A Day at the Races with Roger Attfield and Tina Konyot
Monday, April 26, 2010
Fresh off of, Konyot could relax on Friday as she played the perfect hostess for my husband JJ. Hathaway and me. We collected our passes for the fourth floor Lafayette room, where we joined Roger and Tina for a delicious and relaxing lunch before the 8th and 9th race. Attfield who has over seventy five horses in training in Canada, Kentucky and Florida had an entry in the featured stakes race, the Elkhorn in the ninth.
We donned our paddock passes and took the elevator to the paddock where each entry has their own small circle shaded by a tree. The magic and charm of the historic track made an instant impression, as we joined Tina, Roger, the grooms and second trainer, watching the beautiful German bred grey thoroughbred Musketier walk in a circle. Throughout the day we met so many new people, known in the thoroughbred world, and all congratulating Tina on her special win the night before.
The horses then moved to a grassy lawn where the jockey’s appeared to meet with their assigned trainers and horses. Relaxed and friendly they sparkled in the silks of the stables they were riding for. Watching how these professional athletes interact with trainers, owners, guests and the media is a lesson in positive PR for the great sport of throughbred racing.
We sat in a box close to the finish line for the mile and a half race. Attfield, cool and relaxed, pulled out his binoculars for the mile and a half race which started on the back stretch of the track.
There were kisses and congratulations, then a walk to the winner’s circle for photos, and then interviews (for Roger). It was fun being on the other side of the camera for a change (although of course I had my “party purse camera” to capture some moments).
We met Vice President and General Manager of Keenland Nick Nicholson whose brother John Nicholson is the General Manager of the Kentucky Horse Park. I learned the thick lush two inch grass was on the infield: a combination of Fescue and Kentucky Blue Grass, which is just what we plan on planting on our newly created driving arena on our property nearby.
Then we were escorted to a private club room on the ground floor where we watched a rerun of the race, and drank champagne. With the busy week of dressage training and competition done, Tina could celebrate more with Roger today than the afternoon before, when they had another big Keenland win just before Konyot competed in the evening Grand Prix Freestyle.
Thank you both (and Musketier) for an exciting afternoon. Let’s do it again soon!