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Backstretch with Gordon

September 30, 2003
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I'd been trying to make my way to "The Big Top" for a few days now, and finally today I was able to do so as I wondered what life was like under the tent. With an overflow of horses entered to race at The Red Mile, extra stalls were needed. So the track added three temporary big tents that housed more than 300 horses.



"If you're selling anything, we're not buying," was what Jerome Brown, a caretaker for the Skip Lewis Stable, said to me as I walked into his tent area. When I identified myself, he still cast a wary eye, but as we began to talk he realized I was harmless.



"It's not bad, not bad at all under what we like to call, 'The Big Tent,'" said Brown, who has worked for Lewis for more than 20 years and is currently looking after a stable of four in Lexington.



The weather was chilly and Brown was wearing a New York Yankees winter cap. We talked a little baseball, and he told me he was disappointed that his favorite team lost to Minnesota in the opening game of the divisional championship series last night. He said he didn't mind the cooler temperatures because after last night's night-long rains that soaked the track, he was "still drying out" after racing a horse late on the card.



I wandered down to the other end of "The Big Top" and saw caretaker Brian Legrand walking the 3-year-old filly trotter Thrill A Minute. Although it was muddy goings to get there, the grassy area they were strolling was in great shape. Brian also said that life under the tent was fine.



Brian works for Delaware-based trainer Morgan McInnis, and they brought two down to Lexington, including Thrill A Minute, who finished seventh here in her last start. Brian said their other horse, the 2-year-old filly trotter Rant N Rave, finished third in her Bluegrass division last week. He said they'd be shipping back Saturday.



When I was walking back to my car, Brian's last words suddenly hit me. "We'll be shipping back Saturday." I suddenly realized that Saturday's card would be the last live racing at The Red Mile for 10 months! With no spring meet in 2004 and the track not opening until early August, what are we going to do around here with no live action for so long?--Gordon Waterstone
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