San Antonio de Areco, Argentina – November 2019 – Gaucho Festival

We have been fortunate to attend a number of amazing events, those truly unique in the world – I can’t believe what we just saw type of events.

The San Antonio de Areco Gaucho Festival is one of those events! (caution – something this cool has resulted in a fairly long posting with 40 photos)




The town of San Antonio de Areco is about 60 miles/100 KM from Buenos Aires, but in feel it is a world away.




It has a relaxed feel, where the local dogs just cruise around town greeting visitors. This little guy hung out with us for the first 1/2 hour we were there.




It is known as the ‘Cradle of Tradition’, or ‘Capital Nacional de la Tradicion’ for all of Argentina. The Gaucho Festival is their premier event of the year.

Lasting 5 days the Feast of Tradition culminates with an exhibit of traditional dance, followed by a parade of gauchos. The dancers wore authentic period clothes.













At the edge of town is the Ricardo Guiraldes Crillo Park. The park has a museum dedicated to the gaucho.







Nearby there were numerous vendors selling gaucho-ware.




The most amazing part of the day was the parade which consisted of over 4000 horses and riders! This view is of them making their way into town from the park.




Across the ‘Old Bridge’






Into another park that acted as a staging area.




It was here you began to get an appreciation of the beauty of the horses, as well as the very stylish look of the gauchos.






There were entire herds of horses just hanging out in the park.



With 4000 horses and riders some had to wait a bit for their turn to parade.




While most were in groups of two or three a few larger groups rode together.



Horses were everywhere, including on front lawns of houses.




But it was time for the parade. This rider, carrying the flag for the festival, lead the parade.




And for the next few hours we were treated to an amazingly stylish parade.































These gauchos gathered for the ‘Grand Finale’….




A number of riders showing their herding skills by driving a group of horses through the streets of the town by themselves.







What could be better than a beautiful warm spring day with a jacaranda tree blooming in the background, and a gaucho showing his skill.




With the parade over it was time for a cold cerveza while sitting on your horse! Our day in San Antonio de Areco was fantastic, a memory that will last forever.






San Isidro, Argentina – October 2019 – Racing Argentine Style

The San Isidro Hippodromo was opened in suburban Buenos Aires in 1935. In addition to horse racing, they often have concerts here.



Because it’s primary tracks are grass, it is known as the Casa de Turf.







Unlike most American tracks, the starting gates were far away from the finish, so the horses only passed the grandstands once.







On this day there the track was having an open house, with food trucks and entertainment in the infield.
















For the most part you could get up close to the horses and jockeys.










When we arrived the lady at the gate strongly encouraged us to take the free ‘bus tour’. This tour took us around the grounds.

It turned out we had a local model/tv ‘personality’ on our tour.




We stopped in the far back corner of the grounds at one of the starting gates where people were allowed to play on the starting gates before the horses arrived for the next race while our TV host did her story.




Our location allowed us a great close up of the start.




And they were off! It was a nice afternoon at the San Isidro Hippodromo.






New Orleans – May 2019 – One Final Look

We had a great few days in the Big Easy, coming away with fantastic memories, and lots of photographs.

Nola = New Orleans, LA (abbreviation for Louisiana) NOLA



Nola is a city with their own language and culture.



The home of jazz music.



One of the best places for local food like Po’ Boys is Mothers.



There are plenty of horse drawn carriages for the tourists, resulting in carriage jams.




The number of wide boulevards are surprising for such an old city.




Louis Armstrong Park – more Nola celebrating jazz.




The locals are friendly, and at times had free beer!



The French Quarter, while touristy, is a unique place.



Plenty of street entertainment.




St Louis Cathedral is impressive.



More views of the Quarter.




Plenty of Voodoo stores to choose from, should you need them.




Did I mention music!




But this New Orleans parade is over….




Time to roll on out of town. À la prochaine.





Lexington, Kentucky – May 2019 – A Damp Quiet Morning at Keeneland

Keeneland Race Course is located just to the west of Lexington. It is known as one of the most beautiful facilities in the country.


Much like Claiborne Farms everything is done in an understated, but in a posh way.


The stables area are well kept, albeit somewhat quiet on this cool, damp morning.


There was some activity as the horses wait for no man.


At Keeneland the horses always have the right of way.


There is a practice track in addition to the main track.


Returning from the stable area we passed by the library.


A view of the main drive through the facility.


Most of the primary buildings are built from stone.


While this gate was closed, others were open. The styling keeps with the simple elegance.


I am not certain if a Rolex clock keeps better time, but it fits the environment.


The jockeys quarters near the main track.


The entrance to the paddock is closely guarded on race days.


Even the paddock has a nice stone wall surrounding it.


A collection of small statues display the silk colors for some of the major farms.


The main grandstands. This isn’t your county fairgrounds.



Inside the grandstands they had a horse shoe display – Nikes for Thoroughbreds.


A track side view of the main grandstands.


The morning fog gave a surreal feeling to the track.


The finish line – the ‘dirt’ track is in the foreground, the turf track is just behind it.


Attending major sporting events are always a great time, but sometimes the best photography is when nobody is there.





Lexington, Kentucky – May 2019 – Scenes of the City

Two things are important in Lexington – horse racing and bourbon!




Even some of the public art – including giant sculptures of books often depicts horse racing.


A number of artistic horse sculptures are scattered around town.

A downtown sculpture area is called Thoroughbred Park – depicting the finish line in great detail.


The best ‘ghost sign’ in town is for Horse Racing Oats.

But there is more to Lexington that just horses and bourbon – there is the University of Kentucky, and their stunning library.



For a city this far off the east coast there are a number of early 1800 or older buildings and homes.



A former courthouse is now the main visitor center – as well as other civic offices.



The area has been growing, and there is evidence of new investments downtown with government buildings and plazas.



The main library is newer as well, and features this 5 story pendulum clock – reputed to be the largest in the world.



We visited Transylvnia University and an art fair that was occurring there. The college was the first institution of higher learning west of the Allegheny Mountains. It is named for the Transylvania Colony – a proposed 14th colony that never really came to be – but the university name stuck.




Our final stop was the arboretum shared by the University of Kentucky and the city of Lexington. On this spring day there were a number of groups using the setting for their backdrops – homecoming groups, weddings, engages, and others…




Our final stop was a memorial to 49 people who lost their lives in a commuter airline crash in 2006. They are represented by 49 birds in flight.

For a mid sized city Lexington has a lot to offer – a good place to spend a day or two.






Paris, Kentucky – May 2019 – Claiborne Farms

Our day in Paris continued with a ride in ‘Horse Country’. Central Kentucky is the center of thoroughbred horse racing in America, and Paris is the heart of that center. Numerous well known farms surround the town.



We had booked a tour at the most famous one – Claiborne Farms.



Six of the 13 Triple Crown winners were sired at the farm. In addition to these, numerous other Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes winners came from here.



Everything about the farm is first class, but not gaudy. It is done right, but not tacky – sort of the August National of Thoroughbred farms.



The stalls for the stallions are immaculate. And for good reason, they generate the revenue



The most legendary stallion is War Front. Other farms bring mares from all over the world to mate with War Front. The cost for doing this (which takes 15 minutes) is $250,000. War Front brings in $20 million a year in stud fees.

As the guide told us – in reality War Front signs their paychecks. But he earns his money as he has 3 ‘sessions’ a day for 6 months.



But there are others as well that can earn into 6 figures for their services.



Kyle is not just a tour guide, he has a degree from the University of Kentucky in Equine Science and Management.



What do these multi-million dollar animals like – peppermint candy!



All of the studs at the farm are major winners during their 2 and 3 year old years, before moving over to their new career for the rest of their lives (which is usually around 20-25 years)



Still they act like puppies, chewing at their leads and generally playing around.



They are beautifully maintained.



Others in their stalls want attention and peppermint candy as well.


The horse Blame was quite the character!



They have a horse cemetery with some of the most noted in their history buried there including the legendary Secretariat.

Clairborne Farms is a fascinating place. Kyle was a great guide, giving significant detail into the workings of the farm, and how they care for their horses – and will continue to do things ‘the right way’ and ‘old school’ for the best for the horses.




In keeping with the morning we had lunch at the nearby Horseshoes Kentucky Grill.



The interior was decked out in racing memorabilia.






Bienvenue a Paris (Kentucky) – May 2019

So many small towns in America are named after other places – and Paris is no different. According to Google there are 23 towns and cities in America called Paris, but the one in Kentucky is one of the nicer ones.



This town was originally called Bourbontown because it is the county seat of Bourbon County (more on that later), but was renamed to Paris as a thank you to France’s contribution during the Revolutionary War.

They have a small Eiffel Tower next to the Visitor Center/Farmers Market.




The town itself is very well preserved, as there is a lot of money in the area from the thoroughbred farms (more on this later as well).




Horse Racing is a recurring theme throughout all of Central Kentucky.




The pots along the street for flowers and bushes are re purposed horse troughs.




Hollywood has a walk of fame – but so does Paris – with horseshoes for the great ones – including the greatest – Secretariat.




Most of the downtown area buildings are 100 years old and in good condition.






The Duncan Tavern is the oldest building in town – dating from 1788.




The highlight though is the Bourbon County Courthouse. Completed in 1902 it is spectacular.


From the mosaics in the floors….




To another horse racing tribute.



The fantastic view of the dome from below.



Much of the ironwork came from nearby Maysville.



Great care has been given in the upkeep of the courthouse. We were lucky enough that on this Saturday morning it was open for absentee voting – and the Boubon County Clerk of Courts Richard Eads gave us a detailed history of the building, taking time out of his busy day for us.



The ceiling of the courtroom has a mural of Lady Justice.



But with that it was time to head out of town….