Reaching for Roses: The Beginning of the Journey

November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

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Happy Thanksgiving to all! I hope that everyone has a fantastic day.

And don’t forget to give thanks for the horses that give us so much joy and excitement!


November 21, 2010

Thank you to my scholarship donor

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Yesterday my mom and dad came into Lexington to attend the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture’s scholarship luncheon with me. The luncheon was held to recognize students in the College of Agriculture that received scholarships this semester and to thank the donors of those scholarships.

This year I was awarded the Dr. John T. Bryans Scholarship for the second year in a row. Dr. John T. Bryans spent 35 years working at the University of Kentucky’s Gluck Equine Research Center as a research specialist and professor of veterinary science. In 1990, he was one of the first inductees of the University of Kentucky Equine Research Hall of Fame.

Dr. Bryans passed away five years ago and last year his daughters created the Dr. John T. Bryans Scholarship to guarantee that their father’s legacy would live on at the University. The scholarship is awarded annually to a student exemplifying high academic achievement in equine studies. Last year I was fortunate enough to be the inaugural recipient of the scholarship and I am so thankful to have received the scholarship again. The Dr. John T. Bryans scholarships have greatly assisted my family and me in paying for my college education. I am forever grateful to the Bryans family and I hope to make them proud.

November 14, 2010

Playing Matchmaker

Sky is due to give birth to her Parading foal at the beginning of February, which is now less than three months away. After giving her some time to recover from the foaling, I will be breeding her back to a Kentucky stallion. I have not yet chosen Sky’s next mate, but I’ve been working hard recently to find her a perfect match. There are hundreds of stallions standing in Kentucky and so there is definitely not a shortage of choices. The difficulty of my decision is increased by the fact that Sky is my only mare. I know several breeders that own dozens, and sometimes hundreds, of mares. They have the luxury of “taking a shot” with a stallion they’re interested in, experimenting with different crosses, and getting discounted stud fees based on the number of mares they send to a particular stallion or stud farm. Unfortunately, I only have one shot a year to make a successful match. I must make my one shot count; I have no other choice.

I have begun to travel around to the Central Kentucky stud farms to get a closer look at potential mates for Sky. Recently I have visited Lane’s End, Spendthrift, Gainesway, and Darley. It was a lot of fun going to these farms and looking at stallions. Each of the farms is absolutely breathtaking. Anyone making a trip to the Central Kentucky area needs to schedule a tour of these farms. I suggest going to as many farms as possible; however, if there are time constraints, then I would try to just go to Gainesway or Darley.

While at these farms, I had to constantly remind myself that I wasn’t a tourist, but was there on business. I didn’t always succeed at not looking like a tourist because I was a fan first and that’s how it will always be. Anyone that goes around to these farms to look at stallions to use in their breeding programs and doesn’t get a charge out of seeing some of our industry’s superstars up close needs to reevaluate why they are in this business. It should always be fun.

I took several pictures while at the farms and they may be viewed below.

Raise a Native’s memorial at Spendthrift.

Nashua’s memorial at Spendthrift.

Never Bend’s memorial at Spendthrift. Never Bend is the broodmare sire of Menifee (Sky’s sire).

2010 Travers Stakes winner, Afleet Express, at Gainesway!

Arts and Letters’ memorial at Gainesway. He won the 1969 Travers Stakes.

Key to the Mint’s memorial at Gainesway. He won the 1972 Travers Stakes.

Afleet Alex at Gainesway! Afleet Alex won the 2005 Preakness Stakes in one of the most amazing performances I have ever seen. View Afleet Alex’s Preakness at

Memorial for Affirmed at Darley at Jonabell.

Bernardini’s trophy for winning the 2006 Preakness Stakes.

I hope you enjoyed some of the pictures from my recent journeys to local stud farms. Also, if any readers have any suggestions on who I should breed Sky to next, I would love to hear them. I know there are readers of this blog that have much more experience and knowledge than I do, so I welcome all comments and suggestions. Her pedigree can be viewed at

Hope everyone has a great week and thanks for reading!

November 8, 2010

Breeders’ Cup Wrap-Up and Some Pictures

I had an amazing time at the Breeders’ Cup this past weekend. It was definitely tough to see the big girl lose in the Classic; however, I’m happy that I got to see Zenyatta run in person, Goldikova win her third Breeders’ Cup Mile, and watch two days of non-stop, top quality racing. As an added bonus, my family lives in Louisville and I really enjoyed staying at my parents’ house for a couple of days. Since going away to college a few years ago, I haven’t gotten to see my parents as much as I would like and so it was great to spend some time at home.

To remind everyone, I worked as a spotter for ESPN on Friday and Saturday. Thanks to ESPN, I had the opportunity to follow, or spot, several of the best trainers in the industry over the weekend; including, Todd Pletcher, Roger Attfield, Jonathon Sheppard, Richard Dutrow, and Jean-Claude Rouget.

Working for ESPN over the weekend meant that I had an all-access pass throughout Churchill Downs. I was in the paddock before every Breeders’ Cup race and watched many of the races from the rail or the horsemen’s viewing area in the clubhouse. Having a “go anywhere I please” pass also helped me get some great pictures of the event. Here are a few of my favorites.

A friend of mine also took a couple of shots of me while working:

Hope that everyone else had a fantastic Breeders’ Cup weekend. I know it will be one that I’ll never forget.

November 4, 2010

Breeders’ Cup Bound

Tonight I will be traveling back home to Louisville for the Breeders’ Cup this weekend. I was lucky enough to obtain a job as a “spotter” with ESPN for the weekend. I “spotted” for NBC for the 2010 Kentucky Derby and I’m very fortunate to have the same job for the Breeders’ Cup. The job of a spotter is quite simple. Each spotter is given one person, or a group of people, to follow (usually “big name” trainers and owners). During the broadcast, the producer may want to get a shot of a particular owner and trainer and will radio the spotter to discover their location.

For the Derby, my assignment was Todd Pletcher and it was so exciting when Super Saver won. I will not find out my particular assignments for the Breeders’ Cup until tomorrow, but I’m hoping my assignment(s) wins a few races. Perhaps I could prove to be a good luck charm. Hey, whatever will land me a job come graduation :-).

I’ll be sure to take plenty of pictures this weekend and post them on the blog. Stay tuned for that. Until then, everyone have a great Breeders’ Cup weekend!

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