Monday, December 29, 2014

Kentucky Trip Part I: Churchill Downs

Okay, the big family summer vacation of 2014 is finally making it to the blog.  Believe me, I've had the pictures up for several months, but I was waiting for the kids to do some guest posts.  Well now that it's Christmas vacation, I'm finally getting to what my kids just can't seem to find the time to about our amazing trip to KENTUCKY!!  (I'm hoping that if I get the first one started, they'll finish them...)

You can't go to Kentucky without going to Derby land.  
memorial site for Barbaro, a past Derby runner
Our first stop in Louisville was Churchill Downs.  It was about 6 weeks post-race and still in full bloom.
We had a guided walking tour of the place.  Such a beautiful place!
Past Derby crowns......including the famous Secretariat!  From Wikipedia: Secretariat (March 30, 1970 – October 4, 1989) was an AmericanThoroughbred racehorse that in 1973 became the first U.S. Triple Crownwinner in 25 years. He set race records in all three events in the series – theKentucky Derby (1:59 2/5), the Preakness Stakes (1:53), and the Belmont Stakes (2:24) – records that still stand today.[2][3] He is considered to be one of the greatest Thoroughbreds of all time. 
Down the tunnel that the horses take to enter the racetrack......
The track was very thick/sandy.  You can see the middle part where they have a big screen and lots of crazy college kids stand during the race! Of course, there are lots of races at Churchill Downs, but the big one is the Kentucky Derby held the first Saturday every May.

Wynne using the jockey scale to see if she's light enough to ride!
The Derby Museum was full of interesting information, even if you're not a big horse racing enthusiast.  It was very interactive.
Learn how to pick the best horses and bet on a race (without losing any $$)!

Ever wondered what kind of a track is best for the horses to race on?  There are people whose full-time job it is to make sure the track is ready.  They water that thing with thousands of gallons of water EVERY DAY.  It's a fulltime job, which really surprised me!
We even tried calling a race.  You could read a screen of suggested comments, looking at another screen of a televised race.  It was really, REALLY difficult to keep up and process!
Look at our little jockeys!

I didn't know....that a thoroughbred has to be 3 years old, and after that, you can't run in the Derby anymore?
...Secretariat had a heart at least twice as large as most horse's hearts, making him a stronger runner?
....California Chrome (this year's Derby & Preakness winner) almost won the Triple Crown, but we haven't had a Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978?
....the Derby Jockey has a weight limit of 126 pounds, including his/her equipment?
...the Kentucky Derby is 1 1/4 miles?

Our visit to Churchill Downs was really awesome, a blend of history, athleticism, and technology.  Definitely a great place to take your family if you ever get the chance!

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.--2 Corinthians 9:24


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