December 20, 2010

A Horse for the Ages

Today finishes our stay in the Great State of Kentucky, but not before a great horse story as promised, and a link for a fun twist on the classic Mint Julep drink. Maker's Mark's Toll Gate Cafe serves Chocolate Mint Julep Cookies with Andres creme de menth candies and tops it with a Bourbon Fudge.

I made the cookies without the fudge for my cookie exchange recently and they still have a good kick, but I can imagine the topping is decadent. Depending on how the rest of the winter goes, I might need to be testing the fudge soon. You can find the recipe HERE.

Perfect Drift will turn 11 this spring. (Photos by Dianne Reed)
So with visions of Bourbon fudge on mint cookies it's time to meet the second richest racehorse in America. Perfect Drift, who is the horse in resident at the Derby Museum at Churchill Downs in the spring and summer and winters in Kansas City, Missouri. Perfect Drift won more than $4.7 million from 2002 until his retirement in 2008.

I recently talked with our friend Dianne Reed, a great cook, who with her husband, Bryan, a veterinarian, help Bryan's parents Dr. William and Mary Reed run Stonecrest Farm, a beautiful 110-acre horse farm in south Kansas City. Their farm gained attention when Perfect Drift placed third at the 2002 Kentucky Derby.

"It was fun at Millionaires Row, we saw so much of everything," Dianne said. But they had a hard time getting to and from the paddock before the race because of all the celebrities. "Kid Rock, one of the Jacksons, and Josh Groban were near there. It was so crowded and all these celebrities kept getting in my way. I just wanted to see my horse."

But the Derby was just the start of Perfect Drift's career, as he'd raced in five straight Breeders' Cup Classics.

Churchill paddock before Stephen Foster race.
In all, this mighty athlete started 50 races in a seven-year span. Dianne points out that the sire, Dynaformer, produces big horses who tend to mature later.

And the Reeds, who are very caring of all their animals, would give Perfect Drift and other racing horses time off, bringing them back each winter to Stonecrest Farms. "We gave him a break each winter and that was very unorthodox," Dianne said. "We let him be a snow horse, and get a hairy coat."

The winter break seemed to work well, but for Perfect Drift it was always about having the right racing attitude. "It's all about heart," Dianne said, who compares the horse to a great athlete. She recalls a race where in the paddock prior to the start time, Perfect Drift came into contact with another racer. "He snorted at the other horse and turned his head as if to dismiss that horse," Dianne said.

Plus she said he'd always pose for the cameras and seemed to like women better than men. It was always men who were wanting Perfect Drift to work hard. And even this fall when Dianne and Bryan went back to Churchill Downs to see him, he quickly remembered Dianne and tried to get to her purse, where she keeps a supply of mints. I wonder if Perfect Drift would like those mint cookies in the link above?

Perfect Drift's retirement in 2008 at Turfway Park with Pat Day up.

1 comment:

  1. Even without the topping, those cookies were VERY popular at my house!! As far as my kids were concerned, they were the "hit" of the exchange! :-)