.

Above:  And speaking of recording, not only was Tammy Fox wearing a camcorder/camera (not sure of the correct term) on her helmet, but Dullahan and Shackleford also wore what I was told are recording devices on their heads.  It's a new world!

Above:  Aruna says, "Yes, please" - and hopefully, "thank you" - to Graham Motion exercise rider/assistant Heather Craig, who provided her a treat.

Above:  Todd Pletcher watches his star pupil, Uncle Mo, school on Monday morning.

Above:  Uncle Mo says, "Do I have something in my teeth?" (I stole that line from a Icanhascheezburger.com photo)  

Above:  Reigning turf sprint champ Chamberlain Bridge - how about those eyes? - is back to defend his title.

Above:  Golden Mystery shares a moment with her trainer Juan Guerrero.

Above:  Steve Asmussen's pony apparently has a case of the 'blaaaaahs,' but he's keeping impressive company - Wayne Lukas, Steve Asmussen and Ralph Nicks on a cold Churchill Downs' morning.

Above:  Steve Asmussen's star My Miss Aurelia is ready for her closeup....

Above:  ...while My Miss Aurelia's good luck charm, Lucky, is growing up so quickly!  For her back-story, here's a link to a fun article from Brooklyn Backstretch (http://www.brooklynbackstretch.com/2011/10/09/good-and-lucky/)

Above:  Not to be outdone by the Asmussen's mascot Lucky, Trevor, owned by Bret Calhoun's assistant Peaches, strikes a winning pose at their barn.  (yes, Rebel is friendly) :)

Above:  Ultra Blend heads back to the barn - avoiding Shkspeare Shaliyah on the way...

Above...and back at the barn, Peter Mudd shows his buddy Shkspeare Shaliyah some love.

Above:  I never get enough of Courageous Cat, that handsome, beautifully bred stallion - here working on Monday morning.

Above:  Courageous Cat getting a bubbly bath.

Above:  Preakness winner Shackleford cools down after a chilly-morning workout.

Above:  The 2011 Breeders' Cup, beneath the twin spires, looms on the horizon.