For the last half a dozen or so years, I’ve devoted my spring break to visiting family in southwest Florida. It’s the epitome of relaxation: I read a ton of books; I spend hours at the beach; I take naps; I go running in the sunshine; I go to the races or watch tennis. This year, I decided to go off my own beaten track (pun intended) for this Kentucky-destined road trip.
I’m not sure that I’ve ever used profanity (even mild profanity) in this blog before, but this vacation is kicking my ass. It’s 5:45 am, and here I am, typing away in my hotel room, an hour or so before I head to Keeneland to catch morning workouts (at temps near freezing) and eat at the famed track kitchen. I’ve been in Lexington for about thirty-six hours, and without exaggeration, no fewer than half a dozen people have recommended that that’s where I have breakfast today. I’m a big fan of the backstretch kitchen at Saratoga, but I’m a little fearful that my expectations, based on these recommendations, might be impossible to meet. It’s also not quite the same as throwing on a light sweatshirt to combat the early morning Saratoga chill and knowing that the horses will hit the track as the sun comes up. I’ve never seen Thoroughbreds work out under the lights before, and I’m putting on my winter boots.
Day 1 in Lexington was a mix of the planned and the unexpected. Planned: a lunchtime visit with commenter Trip, a Lexington denizen and fellow race fan; a wander around downtown Lexington; a visit to Three Chimneys. Unplanned: watching one of my favorite sires cover a mare; lunch in delightful Midway and the discovery of a wonderful independent bookstore; trips to Gainsborough and Lane’s End with a local friend.
Details on the trip will have to wait until a later, less sleepy time, less rushed time. Here’s a look at 2005 Travers winner Flower Alley at Three Chimneys, getting cleaned up and looking with much interest in the direction of his “date” being unloaded from her limo…er, trailer.