A Broadway star, American Pharoah in costume, witches and Mongolians all came out for Breeders' Cup's big Halloween party Saturday at Keeneland.
Like many other people, actress and singer Laura Bell Bundy, a Lexington native, plans to bet on American Pharoah again.
"We might have our Secretariat, our generation's Secretariat," Bundy said.
As a Breeders' Cup ambassador, she was excited to see the two-day event come to Kentucky, and particularly to her hometown track. And seeing the Triple Crown winner in his final race was a big bonus.
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"I was asked, being someone from Kentucky who is interested in horse racing and grew up around it, to be a Breeders' Cup ambassador. People know this is kind of a bigger deal than the (Kentucky) Derby because these are the world championships. Derby winners race each other," Bundy said.
"Also, I get to come to all of these swanky events and get nice tables. ... It's really awesome to have the Breeders' Cup here. ... To have such a massive event at Keeneland, where I've been coming since I was 4 years old, ... this is the first year I've been able to bring my family. ... It feels like home.
All the way from Mongolia
Brothers Tserenjigmed and Ganbaatar Dagvadorj attracted a lot of attention at the Breeders' Cup, as they and several members of their party wore traditional Mongolian dress to root for their horse, Mongolian Saturday.
The brothers run Max Group, a major business conglomerate in Mongolia. Ganbaatar Dagvadorj also is a successful horse trainer in a nation known for talented horses and riders.
The brothers began trading skins and furs underground in the late 1980s during the last years of Soviet domination, according to Forbes magazine. Now, the company includes supermarkets, fast-food franchises, hotels and construction companies.
The Mongolian contingent roamed the grounds, taking photos with the Breeders' Cup statute by the paddock and by the track, before turning their attention to the race, the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint, in their first trip to the world championships.
With their French jockey, Florent Geroux, they shocked the field, winning an upset victory narrowly over a charging Lady Shipman.
"Truly a Mongolian Saturday," said Jay Privman, interviewing them in the winners' circle afterward.
'As good as it gets!'
After American Pharoah's Classic win, brothers Greg and Pat Larson were up in the air — on a chair they dragged from inside to the back of the grandstand to see over the crowd of 50,155, most on their feet in excitement.
"This is it. ... I've seen Zenyatta, ... but this was the best race of my life," Greg Larson said. "To see a horse win the Triple Crown, and then this, ... You don't see this ever. This is the first time ever. ... This is as good as it gets!"
University of Kentucky freshman Anna Kogoi of Canton, Ga., summed up what many people thought: "We just saw history!"
She and three friends who volunteered for the Breeders' Cup at Keeneland got to stay and see the races. One, Abby Koenigsberg of Pennsylvania, even had a $4 win bet on American Pharoah. She was on the fence as to whether to cash it or keep it until she realized that cashing it meant losing her keepsake. "No, I'm keeping it."
Triple Crown costume
Who could be more popular on Breeders' Cup Classic day than American Pharoah? And who wouldn't want to take a picture with him? And for that, Todd Bybee of Louisville came prepared in a homemade costume.
Dressed in an American flag "poncho" with a horse's head and a Egyptian headdress, and sandals, Bybee had the perfect outfit. Other racegoers couldn't wait to get pictures with him.
"He's the Triple Crown winner, and it's Halloween. I had to do something," said Bybee, who in real life is "a stay-at-home horse."
Bybee, like a lot of others at the Breeders' Cup on Saturday, saw American Pharoah win the Kentucky Derby, too.
And a purple-haired witch
A lot of ladies wore hats. The fascinator was a popular choice, but so was the witch's hat.
But Lynn Johnson of Versailles went the extra mile: with a black witch's dress, and purple-and-black striped stockings to complete her outfit.
"He's embarrassed," Johnson said of her companion, Greg Scott. But she thought that with Classic day falling on Halloween, it was an opportunity not to be missed.
She started her outfit by looking for something Breeders' Cup purple. She settled on purple hair.
Warm hats win
If men or women got to Breeders' Cup without a hat, the Christine A. Moore Millinery was there to help with dozens of fedoras for men, and cloches and fascinators for women.
Elizabeth Cruse, modeling a lovely watered silk small hat, said sales had been brisk.
"I've sold several right off my head," she said. The big seller of the day: warmer wool hats that held off the chilly, damp breeze.
And, surprisingly, straw hats. "For Derby next year," Cruse said.
Home Sweet Hill
Regulars to Keeneland's tailgating spot, The Hill, said that it was a bit busier than usual Saturday afternoon, and several participants pulled out all the stops to make their plots of grass look as inviting as home sweet home.
"We've had the bus for about a year," Jennifer Gray said, and her husband, Larry, "likes to bring everything from the house."
"Everything" included a flat-screen TV to follow college football Saturday afternoon, via a portable satellite unit, and another one on which their son Landry was playing Xbox. They said they and some friends had built up their tailgating operation over the years because "we love to tailgate."
They go to all of the University of Kentucky home games, but they chose Breeders' Cup over Saturday's UK-Tennessee game "because of the gambling part," fellow tailgater Jason Sagraves said.
The official cupcake
One of the major attractions on The Hill, aside from betting and music by The Bobby Perry Band, were cupcakes by Caramanda's Bake Shoppe in Lexington. The treat was the official Breeders' Cup cupcake, a title earned through a WKYT-TV competition, according to Caramanda's employee Kristi Bosomworth. The winning confection was a raspberry cake with white chocolate chips baked in and a buttercream icing.
While customers walked up Saturday afternoon, Jennifer Dionne put yellow icing on the cakes, which are a perfect Breeders' Cup purple when you bite into them.