I got to The Red Mile bright and early this morning but it wasn't easy. Just one day into this year's Backstretch With Gordon chronicles the paparazzi were chasing me everywhere. I don't mind the cameras, but it's the probing questions that bother me. Once and for all, no, I'm not dating Kim Kardashian.
I expected things to be quite wet and muddy at the track but it wasn't too bad. We had rain in Lexington that began late yesterday morning and lasted a couple hours, and then at 4 a.m. this morning we had another pretty good thunderstorm go through.
Midway through my journey today I made it trackside to watch the horses work out and saw trackman Dan Coon standing nearby. I have to be extra nice to Dan as he's my partner in a fantasy football league—we're sixth out of 26 teams through three weeks—and he said he kept both the main track and infield track open for the horsemen this morning. But with the main oval a bit messy the majority of the horses were working over the half-mile inside track. "I gave them the track of their choice,” Dan told me.
My first stop today was to the race office to say hello to the stewards. Rich Williams was there and Anthony Clark was on the phone. He was going through the program making driver changes for Friday's card and I quickly figured out it was Ron Pierce he was talking to.
I then went into the backstretch to trainer Paul Kelley's barn, which is located near the front. I talked to Paul yesterday for a story for Thursday's special Lexington Preview e-newsletter (if you aren't already a weekly subscriber and want to sign up for the free newsletter, just click the box at the top of our home page) and I needed a picture of him. As I snapped the photo I told him that I still get a kick talking to him because with his brother being TV producer David E. Kelley he is the brother-in-law of the beautiful Michelle Pfeiffer, one of my favorite movie stars.
It then became a Hall of Fame moment for me as Mike Lachance walked by and waved hello and then I stopped to chat with Chuck Sylvester. We were then joined by Ron Gurfein. That's some Hall of Fame trifecta there as all three are enshrined in Goshen.
I headed up the way to stop and see Tony Alagna for another story that I wanted to do and I congratulated him on the end result of Major Bombay's travels last week. Tony entered Major Bombay in both Thursday's Little Brown Jug and Saturday's New York Sires Stakes final. Tony wouldn't divulge to me totally last week his plans but whatever he had in the works was made easier when Major Bombay finished fifth in his Jug elim and didn't advance to the second heat. He sent Major Bombay to New York the next day and the trip paid off when he won the $225,000 final. "My grand plan worked,” Tony said with a smile.
Bob McIntosh was coming off the track with a horse and the trainer—yet another Hall of Famer—was adorned with his Detroit Tigers hat. When I saw Bob last week at the Jug we had both kind of given up on the Tigers' playoff chances this year but the team has now moved back into a first-place tie in the division with one week to go. Go Tigers!
As for the weather in the next few days in the Bluegrass, it's supposed to reach 80 today but more rain is predicted later on. And the forecast calls for highs in the low 70s and lows in the high 50s over the next few days with off-an-on rain showers. It's not until Sunday that there is no rain expected.
Finally, gas went down a nickel overnight and it's now $3.78 a gallon. And I know now how Jimmy Kimmel feels when he runs out of time on a regular basis and can't bring actor Matt Damon out on stage as a guest. I had heard my buddy Nick Salvi had a good time on the town last night and wanted to talk to him so I could add some spice to today's writings, but I've just run out of time. My apologies to Nick.