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.

NicoleProulx510 More than 1 year ago
its called a gopro helmet cam
Lynn Staffileno More than 1 year ago
the actual name of the cute little goat at Bret Calhoun's barn is Trevor not Rebel. This is a really great picture of him-he does this alot by the way. He belongs to Peaches Bret's assistant. >
Mark More than 1 year ago
Hi, love your pics! Where are we able to find more? You had one of the stretch/finish of the Classic, where can one find that one? Thanks
Judy G More than 1 year ago
Barbara ~ I can't say (write) enough about your awesome photography!!! I always enjoy looking at them and what you have to share about each :-)
Christine Race More than 1 year ago
I thought last years Zenny piece was forever tops...I am not able to participate in the sport I love any longer due to a disability and you make it feel as if I am almost right there with the horses again...thank you Miss L. very very much
Laura More than 1 year ago
Lovely photos as always; thanks!
Ed Kane More than 1 year ago
Hi Barbara. Every photo a masterpiece of excellence. There's no one that captures the sport any better. Looking forward to more of your work during BCUP 2011. But, can't wait for your first photos of Zenyatta with her first foal.
Terry More than 1 year ago
I love "Golden Mystery shares a moment with her trainer Juan Guerrero". I love seeing men loving on horses! You can see how much he admires and loves her! I am going to bet on her tomorrow!
Gee Cee More than 1 year ago
How nice are these photos? Really takes you into the world of Thoroughbred Racing. The comments can be pretty cool, too. Just the idea of George Jetson on his treadmill forever– kinda like Major Tom floating in space for eternity – does leave one wondering if anyone still remembers. Or even cares. The pictures do tell the story.
Darlene More than 1 year ago
I esp love pics from the backside and those unsung heroes that work there everyday and the pic of Chamberlain Bridge looks like a painting Thanks for bringing some of the BC action to those of us that can't be there