We’ve had two absolutely crazy weeks leading up to the Derby. I know I always say that things are crazy, but it’s true! It is, afterall, Springtime in Kentucky on a Thoroughbred breeding farm!
It started when I’llgiveitawhirl delivered her first foal at 10:45 PM on April 24th — a well balanced by colt by Gemologist.
Twelve hours later, Charley’s Hope delivered a long-legged filly by Fed Biz.
Twelve hours later, Annapolitan delivered a feisty filly by Shanghai Bobby and twelve hours later, Rose dela Troienne gave us a monster colt by Overanalyze.
This is all, of course, in addition to our normal farm days of vet checks every morning and shed runs later in the day.
The B&B was busy with guests everyday and Lil’s Coffee House was crazy with lots of people in town. August will be the fifth anniversary of our opening Lil’s….we’re blessed with people (more each year) who make a point of eating with us when they’re in town. Meanwhile, we catered a few Keeneland tailgate picnics and had the opportunity to cater the desserts for the big St. Mary’s School Gala Fundraiser on Rolex Friday.
I’m soooo grateful for my talented staff who worked hard while I took a day off for racing on one of Keeneland’s last days of this meet with old friends, and then again on Saturday and Sunday, I was able to watch Allie Knowles at Rolex.
The first special day was Wednesday, when my people allowed me to take the day to join four dear friends from Cincinnati for a precious day of racing at Keeneland — my first this year. Three of us have been friends for thirty years, it’s always fun when we get together, and it was a great day.
We got home and enjoyed cocktails and even more visiting at the B&B until word came from the barn that a foal’s arrival was imminent. Yep! Rose dela Troienne obligingly delivered while my special friends were present. None of us minded that dinner was late that night.
We really do have lots and lots of visitors to Lil’s during Rolex Week, plus on Friday (two days after my day off at the races) we made petit fours, French macaroons, mini chocolate éclairs, Chocolate mousse cups and Blueberry lemon curd cups for 250 people for St. Mary’s. That meant four somewhat diminutive French desserts for each guest. The glow of attendees’ compliments helped assuage the fatigue.
Saturday, I got to take off to watch Allie Knowles make it through Cross Country on Sounder (in the rain…yikes!) and on Sunday do well in the Stadium Jumping to place 16th overall in the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. It’s the only 4-star event in the U.S., one of the top competitions in the world and the U.S. Olympic Team for Rio will be chosen from this event. Allie trains our OTTB Lord Darby and we are soooo proud of, and happy for, her.
Allow me to digress a moment…. Someone once said that I am “living the dream”. Which could be true, but really I am “living the life”. It’s a very special life with highs like you cannot imagine, but in April you’re pretty much a fulltime unpaid Ambassador for the State of Kentucky if you are in any way involved in the horse or hospitality biz, and it’s not always a “dream”. So it was huge for me to get to be at Keeneland closing week with dear friends, and be at Rolex cheering on Allie, and to once again be “living the dream” so close to the Derby. Again, my thanks to all my people.
Yikes….now it’s Derby Week! We got to meet one of our newer clients as he, his son and son’s friend came to Kentucky for the Derby and stopped off to see several new mares and babies. Among the babies were I’llgiveitawhirl 16 — who had obligingly arrived the week before — and Melody’s Spirit 16.
The latter is a half-sister to Whitmore whom they were in town to watch run in the Kentucky Derby. How exciting!!! Whitmore has been, since we wrote about him in early March, second in the Rebel Stakes to Creator and third in the Arkansas Derby to Creator and Suddenbreakingnews. Whitmore broke well in the Derby, ranged up to fifth at the three-quarter pole but failed to respond after that.
Meanwhile, our Team O’Neill friends WON the Kentucky Derby with Nyquist. We could not be more excited for them, nor more proud of how they handled the pre-Derby pressure of having an undefeated 2-year-old champion (first since Seattle Slew) headed for the race. Nyquist was awesome!