We both slept well and soon after waking it looked like a bad storm was about to hit, so we battened down the hatches and decided to tour the Lexington Horse Park, which we thoroughly enjoyed, attended the draft horse demonstration in the Big Barn and then returned to the trailer to eat some lunch.
Before we go any further, we need to talk about the FIRST “Unforgettable Character” we met on this trip across the country. And this character was not a champion horse in the Champion’s Barn at the Lexington Horse Park. He was a very interesting “young” man of ninety! He wore the Kentucky Horse Park logo on his navy blue T-shirt and ball cap, and as Jane asked questions he seemed to become more animated and excited. After a bit, he jumped up and very energetically went into a private room and returned with a magazine article. He said, “I didn’t want you think I was lying.” The article was about Will Harbut, the groom to Man of War, arguably the greatest race horse of all time with of course the possible exception of Secretariat! He went on to say that Will Harbut was his father-in-law. “I married his daughter” he said! We were stunned. “My name is Gene Carter and I was the groom for “CH Gypsy Supreme”–a champion pacer. This 90 year old black man had retired a few years back, still drives himself to work everyday and seemed so happy to share his story with us. You could hear a little resentment in his voice as he lamented that he rode and trained horses from the time they were babies only to have the jockey ride them in a race for a few minutes and the jockey would get 10% of the winnings and all of the accolades. “Just wasn’t fair” he said in a subdued tone. Dennis told him he was fortunate to have spent his life around the greatest of horses and that was priceless but agreed with his point. Jane took a photo of this very special man, we shook hands and departed, feeling like we had just been touched by a bit of history.
Thinking it would be a good idea to fly spray the horses and put on their fly masks, we attempted to catch our two horses. We caught Sly without a problem but Lucky was not about to be captured. We decided to not push our luck and went ahead into the lovely town of Midway to explore its history and have an early dinner.
When we arrived back at our equine inn, we met another couple traveling to Nebraska from Tennessee with their two Morgan trail horses. In the morning we head to Mammoth Cave, Kentucky—assuming of course—we can catch our horses!!