10/26/2010 10:42PM

Stormy Tuesday at Churchill Downs - 10-26-10


It began with whistling winds and painterly purple skies, picked up steam with some Breeders’ Cup-related workouts and reached a crescendo with a tornado warning, sheets of rain and a press-box evacuation (no tornado, though … my dream of seeing a tornado remains unrealized). Then, some of Todd Pletcher’s horses arrived beneath a slate-grey, drizzly sky, and well, that was pretty much my Tuesday at Churchill Downs.

It's always fun catching up with old friends, and California Flag is still pretty as a picture. His dark dappled coat seemed unchanged from last season as he bounded eagerly over the turf course.

Dubai Majesty is lovely, too -- near-black with a forward attitude. Her large star is accentuated by tufts of white cotton shoved in her ears, and I wondered, as I sometimes have: Why doesn’t anybody sell cotton to racetrackers in shades bay, grey, chestnut and black? It would sure help, especially with, oh, Zenyatta. She can give that “look of eagles” all day long (and does), but I still can’t help staring at the white cotton in her ears.

Dale Romans’ duo of Paddy O’Prado and First Dude jogged good-naturedly the wrong way this morning, ears up with bouncy strides. And Proviso was a stunning handful.


My favorite thing about the Breeders’ Cup is its international cast, and Espoir City is a treat. His trimmed mane was wonderfully thick as the high winds whipped it about, and his unusually handsome head prompted me to look up his pedigree. He’s by Gold Allure (JPN) and out of Eminent City (JPN) and at least one of them, I’ll bet, is quite the looker.


Heavy rains pelted Churchill around noon when a tornado warning forced our evacuation from the sixth-floor press box to the second floor (which provided nowhere near as good a view of the sky, said the photographer with her cameras at the ready). 

But the rain eventually settled into a light drizzle, and I traipsed backside for the arrival of some of Pletcher’s horses. First off the van was the blazed-faced chestnut Life at Ten -- an oversized mare with a powerfully confident walk. Uncle Mo appeared a bit later, and the quiet, unmarked bay gingerly worked his way down the loading ramp -- oh, so carefully, his head low paying attention to every step. That Uncle Mo seems quite the character, and I’m finding him evermore endearing.

I look forward to what else I’ll find as more vans roll in, more horses step down ramps, and we move a day closer to the Breeders’ Cup.