Louisville Magazine

Breeders Cup 2018

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24 BREEDERS' CUP #BC18 CHURCHILL MEETS THE WORLD The Breeders' Cup is just a hop, skip and jump away for the international crowd By Bill Doolittle Breeders' Cup Photo © Mongolian Saturday's team celebrates after his Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint win in 2015 at Keeneland ◊ It's a pretty interesting thing that a horse can hop on a plane in England, fly 12 hours across the Atlantic to Kentucky, and a couple days later stand a good chance of winning a Breeders' Cup race worth a million dollars. Or more. en hop back home. e ability to load a horse on a nicely appointed cargo jet and zip it around the globe has broadened the horizons of the horse world. And it has certainly made the Breeders' Cup a bigger and more important event. At Churchill Downs, stall superin- tendent Steve Hargrave is tracking the Breeders' Cup horses coming to Lou- isville this year for the World Cham- pionships. When they land, the horses are vanned three miles from Louisville International Airport to Churchill Downs, and Hargrave is there to check them in at the stable gate. "You try to be consistent, always here to help, and you never know what that'll be . . . like somebody forgot a pitchfork," says Hargrave. "ere's a team that works very closely on making all this work." It seems like they've got it all down pat. But these horses are worth mil- lions and millions. Everyone wants it smooth. "It's amazing how well the horses do," says Dora Delgado, the Breeders' Cup senior vice president of racing and nominations. "Mendelssohn, for example — he's spent more time in the air than on the ground, it seems. He lands, he goes through quarantine, he's ready to go." A large part of the effort is setting up quarantine that doesn't tax the horses. Delgado says the Breeders' Cup and host tracks have worked out a special exemption with the USDA to set up temporary quarantine barns at the track, rather than in a government quarantine permanent facility. At the host track, the international horses have their own barns, in which they are separated from the rest of the horse population. And the quarantine time is an expedited 42 hours for medical testing to be complet- ed. Further exemptions allow the horses' grooms to attend them, and the barns have walking facilities so the equine ath- letes can keep up their vim and vigor. IN NEW YORK, THEY CALLED HIM LESTER Back in 1982, when John Gaines, the owner of Gainesway Farm, in Lexing- ton, Ky., and other prominent horse breeders founded the Breeders' Cup, they thought the event could serve as a sparkling fall championship, primarily for American horses. But the planners

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