Meydan

Meydan

No trip to Dubai would be complete without a visit to Meydan.  Dubai and Kentucky share a mutual love of horses so it made sense that we visited the horse track.  Being a  travel blogger, this was right up my alley!

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Meydan is the vision of His Highness, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.  Or, as he is referred to in Lexington, Sheikh Mohammed.  Sheikh Mohammed is the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.  He is a big-picture thinker.  According to Wikipedia, ” his goal is to make the UAE one of the best countries in the world by 2021.”  He has launched many large enterprises including Emirates Airlines, Burj Al Arab (the hotel we discussed for High Tea), Palm Islands and Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world.  Dubai is the largest and most populous city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).  His vision is truly remarkable.

Sheikh Mohammed is also a very active in Lexington.  He owns Gainsboro Farm in Versailles, Kentucky and is an active participant in horse sales, breeding, and racing.  Darley Stud is a global breeding operation owned by the Sheikh.  It stands stallions at stud in six different countries. According to Wikipedia, “Darley currently stands more than 50 stallions around the world.”

According to Darley Stud’s website Sheikh Mohammed is quoted as saying, “Breeding and racing horses is one of my great joys, and a challenge that I relish sharing with my family and friends.  I wish you good luck with the horses in your life, and thank you for considering the Darley stallions.” A true gentleman.

Darley Stud is also very active in charities in Lexington.  The Markey Cancer Foundation has received significant donations from the organization in the past.  His wife, Her Royal Highness Princess Haya bint Hussein is very active in the horse world as well.  You might remember that she was president of the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) during the World Equestrian Games that was held at the Kentucky Horse Park in 2010. Princess Haya is also an accomplished equestrian who has competed in international show jumping competitions.

Sheikh Mohammed’s horse farm is in the middle of the city.  We visited and toured the farm, prior to going to Meydan.  It was definitely a treat as not very many people get to experience this.  The facilities were beautiful and the horses were well taken care of.  The horsey spa was nicer than a lot of the spas I’ve seen for people!  Not to mention more high-tech!

Following the trip the farm we went to Meydan!  Meydan is a world-class horse racing track (they also have camel racing) and also a luxury hotel that the Sheikh built.  It’s located just 15 minutes from the heart of Dubai and can be reached easily by highway. Dubai has a first-class highway and road system.  There’s quite a bit of traffic, but at least the infrastructure is there. Racing starts in November and ends in March.

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The last Saturday in March is the Dubai World Cup, which is the richest day in horse racing around the world.  According to the web site, the Dubai World Cup is a $30 million dollar race day.  That’s quite a payday! All the best horses, jockeys and trainers in the world race on that day.    It’s hot during the day so all the races begin at 3:45pm.  More than 50,000 people attend this event, including many international and national celebrities.

My birthday always falls around World Cup day so a group of us get together for breakfast (the time difference) to watch the races. It’s always cool to watch since I’ve been there.  It’s interesting to see jockeys from all over the world that we never see here in Kentucky.  The same for horses and trainers.  I usually don’t have much luck betting the races, but it’s still fun!

During the World Cup they even have a fashion show! Dubai ladies love fashion.  There is a reason why they have the largest malls in the world.  Best Dressed Lady, Best Hat, etc.  I’ve seen many photos on Instagram and they really go all out.  Beautiful fashion and hats.

Photo by Antonin Kelian Kallouche/Gulf News

We were able to tour the private room that the royal family watches races from during the meet.  It was a beautiful room with gold, brightly colored enamel and Swarovski crystals adorning the room.  But don’t look for the betting windows, because gambling is against the law in Dubai and the UAE.  This is in keeping with Muslim law.

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Photos of all the past winners are located on a wall within the viewing room. The photos don’t do the wall justice, it’s really beautiful.  You may recognize some of the past winners.

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Meydan Hotel is built-in the form of a wave in motion.  The lines and the architecture of the building are amazing.  It’s the first (and probably only) 5-star trackside hotel in the world.

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When you walk in you are amazed by the sheer size of the lobby of the hotel.  It’s very modern, just like the city.  Lots of glass and gleaming steel.  Everything in Dubai sparkles.

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The paintings of the UAE rulers are so large, you can see the comparison with the people.  Everything is bigger and better in Dubai!

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The bar area in the hotel is lovely.

galler3Photo courtesy of Meydan

Just think, you could sit by the infinity pool, get a tan and watch the ponies.  That sure gives a new meaning to “winning”! And, according to the website all rooms have balconies that overlook the race track as well.  The hotel website says they are currently updating the infinity pool.  Looks pretty good to me!

171212_meydan_exteriors0822 Photo by Meydan

GrandDeluxeHero1_2017_07_17_Meydan_day22712_1.jpgPhoto by Meydan

Dubai is an absolutely wonderful place to visit.  The people are very welcoming.  In the recent Travel & Leisure’s The World’s Best edition, Emirates Airlines was ranked the #2 best airline (I can attest to the quality!), and the Dubai International Airport is ranked #3rd.   Dubai is a tourist destination, they appreciate visitors, and make them feel very welcome. It should definitely be on your bucket list!  xoxox

 

 

Giddy Up

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With all the talk and excitement about the royal wedding on Saturday, don’t forget about the Preakness!  It’s going to be a rematch between several of the horses that ran in the Derby, including the winner Justify.

Remember the Preakness is a much shorter race.  Will the horses be tired from past performance?  Will the weather be rainy and yucky?  It will definitely be a sloppy track from the east coast weather this week.

It’s going to be a hard race to handicap. Justify is a great horse and didn’t have any trouble winning on the first Saturday in May.  The morning line on Justify is 1-3.  When I make a bet I would like to get some money back!  That means if you be $2.00 to win you would only get back .66.  That’s a tough one.

Good Magic who placed in the Derby is also running.  He ran a great race, but who knows if the short course will give him enough time to win.  You know that I picked this horse to place in the Derby.  His mom is Glinda the Good and his dad is Curlin.  Wow!  He has a terrific bloodline and his trainer Chad Brown is the icing on the cake!  The morning line on Good Magic was 3-1.  Better, but not great!

As I was looking at the other horses in the mix the horse Diamond King jumped out at me.  Maybe it was the name.  Just kidding.  Quality Road and Akron Moon, by Malibu Moon are his parents.  But the best thing about him is his trainer, John Servis.  You may remember his last horse in the Preakness, Smarty Jones.  That was my all time favorite horse.  His jockey is Javier Castellano and his record is 4-0-1.  Not bad.  His morning line was 25-1.

diamond king horse

Quip may also be one to watch.  His sire is Distorted Humor and he’s owned by WinStar Farm.  He ran second in the Arkansas Derby.  The quote I saw in the Courier-Journal was from the trainer, Rodolphe Brisset that said, ” you still have to be a little careful when he’s around too many horses.  He’s still studdish.  You have to be a little careful, but he’s way more professional.”  Now, I’m not at all certain what that means, sounds like he’s a little frisky.  But at his morning line of 12-1,  I would check him out!

Break out the black-eyed Susan’s and giddy up!  Good luck xoxo.

Photos by Zimbio.com and Maryland Jockey Club

 

Make Your Bets

Make Your Bets

untitled Photo by Vanity Fair

Post positions are in!  I’ve been looking at the horses and have a couple of thoughts for betting on Saturday.

Every year since I can remember Dan Liebman, a family friend and also the former editor of the Bloodhorse, would write an article for the local paper.  The article was called “The Mythical $100 Derby Bet”.  He would write about a combination of bets that would equal $100.  It became a great family tradition that my uncle and I enjoy handicapping the Derby and each making the $100 bet.  Over the years we have brought others into the Derby bet fold.  We’ve had a great time with it!

The bet had a daily double Oaks/Derby bet, exacta bets, trifecta bets, across the board bets and then a win bet.  Dan would pick his favorite horse (usually one that has higher odds) and then structure the bets around the horse.  More often than not he would choose the winner.  And when he did the winnings were big!

I’m afraid this year will be the first year that we will be on our own picking the Derby winner.  Dan has since left the newspaper and has a very busy catering life with his barbeque restaurant Staxx.  It’s really good barbeque in Frankfort and you should check it out!

I’ve been paying attention to the Derby prep races this year and I have a few thoughts on some horses.  I’m not a big exotic better, but I see an exacta in our future this year.  If I were you I would check out Mendelssohn, Justify, Good Magic and Bolt d’Oro.  Mendelssohn won the World Cup in Dubai and according to several horsey people I know has the greatest trainer in the world.  Mendelssohn is going to be our pick for Derby winner.  Even though he just arrived from Ireland this week experts say that jet lag isn’t an issue for this horse.

Check out the post positions and make your bet!! Happy Derby xoxo

1. Firenze Fire, Jason Servis, Paco Lopez, 50-1
2. Free Drop Billy, Dale Romans, Robby Albarado, 30-1
3. Promises Fulfilled, Dale Romans, Corey Lanerie, 30-1
4. Flameaway, Mark Casse, Jose Lezcano, 30-1
5. Audible, Todd Pletcher, Javier Castellano, 8-1
6. Good Magic, Chad Brown, Jose Ortiz, 12-1
7. Justify, Bob Baffert, Mike Smith, 3-1
8. Lone Sailor, Tom Amoss, James Graham, 50-1
9. Hofburg, Bill Mott, Irad Ortiz Jr., 20-1
10. My Boy Jack, Keith Desormeaux, Kent Desormeaux, 30-1
11. Bolt d’Oro, Mick Ruis, Victor Espinoza, 8-1
12. Enticed, Kiaran McLaughlin, Junior Alvarado, 30-1
13. Bravazo, D. Wayne Lukas, Luis Contreras, 50-1
14. Mendelssohn, Aidan O’Brien, Ryan Moore, 5-1
15. Instilled Regard, Jerry Hollendorfer, Drayden Van Dyke, 50-1
16. Magnum Moon, Todd Pletcher, Luis Saez, 6-1
17. Solomini, Bob Baffert, Flavien Prat, 30-1
18. Vino Rosso, Todd Pletcher, John Velazquez, 12-1
19. Noble Indy, Todd Pletcher, Florent Geroux, 30-1
20. Combatant, Steve Asmussen, Ricardo Santana Jr., 50-1

 

 

 

It’s All About the Hat

It’s All About the Hat

How can you discuss Derby without talking about the hats?  You all may know that I also have a hat company, Fancy Derby Hats.  Over the years I have seen a lot of hats, including, the good, the bad and the ugly!

Many people start with the dress and then start looking for the hat.  I think this is the wrong approach.  Sometimes it’s hard to find that perfect hat, there’s certainly a bigger selection of dresses to choose from.  And who doesn’t have a little black dress in their closet?  It’s the perfect palate and most any color hat will work.   Sometimes you want the hat to do the talking.

It’s also important for your hat to be able to be fun but also functional.  There’s a lot of beautiful hats out there.  Some hats you see are very, very big.  It’s so hard to navigate around the crowd, talk to people and just have a fun day when you have a super large hat.  I recommend that your hat doesn’t extend more than the frame of your body.  Trust me, you will be more comfortable and still look great!

And the best tip of the day is always tuck a garbage bag into your purse.  It doesn’t take up much room.  I can’t tell you how many times that I was leaving the track and a huge rain storm started right after the big race.  Garbage bags come in handy to save your hat when that happens!

Here’s my favorite Derby hats that I’ve worn over the years.  Have a great Derby! xoxo

 

 

Talk Derby To Me

Talk Derby To Me

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Photo by Elissa Wiehn

Derby is coming!  It’s my favorite time of the year in Kentucky.  Everything is so festive and fun.  Even the weather is going to cooperate.  So this week all Bubbly Horse posts will be Derby related.

Let’s talk mint juleps.  Not the juleps that you buy at the track, they aren’t very good.  Let’s face it, you can’t have a good craft cocktail when you are preparing for the masses!

The key is the simple syrup.  It’s soooo easy to make and you can keep it in your fridge for several weeks.  All it is sugar and fresh mint leaves boiled down into a syrup.  It makes the drink so much better than when you use the mix.  You’ll see!

If you don’t have julep cups then use a regular glass.  I had a mint julep served in a Moscow mule cup the other day which was really good.  Just be creative and have fun! xoxo

Yield: Makes 1 drink
Ingredients
1  ounce minted simple syrup
2 cups crushed ice
2 ounces bourbon (I would use a quality bourbon versus a cooking bourbon)
Fresh mint sprig, for garnish

Preparation

Add minted simple syrup, then 1 cup crushed ice, bourbon, and splash of water (or not). Add enough of remaining ice to almost fill glass. Stir well and garnish with mint sprig.

New Furrier in Town

New Furrier in Town

I received an invitation to a grand opening for a new business in town.  Yudofsky Fur and Leather has recently opened in the Summit Shops in Lexington

You may know that I grew up in Frankfort.  Some of my fondest memories were family shopping trips to Louisville.  You see poor Frankfort didn’t have any shopping.  Mom and Dad loved to shop so we would travel to Louisville on the weekend.  Our destination was Oxmoor Mall, about an hour away from our house.  Yudofsky Furriers began in 1925 in Louisville.  My mother purchased her coats from there and that’s also where mine came from.  So needless to say, I’ve got a little history with the store.  I’ll never forget seeing Mr. and Mrs. Yudofsky being in the store and paying attention to every detail.  They were truly experts.

When I walked in I couldn’t believe how fabulous it was.  Light walls, light floors and gleaming stainless steel racks hanging from the ceiling made this store look very modern and fresh.  A friendly gentleman greeted everyone at the door with a coat check. Stylish patrons were admiring both the coats and clothing.  You see, Yudofsky not only has fur and leather coats, but also ready to wear.  Models were walking throughout the store wearing lovely dresses and coats.  Prosecco with berries and white wine was served along delicious appetizers.  Ladies and gentlemen, these folks know how to host a lovely party!

Wouldn’t the dresses below be fantastic for Keeneland and Derby?

Along with beautiful dresses are a selection of coats that will suit everyone.  Fur, leather and coats of luxurious material can be found in the store.  If you don’t wear fur, don’t worry, they have something for you.  Yudofsky also offers restyling and repair of coats on site as well as a fur vault for storing coats in summer months.

Yudofsky Fur and Leather is a great new addition to Lexington.  I know you will love it! xoxo

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