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Spiral Weekend at Turfway | Midwest Paddock Report
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Spiral Weekend at Turfway

Spiral Weekend at Turfway

This past weekend the Midwest Paddock Report reached its first milestone: credentialed media for a graded stake. We packed up the team (Heather and Ted) and off we went to Florence, Kentucky to cover the Spiral Stakes and the Bourbonette Oaks. While Ted ended up not having a “Midwest” angle to write about, that doesn’t mean it was a wasted opportunity – the MWPR  is able to bring you the following photo essay featuring Heather’s photos of the weekend at Turfway Park.

 

Florence, KY – The backside on a racetrack appears to be the perfect storm of sights and sounds to dismantle the allegedly fragile psyche of a Thoroughbred. Upon closer inspection, however, there is an order to the chaos that belies the demeanor of the horse. Entry and exit are controlled and timed works are scheduled with jockeys and clockers. Speed works on the inside and jogging on the outside keep everyone where they need to be and out of harm’s way.

Taking in the surroundings before going to work.

Taking in the surroundings before going to work.

Gathering up some steam on the rail.

Gathering up some steam on the rail.

 

Calm confidence of a racetrack lifer.

Calm confidence of a racetrack lifer.

Prancing after practice

Prancing after practice

As the morning ticks along, monitored carefully by the stopwatches of anxious trainers and the occasional owner, the order and control balances on the edge of a knife. Less experienced horses take the track and can prove to be unpredictable.

This guy eluded riders for 3 trips around the track before being corralled.

This guy eluded riders for 3 trips around the track before being corralled.

Once the renegade is corralled and the sirens stop, order is once again restored and the work continues, albeit a bit behind schedule.

"How'd she go?" is the common discussion point in the morning.

“How’d she go?” is the common discussion point in the morning.

 

Jockey Cory Orm working a mount.

Jockey Cory Orm working a mount.

Morning transitions to afternoon and blue collar gives way to pomp and pageantry. While some are at the track to be seen, the majority in this land where the horse is part of who you are not just what you do have followed family lines – both equine and human – for decades. They flock here to see if their favorite farm, stallion, trainer or jockey will be able to take the next step forward and capture another piece of history.

While legends are made in the Bluegrass and grow larger over time taking many varied roads to success, all have one detail in common: horse, rider, trainer and owner all had to achieve their first win before they could achieve anything else.

 

Jockey Richard Oliver is congratulated by the jockey colony after his first career victory aboard Spackenkill Spot.

Jockey Richard Oliver is congratulated by the jockey colony after his first career victory aboard Spackenkill Spot.

As the day moves along the crowd grows larger, the press corps gets deeper and the stakes get higher – but it’s also still another work day.

$150,000 Grade 3 Bourbonette Oaks

Surveying the crowd before the Bourbonette.

Surveying the crowd before the Bourbonette.

The crowd starts to press the rail as the main events draw near.

The crowd starts to press the rail as the main events draw near.

Bourbonette field approaches the gate.

Bourbonette field approaches the gate.

They're off in a line in the Bourbonette

They’re off in a line in the Bourbonette

Don't Leave Me puts them away nearing the wire in under Jose Lezcano.

Don’t Leave Me puts them away nearing the wire under Jose Lezcano.

$550,000 Grade 3 Spiral Stakes

Rajiv Maragh, Florent Geroux and Mike Smith prior to the Spiral.

Rajiv Maragh, Florent Geroux and Mike Smith prior to the Spiral.

On to the track for the Spiral.

On to the track for the Spiral.

Dubai Sky demolishing the field giving Jose Lezcano a sweep of the graded stakes on the day.

Dubai Sky demolishing the field giving Jose Lezcano a sweep of the graded stakes of the day.

Conquest Typhoon (9) and Firespike (10) battle it out for 2nd and 3rd.

Conquest Typhoon (9) and Firespike (10) battle it out for 2nd and 3rd.

When the sun set on the racing day, it took with it the Derby dreams of many. Whether the Spiral winner can transition his turf and synthetic form to the dirt the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs remains to be seen, but for one moment in time, Dubai Sky is the toast of the Thoroughbred world in Northern Kentucky. While in the morning, the track will again give way to muscle and sweat that make champions possible.

 

3 Responses to “Spiral Weekend at Turfway”

  1. Sophia Grevelis says:

    The pictures are great. They tell a wonderful story.

  2. Shea Heesacker says:

    Great picture of Dubai Sky, cashed a nice pick four on him.

  3. Hey, it’s me! (Extreme left in the picture of the crowd on the rail, dark hair, half cut off, I’m talking to the person with the blue and green gloves.) And Don’t Leave Me is a pretty, pretty filly! Great pictures of her.

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