Wrap Up Day 4 Sun 4-19-2009
It rained today... but that didn't stop us.
Met again with Keeneland President Nick Nicholson. We discussed (in some detail) the issues of track signal availability, takeout, drugs, and pool integrity. We talked about HANA goals and racing industry goals - and how they are basically one and the same. I came away from today's meeting with two things:
1. A realization that a positive relationship now exists between the management of Keeneland and HANA where none existed before.
2. There actually ARE track execs that get it. Nick certainly fits that description.
I'll just leave things at that.
Today was also Military Appreciation Day. Nick explained to us the idea behind this event. Several thousand US Army soldiers - who are still in basic training - are given one day off at the race track. Banks of phone booths are set up, and the soldiers are allowed to make phone calls to anywhere in the world. They call home to their families... wives, children, etc. Nick explained that the first year of the event people were thanking the soldiers for doing what they do and just handing over their cell phones. And I saw lots of that going on first hand today myself. He also explained that the soldiers bought so much ice cream that first year that Keeneland ran out! This year he made sure they had enough on hand for all of them.
Then there was a day of live racing. Theresia headed up to the dining room on level four - while a few of us took over Mike Maloney's "office" again. Stuball had another good day and so did I. Purple Power stopped in. And so did DBantu. He and I talked about HANA goals for a while. Then we talked shop about programming, handicapping methodologies, and professionalism amongst horseplayers.
He brought along a buddy who is a sports bettor and poker player... who oddly enough has almost no interest whatsoever in playing horses. We discussed at length the reasons why... which only highlighted the things HANA is trying to get across to the industry.
After the races we found Mike Maloney in the dining room and said our goodbye's. I can't thank Mike enough for the doors he opened for us at HANA and for all his hospitality here in Kentucky. I really am at a complete loss for words here.
Afterwards we drove out to visit a horse farm.... Zach Kinneman's Tahoma Stud. Zach, his wife Kate, and their Farm Manager Otto were kind enough to show us around. We got to pet some of the foals. Zach and Kate then took us to the pasture where 23 year old Mr. Bolg still romps. (They rescued him from a kill pen.) And let me tell you he still looks magnificent. They were even kind enough to give us a tour of the farmhouse (built in the 1820's) that they are restoring.
Again, I am simply blown away by the hospitality and the openess of the people here. If you've never been here you're missing out.
Photo courtesy Tahoma Stud