Saturday, July 25, 2015

Father's Day Weekend, Day 2, Part 1 = Churchill Downs, Louisville, KY

After leaving rainy Cincinnati, we drove 90 minutes downstream (in regards to the Ohio River) to Louisville, Kentucky.  First order of business: the location of the most famous horse race in the country, if not the world.  Churchill Downs has been open since 1875, and 140 years later it is still going strongly.  I happened to notice horse racing on their calendar, so we got there in time to see the first race and a few after that.  We didn't stay for terribly long, but we got a very good taste of the atmosphere of horse racing, which I had actually never seen before.  

We parked close to the entrance.  Notice the very large video board behind the right spire.

My father-in-law had been dying to come here.

One of the entrances.

Inside the gate.

Inside the gate.

One of several statues.

The rain from Cincinnati followed us down to Louisville, but fortunately ended as we arrived.  Nevertheless, the track suffered as a result.

Looking just past the track.

Capacity at Churchill Downs is 120,000.  I'd be surprised if it was more than 2,000 there that day.

Watching the horses go on the other side of the track.

Here they come!

Onward... to victory!

The finish line.

Getting ready for the next race.

The University of Louisville football stadium was across the way from Churchill Downs.

Time for a mint julep, a tradition.


Christopher imbibed on fig bars.

My mother-in-law made an exception to her normal dislike of bourbon to have this.

Race #2 getting closer.

The other side of the track, out of our view.

Here they come!

Christopher was having fun watching the horses.

I didn't place any bets, for the records.

Race #3

Race #3

We decided we had more of Louisville to see, so this was our final race.  Considering our tickets were $5 (and there were cheaper tickets), we got our money's worth.

Time for some ambiance before leaving.

American Pharoah was already honored in the trim.  [I just realized that it's not spelled pharaoh, for what that's worth]

My father-in-law loved his time here.

Barbaro statue out front.

Barbaro won the 2006 Kentucky Derby but shattered his leg at the Preakness Stakes, which ultimately led to his death in early 2007.

Not only is it a statue, but it's also a grave.

Coming up next = the rest of our day in Louisville.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Father's Day Weekend, Day 1, Part 5 = Cincinnati Reds vs. Miami Marlins

In honor of the 2015 MLB All-Star Game held today, July 14, in Cincinnati, OH, here is the final post for Friday, June 19, in which I visited the Great American Ball Park, home of the Cincinnati Reds.

Statue of Hall of Fame 2nd baseman Joe Morgan outside the park.

The Ohio River was to the right of this photo, about 100 yards.

Notice the statues of the pitcher, batter, and catcher.  The pitcher at left (hard to see) is the late Joe Nuxhall.

Hall of Fame outfielder Frank Robinson swings while posthumously inducted Hall of Fame catcher Ernie Lombardi is positioned in the squat.  Both gentlemen went to the same high school in Oakland, CA, though they were 27 years apart in age (and obviously were never on the same Reds team, although Joe Nuxhall and Frank Robinson were).

Inside the concourse are two mosaics.  The one on the right is called "The First Nine" in honor of the 1869 Red Stockings, who went 57 and 0 (!!!), and the one on the left is called "The Great Eight" in honor of the 1975 and 1976 teams that each won the World Series.

Inside the concourse.

First view of the field.  Because of family commitments, I arrived in the third inning (duty calls...).

1st baseman Joey Votto

It was Irish Heritage Night, hence the green motif.

Mike Leake was pitching for the Reds, and went almost 7 innings flirting with a no-hitter.  He gave up just 2 hits.

Marlon Byrd, in his return from a broken wrist, homers off of Dan Haren (blech, former Athletic AND Dodger) to put the Reds on the board 1-0.  This would be the game-winning run.


There are 7 baseball bats sticking out of the top of each "Power Stack."  The combined 14 is in honor of Pete Rose, who can't have his number officially retired due to his ban.

From left, the three mascots of the Reds: Gapper, Mr. Redlegs, and Rosie Red.

Giancarlo Stanton at bat for Miami.

Leake pitches to Stanton.

7th inning stretch

Tucker Barnhart scores thanks to a Skip Schumaker single.  Reds up 2-0 in the 7th.

Skip Schumaker, seen on the 6th largest scoreboard in Major League Baseball.

Notice all the fans on the Riverboat Deck.

Rain clouds threatened (they would begin dumping in the 8th inning).

Jay Bruce doubled to bring in both Joey Votto and Todd Frazier.

Notice all of the strikeouts and (presumably) retired batters in the stands below the scoreboard.

Time to relieve Brad Hand of his duties, after facing just 3 batters.

And that's a wrap, folks!  Reds win 5-0.  I watched the top of the ninth (and I believe some of the bottom of the eighth) from this vantage point in the concourse, as the rain began falling.

Coming up = Churchill Downs, Louisville, KY