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Kraft Beer With Kindsey: Blue Stallion Brewing Co.

Kraft Beer With Kindsey: Blue Stallion Brewing Co.

It is no secret that bourbon dominates this state, but the craft beer industry is growing in Kentucky. There are locally owned breweries and microbreweries scattered all around the state and it is my mission to travel to each and every one and tell their story.

Germany is over 4,000 miles from Lexington and would take more than a day’s worth of travel to get there.

Blue Stallion Brewing Co. in Lexington saves you the jet lag and gives you the experience of an authentic, traditional German beer in Kentucky.

Blue Stallion is Lexington’s only brewery that focuses on authentic German lagers and British ales.

Blue Stallion was founded by Kore Donnelly, Jim Clemons, Zac Donnelly, Xavier Donnelly and Nico Schulz. The idea to focus on German lagers and British ales was because of Schulz.

The Donnellys and Clemons were all born and raised in Kentucky, but Schulz grew up in a small town in northern Germany near Hamburg.

Schulz developed an interest in brewing science while working as a laboratory assistant in quality control for one of the largest food processing plants in Germany. Schulz gained experience brewing while working at a small brewery in Germany.

“Nico being from Germany and working in a brewery there and having a lot of experience with lager beers it already made sense to look down that path,” Kore Donnelly said.

The five owners agreed that that path was best for the success of Blue Stallion. Two other Lexington breweries, West Sixth and Country Boy, were just opening and Blue Stallion wanted to offer beer styles that were in addition to what they were offering.

“A lot of other brewery cities, you know, there might be 20 or 30 breweries but it’s the same six or seven beer styles with slight twists,” Donnelly said. “So we thought offering British and German style lagers and ales would give a lot more variety and choice for people that wanted to try beer in Lexington.”

The owners had all home brewed separately before opening, but before ultimately making the decision to focus on German and British style beers they spent a year and a half home brewing together to develop a business plan and work out exactly what beers they were going to brew.

“We got together every week and brewed several batches on a 10 gallon system,” Donnelly said. “We developed our first 10 or 12 beer styles by brewing them probably 20 times each.”

The decision has paid off for Blue Stallion who is now in their fourth year of business after opening in July of 2013.

The success has come mostly from their commitment to not only make traditional beers, but also high quality beers

German lagers take twice as long to brew than most American styles of beer, which has become difficult from a production standpoint. Blue Stallion believes the extra time is worth it.

“We want to make sure we focus on the quality and consistency of a German style beer,” Donnelly said. “Having German-style fresh lager beer that has not been on a ship for two months and hasn’t gotten hot and cold 400 times and is brewed in the traditional way in Germany.”

Blue Stallion’s beers are as traditional as the beers that are brewed in Germany because all of their beers follow a German Purity law called Reinheitsgebot.

Reinheitsgebot is a 500-year-old purity law pertaining to beer. Originally the law said that beer can only be made with three ingredients, but that was before the Germans knew about yeast. Now the law states that beer can only be made with four ingredients: water, hops, yeast and grain. 

“We don’t add any adjuncts to the lagers, we don’t add any acid or fining agents during the brewing or clarification process and so it is really is done in the traditional way,” Donnelly said. “There are no fermentation shortcuts.”

It takes macro-breweries like Anheuser Busch 13 days to brew their beers, but Blue Stallion’s lagers take six weeks. These six weeks are the reason that Blue Stallions feels like you’re sitting in biergarten in Munich.  

“I think you’ll get an example of a German style beer, British-style beer that is extremely close to the highest quality beers you would get in Germany if you were there in person,” Donnelly said. 

Facebook: @BlueStallionBrewing

One of the other challenges of the six-week brewing process is explaining to their customers why these beers take longer to brew.

“It’s kind of hard to explain to the public the difference in a lager and an ale,” Donnelly said. “How lager is cold fermented and because it’s cold fermented, the yeast takes twice as long to finish eating basically to reabsorb some of the off flavors and so you just have to let it take its time to have a crisp and clean beer.”

Many of Blue Stallion’s most popular, or flagship, beers are a result of this process. The extra time to get the beers to their highest quality may be difficult, but has been worth it for Blue Stallion and their continued success.

Some of Blue Stallion’s traditional German beers include their Hefeweizen (Hefeweizen), Helles (Munich-style Helles Lager), Dunkel (Munich-style Dunkel), War Admiral (Strong German Wheat Weizenbock).

You do not have to be German, have  German heritage or even like Germany to enjoy Blue Stallion’s beer. Although they focus on those style of beers, they offer a variety of other styles of beer including IPAs, stouts, porters, and much more.

Lasst euch nicht lumpen, hoch mit dem Humpen! Prost!

Facebook: @BlueStallionBrewing

My beer picks at Blue Stallion:

Something light: Hefeweizen is a classic German wheat beer that all beer lovers can enjoy. Blue Stallion’s Hefeweizen is a smooth and a beer you can drink a few of in one night. 

Something in the middle: German Pilsner is what the name says, a German pilsner. However, German pilsners are little hoppier then American pilsners. This is a great beer to try if you want to try more hoppier, bitter beers.

Something heavy: War Admiral is strong German wheat weizenbock. This beer is limited so get it while you can. And be careful the ABV is 8.2%.

If you are interested in sponsoring this post, please email Cheers.

HOT MICS! USL Cup Final Commentators Bash Louisville City After Win

HOT MICS! USL Cup Final Commentators Bash Louisville City After Win


While the people of Louisville celebrated a professional soccer championship on Louisville Slugger Field, the ESPNU broadcasters blamed the field for taking down Louisville City FC’s opponent.

In just its third year of existence, Louisville City FC won the USL Cup with a 1-0 victory over the Swope Park Rangers, thanks to Cameron Lancaster’s header in the 89th minute.

When the final horn sounded, fans rushed the field and the ESPNU broadcast cut to a break.  Then Mike Watts and Kate Markgarf made a rookie mistake.  One viewer captured everything that was said into the hot mics for more than three minutes.  Instead of giving Lou City credit, Markgarf thought Swope Park got screwed because they had to play on the road.

“So I really can’t say the field was shit and that’s why the game was crap?”

No, you can’t, but you still did.

I was proud to watch that crap game because it was one of the coolest sporting moments I’ve ever seen in my city.  I’m not a big futbol guy, but following this team has been an absolute joy.  I don’t always get to enjoy sports with my friends because the UK/UofL rivalry gets in the way.  Last night we got to celebrate like a bunch of maniacs together when that unexpected goal hit the back of the net in the game’s final minutes.

There are a ton of curmudgeons who like to say that Louisville can only be a college sports town.  They point to the demise of the Kentucky Colonels, Riverfrogs, Panthers, IceHawks and Louisville Fire as proof.  Last night a Louisville Slugger Field record crowd of 14,456 begged to differ.

What a night. Thanks, Lou City.

WATCH: Matthew McConaughey surprising Lawrenceburg ladies with turkey is great

WATCH: Matthew McConaughey surprising Lawrenceburg ladies with turkey is great

By now, you’ve heard that Matthew McConaughey was in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky last weekend to deliver frozen turkeys on behalf of Wild Turkey (he’s their spokesman). But the footage of him going door-to-door is going viral, and it’s well worth a few minutes of your time.

Saturday was actually McConaughey’s 48th birthday, and way better way to celebrate than surprising a group of adoring fans with a giant Butterball turkey? He shared the experience on Facebook Live, and the women’s reaction as he walked up to the door is absolutely priceless, especially the woman in the gray t-shirt with the dog.

Kudos to McConaughey for being great with the excited ladies (I’m sure he’s never heard “Alright, Alright, Alright” before) and the crew at Wild Turkey, whom he addressed before delivering the 4,500 turkeys:

Very, very cool. More McConaughey in Kentucky, please.

Kraft Beer With Kindsey: Mile Wide Beer Co

Kraft Beer With Kindsey: Mile Wide Beer Co

It is no secret that bourbon dominates this state, but the craft beer industry is growing in Kentucky. There are locally owned breweries and microbreweries scattered all around the state and it is my mission to travel to each and every one and tell their story.



The Ohio River is 981 miles long and that borders six states, but the widest point on the Ohio River is just north of downtown Louisville where it is one mile wide.

When Scott Shreffler, Kyle Tavares, Matt Landon and Patrick Smith decided to open a brewery in Louisville, they wanted to pick a name that was tied to the city but wasn’t Louisville specific.

“We didn’t want to go after horses or baseball bats or things like that,” Shreffler said. 

After months of discussion, Smith pitched the name “Mile Wide” in honor of the widest point of the Ohio River.

“The name is kind of made sense,” Shreffler said. “We’d gone back and forth with a couple of them, a couple different names and, you know, it’s it’s all about feel. When you hear the right name, you know it.”

“It [the name] kind of gives us the idea of being open,” he said. 

Mile Wide opened in December of 2016 and has done exactly what the name suggests. It has never stopped moving and welcomes a wide range of people; beer lovers and non-beer lovers.

The goal at Mile Wide is to open people’s minds about beer and Shreffler and Tavares have made it their mission.

“Everybody likes beer, they just haven’t found the right one yet,” Tavares said. “And some people many never find it. They may not open their mind up enough to be open to trying enough to find that beer, but there’s beer for everyone. There’s too many styles brewed throughout the world for somebody just blankety say I don’t like it.”

Mile Wide sees this challenge as a way to decide which beer to brew.

“We need to provide a certain variety for people because everybody’s beer tastes are different,” Shreffler said. “Those people that come in here that are like “I don’t even like beer, I just got dragged in here”. Well we have a variety of beer that you should try because, you know, maybe you just haven’t had the right beer because there is a beer out there for everybody.”

One of the biggest challenges that Shreffler and Tavares see in owning a craft brewery is that people will say they don’t like craft beer without trying it.

Shreffler and Tavares are adamant that people who come into Mile Wide and don’t like craft beer, just need to try a little taste.

“I tell them if you don’t like it, just pour it into that bucket right in front of you,” Tavares said. “I’m not going to be offended. I would rather people try 10 samples of our beer and throw out nine of them, but find the one that they like then for somebody to be like I just generally don’t like beer.”

Tavares says most people see beer in three categories: Budweiser, IPAs and stouts. Those people see craft beer as IPAs and stouts and nothing in between.

To get people more comfortable with IPAs, Mile Wide decided to brew a series of Northeast styles IPA because of people’s objection to the high bitterness of IPAs.  The staple of Northeast style of IPAs is very low bitterness.

“What I love about that style and that series of beers we’re doing is getting to be in those situations where it’s a tasting format and somebody isn’t going to be committed to a full beer,” Shreffler said. “You get them to try. Here you say you don’t like IPAs, here take four ounces of this. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to drink it.”

IPAs are a scary to most non-craft beer drinkers, but stouts are even scarier. Most people aren’t used to a beer being dark and heavy, which makes them hesitant to try stouts.

“People are so scared of stouts,” Tavares said. “Thinking they are so big and heavy. And they try it and they’re like “Oh my gosh. It’s like a dessert in a glass.”

Shreffler and Tavares knows that despite everything they do, there are still going to be people who try their beer and not like it. That’s why Mile Wide carries liquor and wine.

“We hope that by having liquor and a limited wine selection the people will come here to just hang out and want to also try beer while they’re here,” Tavares said.

“When we were conceptualizing the taproom, you know, the one thing that we don’t want is to give anybody a reason to not come,” Shreffler said. “There’s going to be times when the wife drinks beer the husband doesn’t or the husband drinks beer and the wife doesn’t. Whatever it may be, we want them to still come here.”

And people do still come to Mile Wide because the beer is good. So good that one of their beers won a medal at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver in early October.

Mile Wide won a bronze medial in the Sweet Stout or Cream Stout category for McPoyle, a milk stout. Mile Wide was the only GABF winner in the state of Kentucky and the state’s first award winner since 2015.

Mile Wide has carved out a niche in the Louisville craft beer community, but despite all the success, they are still trying to spread the word about their brewery in Louisville.

“It’s amazing to see truly how many people don’t even know we exist in our own city,” Shreffler said. “How many people within two square miles of the brewery don’t know that we’re here. Hard core beer geeks do and more and more the general public is becoming aware there we’re here, but we still got a lot of work to do to just increase our awareness in our own city.”

Having not even celebrated one year of business, Mile Wide’s is on the right path to great success and their beer is a testament to that.

My beer picks at Mile Wide:

Something light(er): Brabble (blonde ale) or Barstow (American wheat ale) are both smooth, light beers that are a good for any new craft beer drinker.

Something in the middle: Moxie/Tuck Rule are Mile Wide’s two Northeast IPAs. I am not a huge IPA drinker, but NE IPAs, especially Mile Wide’s, are very different and very good.

Something dark: McPoyle because it is an award winning beer.

If you are interested in sponsoring this post, please email Cheers.

Why did Rand Paul’s neighbor attack him?

Why did Rand Paul’s neighbor attack him?

Between football, basketball, and recruiting, there’s a lot going on in Kentucky right now, but all I care about is the fight between Rand Paul and his neighbor.

If you’ve somehow missed the headline, over the weekend, Paul’s next door neighbor Rene Boucher attacked him at his home in Bowling Green. Witnesses said Boucher, a 59-year-old retired doctor, “ambushed” Paul from behind while the senator was mowing his yard. Paul suffered five rib fractures and several small cuts to his face. Boucher was charged with one count of fourth-degree assault and has since been released on bond.

Boucher’s mug shot

NBC News is reporting that the two hadn’t spoken in years due to a long-standing disagreement, possibly over a property line involving a creek in Paul’s backyard or politics, as Boucher is a Democrat; however Boucher’s lawyers insists that’s not what the fight was about.

“Senator Paul and Dr. Boucher have been next-door neighbors for 17 years. They are also prominent members of the local medical community and worked together when they were both practicing physicians. The unfortunate occurrence of November 3rd has absolutely nothing to do with either’s politics or political agendas. It was a very regrettable dispute between two neighbors over a matter that most people would regard as trivial. We sincerely hope that Senator Paul is doing well and that these two gentlemen can get back to being neighbors as quickly as possible.”

“A matter that most people would regard as trivial”? So trivial that Boucher broke five of Paul’s ribs? A KSR reader sent Matt a message earlier claiming Boucher was angry because Paul left a pile of brush in his yard:

My money’s on Paul not picking up after his dog. Inquiring minds must know!

UPDATE: A planting or flora issue!!

Breeders’ Cup Saturday Races 9 – 12, presented by Pocket Aces Racing

Message from our sponsor:

Have you ever wanted to roam the paddock at Keeneland between races?  Have you ever imagined what it would be like to see your horse line up in the starting gate?  Have you ever dreamt of having your picture taken in the winner’s circle?  Owning a race horse is easier and more affordable than you might think.  Let Pocket Aces Racing LLC show you how. Thoroughbred racing partnerships are forming now.  

Breeders’ Cup action concludes with the late pick 4 on Saturday consisting of the Mile, Juvenile, Turf, and Classic.  The Classic features a highly anticipated rematch between Gun Runner and Arrogate who squared off in the Dubai World Cup back in March, with Arrogate emerging victorious on that occasion.  Most racing insiders would agree that Gun Runner has improved markedly since returning from Dubai and many might even agree that Arrogate seems to have taken a step backward during that time.  The race provides one of the most intriguing head-to-head match-ups in Breeders’ Cup history.  Here’s a look at the final four races on the Breeders’ Cup card:

Image result for del mar race track

Image via Corvettes of Temecula Valley

Mile – Race 9 – 6:19 EST post time

An ample amount of speed is signed on in this rendition of the Breeders’ Cup Mile with Midnight Storm and Heart to Heart breaking from posts 1 and 2.  They are both top notch race horses and either one would be very dangerous if not for the presence of the other.  They will take this field a long way, but it would be a surprise if either one could withstand the pressure and emerge victorious.  While those two represent the quickest Americans out of the gate, there is no shortage of speed shipping in from across the pond.  Home of the Brave, Ribchester, Roly Poly, and Karar all figure to race prominently from the outset.  Of those, Ribchester and Roly Poly appear most capable of taking the goods back home.  Ribchester is a 3 time Group 1 winner at a mile this year and most recently finished 2nd to the filly Persuasive in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot on British Champions Day just two weeks ago.  Given that he has already raced six times since late May, one might wonder whether this race was always in the cards or came as more of an afterthought.  Roly Poly was last seen at Newmarket on the first weekend of October when she defeated Persuasive in the Sun Chariot.  She has won 3 of her last 4 with the lone loss coming over yielding ground, an element she will not have to overcome on Saturday.  Blackjackcat will sit in behind the primary speed for the home team.  He has 4 straight wins, all at a mile, and 2 of those have come over the Del Mar lawn.  He is 3 for 5 lifetime at Del Mar and 4 for 5 lifetime at the mile distance.  Suedois shipped over a month in advance to take the Shadwell Mile at Keeneland and deserves respect here on the basis of that effort.  World Approval has reeled off two Grade 1 mile victories in a row and seems likely to benefit from an expected scorching pace.

Top Selections:  Roly Poly and Suedois

Long Shot Choice:  Blackjackcat

Juvenile – Race 10 – 6:58 EST post time

U S Navy Flag owns 23% of the total lifetime starts for the entire Juvenile field.  His 4 wins and $640,000 in earnings easily surpass anything else this field has to offer, and if he were running in the Juvenile Turf he would likely be a heavy favorite.  Instead he shows up as the biggest wild card in this field.  If he can prove as effective on dirt as he has been on grass, then he will be very difficult to deal with in this spot.  Given that he is not only being asked to try a new surface but also to negotiate two left hand turns for the first time, it may not be wise to accept anything less than double digit odds on him.  Drawn on the rail, he is likely to be hard sent from the gate and may actually be a legitimate threat to take this field gate to wire.  Bolt d’Oro is perfect in 3 starts and stands head and shoulders above the rest of this class at this point in their young careers.  It would take serious improvement from anyone else in this field to beat him as he was nearly eight lengths clear in his two-turn debut last out.  Free Drop Billy has been training very well for Dale Romans and should certainly be included in the exotics following his easy victory in the Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland.  Good Magic is still a maiden but finished 2nd by just half a length in the Grade 1 Champagne.  He is eligible to make another big jump forward in his 3rd lifetime start.  Golden Dragon is another horse making his first start on dirt.  He had an impeccable breeze over the Del Mar surface on Monday and may be sitting on a big race at a fat price.

Top Selections:  Bolt d’Oro and Good Magic

Long Shot Choice: Golden Dragon

Turf – Race 11 – 7:37 EST post time

Highland Reel led from pillar to post in this race last year and may attempt to do the same again as his inside draw dictates that may be his best strategy.  He will most certainly not be nearly as comfortable this time around though as both Beach Patrol and Oscar Performance are willing and able of keeping him company.  Ulysses may hold the strongest hand of the foreign invaders.  He is undoubtedly a better horse than he was when 4th in this event last year.  He has two top level successes to his credit to go along with a 3rd place effort in Europe’s most prominent 12 furlong race, the Arc de Triomphe, this season.  Sadler’s Joy has an impressive 3 for 5 record at the mile and a half distance, including a win in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer at Saratoga.  His late running style will be severely challenged by Del Mar’s short stretch.  Hunt may be a logical outsider with two Grade 2 wins over the local sod during the summer meet.

Top Selections:  Highland Reel and Beach Patrol

Long Shot Choice:  Hunt

Classic – Race 12 – 8:35 EST post time

The $6 million feature is seen by most as a showdown between defending champion Arrogate and the beast from the east, Gun Runner.  While that is most likely to be the case, there are several others worth mentioning.  Collected beat Arrogate in the Pacific Classic going the same mile and a quarter distance over this track in each of their last starts.  He is a perfect 4 for 4 this season.  West Coast has won 5 straight since finishing 2nd by a head in the Lexington Stakes in just his 3rd lifetime start.  He emerged late on the scene to firmly establish himself as the best 3yo with facile wins in the Travers and Pennsylvania Derby.  If there is a bomb of a possibility in this field (an Arcangues-type result for Breeders’ Cup historians), it might lie with War Decree.  By War Front out of a Street Cry mare, his pedigree suggests that he may take to the dirt just fine.  He’s been a decent horse in Europe and appears to have been pointed to this race with purpose.  If the dirt and addition of Lasix move him up, who knows?  The most probable scenario is that this race does come down to Gun Runner and ArrogateGun Runner will likely mix things up with Collected early and perhaps West Coast, and he should be able to get the best of that duo.  The question then becomes whether he will have enough left in the tank, going a mile and a quarter, to hold off the late charge of Arrogate.  My guess is that he will not.  Gun Runner was exceptional in his 3 Grade 1 victories after filling the runner-up spot behind Arrogate in Dubai.  However, he did not face a single horse in any of those races as good as Collected or even West Coast, and certainly not as good as Arrogate.  I believe Arrogate is back in top form following two sub-par efforts at Del Mar this summer.  I don’t think Baffert would be running him if he did not feel the horse was prepped for a peak performance.  His style better suits the expected pace scenario of this race, and Mike Smith knows he needs to be close enough to finish the job entering the short stretch home.  I fully expect this race to be one for the ages, and I expect Arrogate to emerge victorious one last time.

Top Selection:  Arrogate

Long Shot Choice:  War Decree

Best of luck to all!  Enjoy a fun and profitable Breeders’ Cup!

Breeders’ Cup Saturday Races 4 – 8, presented by Pocket Aces Racing

Message from our sponsor:

Have you ever wanted to roam the paddock at Keeneland between races?  Have you ever imagined what it would be like to see your horse line up in the starting gate?  Have you ever dreamt of having your picture taken in the winner’s circle?  Owning a race horse is easier and more affordable than you might think.  Let Pocket Aces Racing LLC show you how. Thoroughbred racing partnerships are forming now.  

Breeders’ Cup action continues on Saturday with the remaining 9 races, including the featured Classic, a highly anticipated rematch (from the Dubai World Cup in March) between Arrogate and Gun Runner.  Here is a look at the first 5 championship races of the day which encompass races 4 through 8 on Del Mar’s Saturday card:

Image result for del mar race track

The paddock at Del Mar. Photo courtesy of SoCalPulse.

Juvenile Fillies – Race 4 – 3:00 EST post time

Absent a horribly overmatched maiden owned by a madman, this looks like a very competitive renewal of the mile and a sixteenth affair for two-year old fillies.  Things could not have gone more perfectly for morning line favorite Moonshine Memories at the post draw.  Her top rivals drew the rail and the far outside post while she drew a perfect spot right near the middle of the field.  In addition to the favorable draw, she is a 2 time Grade 1 winner and a perfect 2 for 2 at Del Mar.  She has enough speed that she can certainly take the lead if the opportunity presents itself, or she can stalk and pounce as she did in her most recent victory in the Chandelier at Santa Anita.  Separationofpowers ran a huge race in the Frizette and would have been a major threat in this spot, but she took the worst of it at the post position draw landing in stall 13.  Jose Ortiz will be forced to send her hard out of the gate to try and save ground in the short run to the turn.  With some significant west coast speed to her inside, she is likely to lose some significant ground around the turns, or be forced to use too much energy to avoid losing the ground.  It’s possible she is good enough to overcome that disadvantage but I’m unwilling to support her at short odds.  Heavenly Love was much the best in the Alcibiades at Keeneland, but it’s fair to question the quality of her competition that day.  Given her rail draw, the more preferable Mark Casse entrant might be Wonder Gadot.  She has been very good in all 3 of her races, showing improvement each time, and should show even further improvement with her first start on the dirt.  Piedi Bianchi chased Moonshine Memories in her two stakes attempts and will attempt to turn the tables on that foe this time with the aid of a little more pace pressure.  She also has a win over the Del Mar surface.

Top Selections:  Wonder Gadot and Moonshine Memories

Long Shot Choice:  Piedi Bianchi

Turf Sprint – Race 5 – 3:37 EST post time

Lady Aurelia may be the most likely winner of any Breeders’ Cup race this year.  She is 5 for 7 lifetime and 2 for 3 at this 5 furlong distance.  She has two Group 1 wins against the best sprinters Europe has to offer.  She has tactical speed that will allow her to stay clear of any traffic impediments.  Despite racing primarily in Europe, she is trained by Wesley Ward and does most of her training at Keeneland, so she is used to a left hand turn, unlike her primary rival.  Marsha defeated Lady Aurelia by a nose on the wire the last time they met in the Group 1 Nunthorpe.  While the two are an even one and one in head-to-head match-ups, Lady Aurelia has a decided home field advantage for this tie-breaker.  Marsha has raced exclusively in Europe where the sprints are run on a straight, and she reportedly had a difficult time handling a turn during her preparation for this event.  Disco Partner is certainly one of the best horses in this race, but 5 furlongs seems just a smidge too short for him as he does his best work between 6 furlongs and a mile.  His stablemate Pure Sensation is well suited for the 5 furlong trip and certainly could have something to say about the outcome, but he will have a tough go of it from the far outside post.  Bucchero won the Grade 2 Woodford at Keeneland over Hogy and Mongolian Saturday.  He has enough early zip to stay close to the leaders and could catch a piece of this at a longer price.  Richard’s Boy has two wins over the local course and that experience may prove vital at this locale.

Top Selections:  Lady Aurelia and Richard’s Boy

Long Shot Choice:  Bucchero

Filly and Mare Sprint – Race 6 – 4:14 EST post time

Finest City is the defending champion of this race and she followed that victory up with a score in the Grade 2 Santa Monica over the same course and distance as her Breeders’ Cup triumph.  Since then, things have not gone her way.  She was given a freshening since a 3rd place effort in the Grade 2 Great Lady M at Los Alamitos in early July and has trained well for trainer Ian Kruljac, who won with 3 of 4 starters off similar layoffs this year.  The daughter of City Zip has won 2 of 3 races at Del Mar and she’ll be the defending champ that no one is talking about on race day.  Paulassilverlining was seen by many as the leader of this division prior to an inexplicable 5th place finish as the favorite in the Ballerina, where she was beaten 7 lengths.  If she can regain her early season form, she will be tough in this spot.  By the Moon won 3 of her last 4 coming into this, avenging the lone defeat when annexing the aforementioned Ballerina over today’s rivals Highway Star, Carina Mia, and PaulassilverliningFinley’sluckycharm is 9 for 12 lifetime and will certainly contribute to the early pace.  She split Paulassilverlining and By the Moon in the Grade 2 Honorable Miss at Saratoga and may be better suited for 6 furlongs than 7.  Highway Star is ultra-consistent and 3 for 4 at this 7 furlong distance with her lone loss just a head decision to By the Moon in the Ballerina.  She’ll be in a stalking position and ready to pounce if the leaders get leg weary late.  Unique Bella will attempt to become the first 3yo filly to win this event.  She has been perfect since a runner-up effort in her debut.  She would have been a huge favorite in the Kentucky Oaks (or Derby for that matter), but was sidelined by a minor issue and forced to miss the summer.  She came back to take the Grade 3 LA Woman by a comfortable margin and has fired nothing but bullets in the morning.  She may be a short price, but anything north of her 9/5 morning line may end up looking like a gift.

Top Selections:  Unique Bella and Highway Star

Long Shot Choice:  Finest City

Filly and Mare Turf – Race 7 – 5:00 EST post time

Lady Eli will be the biggest sentimental favorite of this Breeders’ Cup as she overcame a severe bout of laminitis as a 3yo to return to top form last year and just missed capturing this race by a nose to returning rival Queen’s Trust.  After dropping a head decision to Dickinson to start the year, Lady Eli has been perfect in three starts since and she is a perfect 3 for 3 lifetime at the mile and an eighth distance.  She should be forwardly placed enough so that the short stretch will not be an issue for her.  Cambodia won the most ideal prep for this when she took the Grade 2 John Mabee over this same course and distance at the beginning of September.  She is perfect in two starts at Del Mar and appears on paper to be the most capable challenger to the favorite.  Dacita shows up in time for the photo every time, but she faces the unenviable task of replacing her rider as Irad Ortiz chose to ride Lady Eli.  Her late running style may not suit this course all that well either.  Avenge appears to be rounding back into the top form she held when finishing in the show spot last year.  She is 2 for 3 at Del Mar and always dangerous on or near the pace.

Top Selections:  Lady Eli and Cambodia

Long Shot Choice:  Avenge

Sprint – Race 8 – 5:37 EST post time

This race absolutely goes through defending champion Drefong.  He is as fast as he needs to be from an inside post position and has shown in the past that he can withstand all the pressure anyone else can muster and go on with it.  One note of concern is, again, the track configuration at Del Mar.  Six furlong races break from a chute on the back side, and there is a gap in the rail for a good bit of distance where the chute joins the main track.  Drefong broke from the 2 stall (same post position as this race) in the Bing Crosby here in July, cleared the horse on the rail and then ducked into the gap, losing Mike Smith in the process.  That race stands as the lone blemish on his record since his debut race.  The concern is that he is again breaking from post 2 with a horse to his inside that he should be able to clear with ease.  Will history repeat itself?  If so, there are several able challengers to the defending champ.  Takaful is a very fast horse and has turned into a different animal since turning back to sprint distances in July.  He most recently beat older horses in the Grade 1 Vosburgh and came back breathing fire with 2 morning bullets over the Belmont training track.  Roy H won the west coast prep for this at Santa Anita.  Imperial Hint is the dark horse in the equation.  He brings 5 straight triple digit Beyer speed figures into this race, and he has the Thoro-Graph sheet numbers to match.  He has been trouncing much lesser foes at Laurel and Parx, and we will finally see what he is truly made of on Saturday.

Top Selection:  Drefong

Long Shot Choice:  Imperial Hint

Breeders’ Cup Friday presented by Pocket Aces Racing

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Have you ever wanted to roam the paddock at Keeneland between races?  Have you ever imagined what it would be like to see your horse line up in the starting gate?  Have you ever dreamt of having your picture taken in the winner’s circle?  Owning a race horse is easier and more affordable than you might think.  Let Pocket Aces Racing LLC show you how. Thoroughbred racing partnerships are forming now.  

The 34th annual Breeders’ Cup World Thoroughbred Championships begin on Friday at Del Mar near San Diego with four star-studded fields encompassing races 6 through 9 on the card.  The Breeders’ Cup always offers a plethora of enticing wagering opportunities and this year is no exception with Friday’s pick 4 sequence kicking things off.  Here is a look at Friday’s action:

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Image via Del Mar Thoroughbred Club

Juvenile Fillies Turf – Race 6 – 5:25 EST post time

An overflow field of 14 two-year old fillies, plus 2 that are also eligible should anyone scratch from the main field, are entered in the 10th running of this one mile grass race.  This is truly an international race as 7 of the 14 fillies in the main body of the field are European-bred and spent the vast majority of their careers thus far on that continent.  Two fillies that really stand out on paper are Happily from the Irish Coolmore contingent and Rushing Fall for e-5 Racing and Chad Brown, the same connections of last year’s champion, New Money HoneyHappily is the only two-time Grade 1 winner in the field with wins in the Moyglare Stud and the Jean-Luc Lagardere against colts on the Arc undercard.  She’s been one of the best juvenile fillies in Europe all season long and looks to have enough speed that her inner draw should not hinder her chances.  Rushing Fall produced the most visually impressive performance of any of the stateside challengers this year when winning the Jessamine Stakes at Keeneland.  She made up 9 1/2 lengths on the field from the half-mile pole to the wire to be the easiest of winners that day.  To add to her resume, the filly she beat in her maiden victory at Belmont, Daddy Is a Legend, returned last Friday at Keeneland and completely demolished a decent looking group of maidens.  Rushing Fall’s speed figures, whether Beyer or Thoro-Graph, are also the best this group has to offer.  If neither of the aforementioned fillies can get the job done, the winner could literally come from anywhere as this becomes a very evenly matched group after the top two.  One longshot that might be worth considering in the exotics is Dixie Moon.  She looks to be the primary speed of the field and the very short stretch at Del Mar could benefit her enough to hit the board.

Top Selections:  Rushing Fall and Happily

Long Shot Choice:  Dixie Moon

Dirt Mile – Race 7 – 6:05 EST post time

Paco Lopez will try taking this field gate-to-wire aboard Sharp Azteca from post 3, and he may well be able to pull it off.  The Freud colt is 5 for 7 lifetime at the one mile distance and is also proven around 2 turns.  Mor Spirit is the 3/1 morning line favorite on the basis of his sensational blowout victory in the Met Mile on Belmont Day.  He has not raced since that effort, meaning he will have nearly a 5 month layoff between races.  If any trainer is capable of having a horse fit enough to win a race of this magnitude off such a break, Bob Baffert is indeed the one.  He intended on a lengthy break after the Met because he was concerned the horse would likely “bounce” off such a monster effort if he ran back too soon.  However, when he did start pressing on Mor Spirit to try and get a race into him prior to the Breeders’ Cup, the son of Eskendereya did not initially respond well in his training.  Word has it that he has turned things around in his most recent works and Baffert is confident he will run his ‘A’ race.  While his speed figures outmatch the rest of the field, the layoff could be reason enough not to accept too short a price.  Accelerate finished well behind Collected and Arrogate, who will both be among the top 3 choices in Saturday’s Classic, in the Pacific Classic going a mile and a quarter at Del Mar in August.  That is his only loss at the track.  Otherwise, he is 3 for 3 including an eight length win in the Grade 2 San Diego and two wins at this one mile distance.  He is drawn outside most of the speed and Victor Espinoza will need to figure out how to save some ground around the turns.  Cupid has a mile and a quarter Grade 1 win to his credit courtesy of the Hollywood Gold Cup back in May, but he got booted from the Classic following a poor performance in the Awesome Again last out.  He does own a one mile win here at Del Mar, but seems like he may be just a cut below the top tier in this spot.  While the names of tracks like Evangeline Downs, Prairie Meadows, Mountaineer, and Remington Park may not typically impress a Breeders’ Cup handicapper, Iron Fist’s sheet numbers indicate he fits in just fine with this group.  The horse has drawn positive reviews in his morning preparations leading up to this race and while the inside draw may not be ideal, it should allow him to save ground as long as he can find an opening turning for home.

Top Selections:  Sharp Azteca and Accelerate

Long Shot Choice:  Iron Fist

Juvenile Turf – Race 8 – 6:50 EST post time

This race appears to be about as wide open as they get.  Mendelssohn is a half-brother to BC Juvenile Fillies and Distaff (2x) winner Beholder.  He may have enough early speed for Ryan Moore to negotiate a decent trip from the rail draw.  Untamed Domain just to his outside has been training well for Graham Motion.  Catholic Boy is a perfect 2 for 2 and has been drawing rave reviews for his local preparation at Del Mar.  James Garfield seems to be garnering the most attention amongst the European contingent since their arrival.  His speed figures indicate that he is among the top threats.  Encumbered is 2 for 2 over the course and distance.  Flameaway is eligible to improve in his first start on turf.  Hemp Hemp Hurray is perhaps the most likely pacesetter and would be very dangerous if left alone for too long given the short stretch to the wire.

Top Selections:  James Garfield and Hemp Hemp Hurray

Long Shot Choice:  Encumbered

Distaff – Race 9 – 7:35 EST post time

Stellar Wind is 3 for 3 this year.  She has never lost at Del Mar, where she is also 3 for 3.  She is a very deserving favorite and it would surprise no one if she won this race.  She is also 0 for 3 at the mile and an eighth distance and has not raced since winning the Grade 1 Clement Hirsch here in July.  It is a lot to ask of a very fine race mare to show up and take care of business against a field of this quality after 3 months on the bench.  Also, and I don’t know if it was by design or not, but she appears to have missed a work during the first part of October when she went from the 1st to the 14th without a work.  Otherwise her pattern shows a work every 7 days.  Champagne Room deserves mentioning here as she has been training like a beast in the mornings leading up to this.  Her speed figures would suggest she be tossed without a chance, but she did upset the Juvenile Fillies race last year at odds of 33/1.  Abel Tasman became the leader of the 3yo filly division by virtue of her win in the Kentucky Oaks.  She parlayed that victory with two subsequent Grade 1 scores but developed a bad habit of premature mid-race moves to the front of the pack in the process.  That caught up to her most recently in the Cotillion when she weakened late to finish 2nd.  Forever Unbridled is as consistent as they come.  She has hit the board in 9 straight starts over the past 2 years, winning 6 of them.  She is 4 for 7 at the 9 furlong distance and will be coming with her usual late run.  The concern is will she be too far back to be able to make up the ground necessary in the short Del Mar stretch.  The rider change to John Velazquez is not seen as a positive one in this spot as Joel Rosario did a fine job with her and is far more familiar with Del Mar than Johnny V.  Paradise Woods ran two monster races at Santa Anita this year, both at a mile and a sixteenth.  If she gets loose on the lead and can stretch that speed an extra sixteenth, she could potentially make a mockery of this race.  Elate has been the recipient of the highest praise of any horse in the entire Breeders’ Cup since her arrival in southern California.  She looks impeccable and has trained superbly.  The daughter of Medaglia d’Oro was thought to be something quite special very early on in her career, but it ended up taking some time for her truest talent to shine through to the surface for the Bill Mott barn.  Her last two races have been exceptional displays of superiority over her opponents, and Mott looks primed to build on his record of 5 wins in the Distaff.

Top Selection: Elate

Long Shot Choice:  Champagne Room

The most popular Halloween candy in Kentucky is…

The most popular Halloween candy in Kentucky is…

With trick-or-treating only a few hours away, can you guess what the most popular Halloween candy in the state of Kentucky is? According to a recent survey, Sour Patch Kids.

Influenster asked 23,154 Americans to pick their favorite Halloween candy from a list of the 52 top-selling candies in the country, and apparently, the people of the Bluegrass prefer Sour Patch Kids. Honestly, given all the selections, that surprises me.

Meanwhile, Tennesseans picked candy corn, the most divisive of Halloween candies. Personally, I enjoy candy corn in small amounts, but I’m sure some of you are ready to unfollow me just for saying that. In fact, let’s take a poll:

Regardless, I’m not sure how Snickers isn’t #1 in every state. And what the heck is up with Arizona picking Double Bubble over everything? That’s just weird.

Feel free to rank your favorite candies in the comments.

International Breeders’ Cup Participation Includes a Record 46 Pre-Entries, presented by Pocket Aces Racing

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Have you ever wanted to roam the paddock at Keeneland between races?  Have you ever imagined what it would be like to see your horse line up in the starting gate?  Have you ever dreamt of having your picture taken in the winner’s circle?  Owning a race horse is easier and more affordable than you might think.  Let Pocket Aces Racing LLC show you how. Thoroughbred racing partnerships are forming now.  

Pre-entries for next weekend’s Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar were taken earlier this week.  A total of 187 entries were taken to compete for a prize pool of $28 million spread across 13 Grade 1 races next Friday and Saturday.  The Breeders’ Cup has worked diligently over most of the last decade and particularly in recent years to make the event a true world championship.  Historically, participation has been largely dominated by North American based horses.  The Breeders’ Cup has redoubled efforts to increase international participation by significantly increasing the number of ‘Win and You’re In’ events run in Europe and other racing hot spots around the globe.  They have also placed year-round representatives in Europe to encourage participation from some of the world’s most prestigious racing jurisdictions.  The effort seems to be paying off.  This year saw a record 46 international pre-entries, most of them European.  These horses will primarily compete in the grass races as that surface is far more prevalent on the international stage.  One interesting point regarding the deluge of foreign interest this year in particular is the hypothesis that the turf course at Del Mar may not be all that amenable to the European horses.  Most European tracks are extremely wide with broad, sweeping, right-hand turns.  Many of the sprint and middle distance races are run over straights and the uniform ovals that are largely standard in North American racing are largely non-existent.  Del Mar has very tight turns compared to what the European horses are used to, and even in comparison to the more traditional Breeders’ Cup sites like Santa Anita and Churchill.  How the Europeans fare over the Del Mar lawn will be an interesting story line to follow over the two-day competition.

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Highland Reel was dominant in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf. Photo via America’s Best Racing

Europeans have dominated the Breeders’ Cup Turf, having won (or dead-heated) 12 of the last 17.  They will be well-represented again this year with defending champion Highland Reel and Ulysses among others.  The tight turns at Del Mar should not be an issue for Highland Reel as he is a very agile, athletic horse that won last year in gate-to-wire fashion.  He enters the Breeders’ Cup off a 3rd place effort in the British Champion Stakes last Saturday in what may have just been a prep for his title defense.  Ulysses finished 4th in this race last year and appears to be a much improved horse this year following wins in the Group 1 Coral Eclipse and Juddmonte International to go along with a solid 3rd place showing in the Arc de Triomphe, Europe’s most prestigious mile and a half turf race.

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Queen’s Trust nips Lady Eli on the wire in last year’s Filly and Mare Turf. Photo via HorseRacingNation.

The Breeders’ Cup inexplicably shortened the Filly and Mare Turf to a mile and an eighth this year.  The race has traditionally been run at either a mile and a quarter or a mile and three eighths depending on track configuration (save for the 1 3/16 mile rendition at Keeneland).  Del Mar’s track configuration allows for races to be run at the mile and three eighths distance, so it is unclear why they see fit to lop off a quarter mile and run the race at 9 furlongs, to the detriment of the Europeans they are trying so hard to recruit.  Europeans have been less dominant in the Filly and Mare Turf, but have still made their presence felt with 7 victories in 18 editions of the race.  Queen’s Trust will try to defend her title, but does not appear to be in the same form she carried into last year’s event.  Rhododendron ships in off a win in the Group 1 Opera at Chantilly, and the 9F distance may actually be more to her liking.  Senga, Smart Call, Wuheida, Roly Poly, and Nezwaah round out the European based contingent.

American runners have won 5 of the last 6 and 9 of the last 13 editions of the Breeders’ Cup Mile.  Save for the brilliant Goldikova’s dominant 3 year reign, this is one grass race in which the Europeans have not had much recent success.  Ribchester appears more than capable of reversing those fortunes if he is able to bounce back in just 2 weeks time following a runner-up performance in the Queen Elizabeth II at Ascot.  His wins in the Group 1 Lockinge, Queen Anne, and Moulin make him the most accomplished invader.  Decorated Knight, Churchill, and Suedois, who shipped over earlier this month to take the Grade 1 Shadwell at Keeneland will also factor into the mix.

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Marsha just gets by Lady Aurelia in the Nunthorpe. Photo via Thoroughbred Daily News.

Lady Aurelia will most certainly go favored in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint for Wesley Ward.  However, the Europeans may have their best ever shot to win this race with the presence of Marsha.  She beat Lady Aurelia in the Group 1 Nunthorpe at York in August.  This is definitely a spot where home field advantage could come strongly into play though as Lady Aurelia and the other primary American contenders are accustomed to running around a left hand turn whereas nearly all of the European sprints are run without a turn.

Europeans have won 6 of the 10 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf races, with Aidan O’Brien capturing half of those.  U S Navy Flag appears quite capable of adding to that record for O’Brien.  He enters off 3 straight wins including Group 1 triumphs in the Middle Park and Dewhurst, two of the most prestigious juvenile races in all of Europe.  James Garfield might offer the second best shot for continued European dominance as his form is improving following a win in the Group 2 Mill Reef.

Only 2 of the 9 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies’ Turf races have been won by Europeans.  Aidan O’Brien looks to be firing his best shot to capture this event for the first time this year with Happily, a Group 1 winner in each of her last 2 starts.  The French filly Fatale Bere shipped across the pond early to fire a warning shot by taking the local prep, the Surfer Girl at Santa Anita.  John Gosden is always dangerous at the Breeders’ Cup, and he sends Juliet Capulet, winner of the Group 2 Rockfel in her latest.  September is less accomplished than her Aidan O’Brien stable mate, but could be just as dangerous.  This race looks like an evenly balanced field of top notch runners from both sides of the Atlantic.

It will be very interesting to see how the grass races play out at Del Mar and whether the track configuration will have a legitimate effect on the performance of the Europeans or if that factor is simply overblown.  Check back throughout next week for more Breeders’ Cup coverage.

Last Call for Keeneland Fall meet, presented by Pocket Aces Racing

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Have you ever wanted to roam the paddock at Keeneland between races?  Have you ever imagined what it would be like to see your horse line up in the starting gate?  Have you ever dreamt of having your picture taken in the winner’s circle?  Owning a race horse is easier and more affordable than you might think.  Let Pocket Aces Racing LLC show you how. Thoroughbred racing partnerships are forming now.  

The Keeneland Fall Meet wraps up over the next two days with 10 race cards on both Friday and Saturday.  The forecast calls for rain that is currently predicted to move in late Friday night and be gone near post-time on Saturday.  That should allow fans to get in a nice central Kentucky sports double header by spending some time at the track before heading to what has turned into a quite prolonged funeral march for Butch Jones as Stoops Troops are a 5 1/2 point favorite at home against the Vols.  Here is a look at the highlights for the last two days of the fall meet:

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Rushing Fall, the best chance for a graduate of this meet in the Breeders’ Cup, wins the Jessamine at Keeneland. Photo via Thoroughbred Daily News.

Rushing Fall won the Jessamine Stakes in spectacular fashion two weeks ago, and she will be amongst the favorites in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf based on that impressive effort.  In her first start at Belmont Park Rushing Fall beat Daddy Is a Legend by just a length and a quarter.  That daughter of Scat Daddy returns at Keeneland in the 5th race on Friday.  She looms as a deserving heavy favorite in a full field going 9 furlongs on the lawn.  It’s possible the distance could be a touch long for Daddy Is a Legend, in which case Beau Belle and Gentle Ruler appear to be the most viable alternatives, but any of the fillies in this field will have to step up their game significantly to take down the favorite.

The 8th race is a good bit tougher to decipher with 7 first time starters in a field of 10 juveniles going 3/4 of a mile on the main track.  Clearwater stands out ahead of the other 2 fillies with racing experience in this group.  She has two respectable runner-up finishes over the all weather surface at Presque Isle, and she was forwardly placed in both races.  Her pedigree and style suggest the switch to dirt racing will suit her quite well.  Emma Kate appears to be well meant making her debut for Steve Asmussen.  She fired a bullet :59 and 3 out of the gate here at Keeneland on the 15th and while it was the fastest of 15 works at the 5 furlong distance that morning, the time is particularly fast for a horse residing in the Asmussen barn.  Even some of the best horses in his barn routinely go 1:01 and change for that distance.  Ipanema Beach for Rusty Arnold and Promissory Note for Ingrid Mason are two other intriguing firsters.  Both have been working very well over the surface, and Mason in particular is known for hitting the mark with debut runners.

Friday’s featured 9th race at one mile on the turf features several evenly matched fillies and mares.  Corey Lanerie takes the mount on Proud Reunion for trainer Tom Proctor and former Governor Brereton Jones.  The Proud Citizen filly exits a Grade 3 at Laurel where she was beaten less than 3 lengths and prior to that won a first level allowance at Kentucky Downs with a $145k purse.  Princess Princess has run well in 3 of her prior 4 starts over the Keeneland turf and makes her 3rd start off the layoff for Brad Cox.  Peru steps back up in company in her first start for Mike Maker after being claimed for $25k in a 7 furlong race at Belmont.  Lunar Empress is interesting making her first start on the grass in 10 months.  She will definitely factor into the pace scenario coming out of the Grade 3 LA Woman when she sat second after a half mile in :45 and 1.  At 12/1 on the morning line, she may offer the best value in this bunch.  Burma Road broke her maiden here last fall and also ran a very good 2nd over this course in the spring behind Antonoe, who went on to win the Grade 1 Just a Game at Belmont in her next start.  While the pace is somewhat concerning for the eager daughter of Street Boss, she should benefit from the slight cut back in distance to a mile.

The aforementioned overnight rain may leave some give in the ground on Saturday, making Mr. Cub the top selection in the 7th race.  The son of Artie Schiller broke his maiden over this course in gate-to-wire fashion last fall, and his best race since then came in a big money allowance victory at Kentucky Downs over a course labeled “good”.  He should appreciate the ground and the distance, and his tactical speed will allow Joe Rocco to negotiate an ideal trip.  Zulu Alpha performed well over “good” courses in Ireland prior to shipping stateside and promptly winning his first two starts at Indiana Downs, both at the one mile distance.  Nileator has been training well for his return for Dale Romans who excels at a 37% clip with horses returning off a layoff of more than 180 days.  The Kitten’s Joy entry for Mike Maker will be deservedly favored in this spot, but the value seems to lie elsewhere.

Shar Ran could be a vulnerable favorite in the 8th.  She broke her maiden professionally last out at Churchill earning a nice speed figure in the process, but that race was back in April.  Though she has trained nicely in the mornings for this return, trainer Michael Tomlinson is not generally known as one who has them fully cranked first time off the bench.  She may need the race.  Tarquinia rates as the top choice on an off-track as she is bred to relish a wet track and romped home by 13 lengths to break her maiden at Saratoga over a track labeled “good”.  Waves of Blue is another one that can benefit from some moisture in the surface, as she broke her maiden over a sloppy surface at Gulfstream.  Bella Belle may be worth a shot at longer odds.  She is making her main track debut and has been training very well over the dirt at Churchill.

The Grade 2 Fayette stakes at a mile and an eighth on the main track is the traditional closing day featureHonorable Duty is absolutely the horse to beat in here.  His lone loss over a fast track this year came at the hands of probable Breeders’ Cup Classic favorite Gun Runner in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster.  Brendan Walsh has him in top form and his versatility is a valuable asset in a race that could play out in a number of different ways.  Neolithic is a close second choice on the morning line, but he does not appear to be the same horse since returning from Dubai.  He was life and death to beat a second level allowance field and a well beaten 3rd of 5 in the Woodward at Saratoga.  He is 0 for 3 at the 9 furlong distance and his longest win came at a mile and a sixteenth.  McCraken may take some money as well, but all but one of his 5 wins have come at Churchill, and he was a very uninspiring 3rd here in the Bluegrass back in the spring.

Best of luck closing out the meet in positive fashion.  Check back over the next nine days for updates and analysis on the Breeders’ Cup.

Bullitt County man wearing “Won’t Be Caught” shirt, gets caught

Bullitt County, you never let us down.

This time a Shepherdsville man is facing three counts of receiving stolen property from thefts from Louisville to Munfordville. But the funny part of it all is, he was wearing a “Won’t Be Caught” shirt when he was, in fact, caught.

19-year-old Cody Vaughn was arrested in a stolen pickup truck and confessed to his crimes.

Let’s all say it together now: That’s! So! Bullitt! County!


The six characters.

Kraft Beer With Kindsey: Against The Grain

It is no secret that bourbon dominates this state, but the craft beer industry is growing in Kentucky. There are locally owned breweries and microbreweries scattered all around the state and it is my mission to travel to each and every one and tell their story.

The definition of “against the grain”, according to Merriam-Webster dictionary, is “different from what is normal or usual.”

That definition accurately describes Against the Grain, a brewery in Louisville that prides themselves in not doing anything that is mainstream or the status quo.

Jerry Gnagy, Sam Cruz, Adam Watson, and Andrew Ott were all brewers in the 1990s and the 90s were very black and white when it came to the brewing scene in Kentucky.

If you ordered a pale ale, it tasted like a pale ale. If you ordered a stout, it tasted like a stout. And if you walked down the street to another brewery and ordered a pale ale or stout, it tasted like the one you had before.

Gnagy, Cruz, Watson, and Ott realized that the brewing industry didn’t have to always follow the rules of how beers were supposed to be brewed.

“They got really fed up with that kind of stereotype that, you know, brewing had to be this kind of style oriented thing,” said marketing media coordinator Katie Molck. 

So Gnagy, Cruz, Watson, and Otto decided to take matters into their own hands and founded Against the Grain, which became the first brewer owned and operated brewery in Louisville.

“So the origins are just that this place, Against the Grain, was born out of dissatisfaction and wanting to give Louisville something that they hadn’t had before,” Molck said. “To really change the way craft beer was seen in the city and also the state. To really just to make what they wanted to make not with the people wanted them to make and put it out there.”

And in 2011, Against the Grain Brewery and Smokehouse opened in downtown Louisville.

When the brewpub opened, Against the Grain did something that set themselves apart from other breweries in the state and the country and still does today. They created six categories of beers that they always keep on tap: Session, Hop, Whim, Malt, Dark and Smoke. 

The six categories were humanized and made into characters to reflect each six taps of beer.

We characterize the style thing so that people could relate better. People are visual people,” Molck said. 

The six characters.

Against the Grain is connected to the Louisville Slugger Field and the people at Against the Grain had a hard time getting the sports fans who were used to drinking domestic beers to try something new.

So with those six characters already in place, the people at Against the Grain decided to market their product in a way that was “against the grain”. They gave their beers funny names and images in the hopes that the names and pictures would attract people to drink their beer.

And it did attract people to drink their beer.

“If there’s one thing you can do, it’s to make somebody smile and laugh about something,” Molck said. “Like I’ve got to try that. The names had a lot to do with it and in the story behind the beers always had something to do with it.”

One of the first beers to do that for Against the Grain was a brown ale called, “The Brown Note.” The beer became very popular when the image of a man with soiled underwear became the picture for the beer.

The craziness of the beer and the image made people want to try it. This way of marketing is how Against the Grain got non craft beer drinkers to try their beer and those people soon realized that they actually did like craft beer.

“That really helped people kind of feel like not only like woah they’re crazy but to also try it,” Molck said. “Like crazy first but then they tried it and oh it’s just as good as the crazy is. So they continue to come buy in and drink it.”

Some of the other crazy named beer include “Citra Ass Down” (Double IPA), “Wasabiotches” (Lager), “Olive You” (Lager), “Abeer” (APA) and “Chaz Platinum” (Pilsner-ish).

We’re connected the Louisville Slugger so we have a built-in crowd that’s a very baseball centric sport fan that’s used to drinking their Budweiser,” Molck said. “So if you notice right now we have Chaz Platinum on, which is a play on Bud Light Platinum instead. There’s a whole series of Chaz. There’s Chaz Platinum. There’s Chaz Select.”

Nothing at Against the Grain is normal and that’s how they want it to be. From the naming of the beer, to the images that are associated with the beer, to the people, to the glove that hangs from the ceiling that they sometimes lower on people. Everything is against the grain.

“We are the weirdos, the weirdos that get along together, that think each other ideas are good instead of one weirdo in a crowd of non-weirdos giving an idea and you’re like woah that’s a weird idea,” Molck said. “We’re that accumulation of people that just like are unafraid to be who they are and to share their crazy ideas and then see those crazy ideas come to fruition.”

The people at Against the Grain aren’t afraid to do and say things that are funny, within reason of course.

“For us we’re always the brewery the people want to party with,” Molck said. “At the end of the day people are like ‘where’s Against the Grain going?'” like we want to go there. Which is true to some degree but again it’s not like we’re trying to be that, it’s just literally who we are.”

Last year, Louisville was host to The Festival, an elite craft beer fest hosted by the Shelton Brothers, a beer importer, that invites brewers from all over the world to come drink, share and talk about beer.

As part of the of the festival, Against the Grain hosted a beer release party at a strip club.

“I kid you not, half of those brewers were there,” Molck said. “That place was packed.”

The party was not crowded for the reasons you would think. It was crowded because it was different, fun and people weren’t used to having beer releases at a strip club.

“It was just like ‘hell yeah we’re gonna do this’ because it’s ridiculous and people came,” Molck said.

The people at Against the Grain like to have a good time and do things different, but if it wasn’t for their customers who embrace it, they know they would be nothing.

“While we may be the ones to start the party, we’d be nothing if those other people didn’t show up to party with us,” Molck said. “We’d be nothing if those other breweries didn’t show up and help us party. We’ll get it started but we sure do love when everyone else joins in too. Which is awesome ‘cause they normally do.”

Although Against the Grain wasn’t named for their care-free mentality, it sure does fit.

My beer picks at Against the Grain:

Something light: Chaz Platinum is a very smooth, refreshing, light(er) beer that is a good start for craft beer newbies.

Something hoppy: Matt Pond Pale is a crisp, mildly bitter pale ale with hints of fruitiness and floral notes.

Something dark: The Brown Note because it has someone with dirty underwear on the can. And Jerry Gnagy, the head brewer, said it was the best brown ale ever, but he might be a little biased.

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Pocket Aces Racing presents: Louisville Native Cox is Well on His Way to Becoming a Household Racing Name

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Trainer Brad Cox may not yet be a household name in the thoroughbred racing game like Bob Baffert or Todd Pletcher, but if the success that has driven the rapid rise of his stable over the last four years continues, he soon will be.  Cox has spent most of the last decade on a steady climb through the training ranks.  The last four years have seen the trajectory of his ascension steepen quite remarkably.  From 2010 to 2013, Cox’s stable hovered just below the $1 million mark in annual earnings.  Then in 2014 he blew through that benchmark as horses from his barn earned nearly $2.4 million on racetracks in North America.  Stable earnings climbed to $3.6 million in 2015, $6.2 million in 2016, and have already eclipsed $7 million this year with over two months left on the calendar.  As of this writing, Cox sits in 9th place among North American based trainers in earnings this year, marking the first time he has cracked the top 10.  The growth in earnings has been equally fueled by both quantity and quality.  He has over 600 starts already this year.  Back in 2013, when earnings were 1/8th of what they are thus far this year, he had 170.  His earnings per start, a metric which illustrates the rise in the quality of horses under Cox’s care, have risen steadily from just over $5k per start in 2013 to nearly $12k per start this season.  In the last five years Cox has managed to more than quadruple his number of starts while also more than doubling his earnings per start.  It’s a feat that has been well-earned and has not gone unnoticed by some of racing’s most elite owners.  I sat down with Cox at his Churchill barn last week to discuss some of the key elements to his success:

Image result for brad cox horse trainer

(Image via Oaklawn Park)

KSR:  “To what do you attribute your considerable level of success over the last 5 years?”

Cox:  “Well, I think the main thing is winning.  Being able to maintain a good win percentage.  Back in 2010 to 2013, we were winning with a lot of claimers, moving many of them up and dropping others down, but running them where they could win.  Owners being able to profit off claims had a lot to do with it.  With that, we’ve gotten more horses, but because of the early success we are getting higher quality horses and that is what’s really driving the earnings.  We’re running in bigger races — maiden special weights with the purse structures in New York, Keeneland, Churchill, and even Ellis and Oaklawn obviously — the purses are really good (at those tracks) and as long as you have horses that can compete at those places your earnings are going to be up.”

KSR:  “You mentioned claiming and the success you had particularly at the claiming level, where indeed you have been able to claim horses and move them up the class ladder.  What specifically do you look for when claiming a horse and what do you think sets your barn apart in being able to get the most out of a horse that you claimed?”


Whoever runs the KFC Twitter account needs a raise

Whoever runs the KFC Twitter account needs a raise

Most restaurant social media accounts are cringeworthy, but not KFC’s. Kudos to Twitter user @Edgette 22, who discovered that @KFC only follows 11 people: five Spice Girls and six guys named Herb. That, of course, is a reference to the “11 herbs and spices” that make up KFC’s famous secret family recipe.

Well done. Give that social media director a raise.