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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Track at Churchill Downs

Races are won or lost by the condition of the track.

On 9 May, the track looked great.

The horses were running well that morning.

But there were wee bits to remind you what it looked like the afternoon of the 5th... "sloppy" is the word used.

Yeah... like that...

The track looking great.

The harrows used to keep the track in condition.

Multiple times a day exercising and racing is paused for the team to come out and work.

If the conditions are hot and/or dry, water is added to keep it springy.

Bet you didn't know there was so much to having a perfect racing surface!

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Churchill Downs: Home of the Kentucky Derby

The next morning after our meeting, instead of heading straight home we decided to have a bit of fun.

We were at the front gate of Churchill Downs at 6:45am for a tour ~ which I'll tell you about later.  But first I want to show you the incredible grounds of Churchill Downs.

The burial place of the great Barbaro.

What a beautiful statue.

There they are... the famous 'twin spires'.   Only 5 days earlier those stands (and the infield) were packed with over 157,000 spectators for the Kentucky Derby!

Part of the admission to the Kentucky Derby Museum is a guided walking tour along the front of the stands.  Definitely make time to do this!

Someday I want to be sitting up in those stands!

With a few trips down here too...

See that top area with the gold rail (as opposed to the green on the other levels)?

That is known as "Millionaires Row".  For a mere $4500.00 per person, you can have one the most perfect seats in the house.  With that you also get a VIP pass to get in quicker, a Derby swag bag, all the drinks you want (soft or hard), several buffets, private betting stations, and big screen TVs to see it better.

Here's the view.  The white pole is the finish line and the two story tower is where the winner gets his blanket of roses.

All around the lower stands are the names of the winners of previous Derbys.

Himself's birth year.

And my birth year.

As I said, just 5 days earlier Justify
 came running (or perhaps swimming) down the track to win the Kentucky Derby.  They still weren't done cleaning up and Himself picked of these losing tickets from the other race of the day.

Behind the stands is the paddock where the horses are saddled.

And the famous clock that tells when it is time for rider's up!

Back over to the track... on the outside rail and looking towards the finish line.

Mud from Derby Day!

The winner's circle: 2018 Justify stood here.

Also found this... I wonder what all his notes were about...

Friday, May 18, 2018

Vietnam Kitchen in Louisville, KY

One of the fun things about staying at The Hawk's Eyrie was the culturally diverse neighborhood it is located near.  What makes it fun is the grocery stores and restaurants.  There were at least 5 Vietnamese restaurants within a mile and a half.

We decided to try Vietnamese Kitchen, only a half mile away.

It was a great choice!

Other than pho, I've never had the opportunity to try Vietnamese cuisine.  These two waiters were asked a lot of questions on how to eat this and that.

So much fun!

The restaurant does a brisk business.

This kind of tickled me... I've never seen a chop sticks dispenser.  And they were the GOOD chop sticks too.

Here's our meal:

(Our favorite appetizer) 


Again, when we go back to Louisville this will be one of our meal stops.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

The Hawk's Eyrie Airbnb in Louisville, KY

Once I found out I was heading to Louisville, I started working on the arrangements.  As a delegate, there was an expense allotment and I planned on making it count.  Checking the convention hotel I about fell over when I found out a room was $169!  For a room that didn't even have a microwave and mini fridge.

No... no... no.

I decided to check out Airbnb.  I'd never used the company before so it was a bit of an adventure getting it all set up.  Once done, I started pulling up places near the convention center.  I was amazed to find that we could rent an entire apartment for half of the cost of the hotel room.  


I selected "Hawk's Eyrie".  The entire upstairs is the Airbnb apartment.  It was about 10 minutes from the convention center and you didn't have to get on a freeway.

It is a very cozy home.

Walking into the door of our apartment, we were delighted.

The living room.

Our spacious kitchen.

And our huge bedroom with two beds.

A second bedroom under the eaves with a twin bed.

And the bathroom.

All details were seen to: snacks, juice in the fridge, hundreds (seriously) of DVDs to pick thru, games, and so on.

Our hosts were very nice people.  We only met with them for a little bit but it was a nice visit.

Any future trips to Louisville will see us back at the Hawk's Eyrie!