Friday, May 25, 2007

Postcards from Lexington (and other travels)

Exhausted yet content. These trips are always a grind but well worth the long hours of driving, bad food and lack of sleep. To begin, we headed off to Hot Springs, Arkansas to pick up some artwork from my incredible gallery rep, Gallery Central. The owner, Bess Sanders who is a dynamo in every respect managed to get three of my paintings into the "Oaklawn Room" at the 2007 Southern Living Idea House. Cool, huh? I need about ten more reps around the country just like her...

Spent a bit too much time circumventing the wild fires in the southeast and messing around in Hot Springs so had to forgo Paducah. Another trip. Straight on to Louisville, Kentucky to visit the Kentucky Derby Museum and Churchill Downs. I'm embarrassed to admit that it was my first visit to Louisville, especially in light of living in Lexington for about nine months during the mid-eighties.

kentucky derby museumMike busting out of the gate. He did it for real more times than can ever be counted.

The museum was wonderful. Very hands on and educational even to two old race trackers like us. Too numerous to list all the great features and exhibits, just the personal highlights for me.

woodlawn vaseL. Kentucky Derby Trophy; R. Replica of the Woodlawn Vase.

I loved the two huge glass cases containing various prestigious racing trophies. Above are the Kentucky Derby Trophy won my Majestic Prince in 1969 and a replica of the Woodlawn Vase, the most valuable trophy in all of sportsdom. It was created by Tiffany and Company in 1860 and safely buried during the Civil War to protect it from being turned into shot. Very romantic.

churchill downsChurchill Downs twin spires as viewed from the paddock.

It was a week day after the Derby and racing returned to normal. Michael duked an usher into bringing us upstairs in the exclusive Turf Club to view the incredible glass sculpture created by artist Ken vonRoenn Jr. It's a replica of Churchill Downs replete with over 4,000 hand blown figures. Look at the individual figures (hats 'n all) in the background cheering on the horses...amazing.

glass sculptureOnward to Lexington to attend a soiree fundraiser for the High Hope Steeplechase on Saturday night. Kentucky folks make networking easy and enjoyable with their approachable friendliness. Sunday was the steeplechase at the Kentucky Horse Park (spectacularly beautiful!) and my exhibit. I think my booth looks better than ever although the top still looks like a wrinkled bed sheet regardless of how tight we pull.

kentucky horse parkMichael had a chance to catch up with Gary Stevens who was commentating the steeplechase for TVG and also calling the last amateur race. He told Michael that he'd try to make it up to see my booth but was inundated by adoring autograph seekers - another side to fame. We watched him try to come up the hill to see us. However, because Gary is such a class act, he sent up the cameraman from TVG who crouched in the back of my booth shooting my paintings, me and anyone who wandered in to chat. Way, way cool. Can't say that anyone received air time but one never knows...Hall of Famer Chris McCarron did make it up the hill and he and Michael chatted out back for awhile. Chris has started a jockey school in Lexington.

high hope steeplechaseLoose horse during a steeplechase race. Boy, can they ever jump without a rider.

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