When racing fans go to Keeneland, they often head for the burgoo or the bread pudding, or even a corned beef sandwich. But for the jockeys riding in the races, it's a different story.
Jill Guillen, who has been at Keeneland since October 1994 and has run the kitchen in the jockeys' lounge for 16 years, knows what they need and what they like.
"This is where they eat, relax, exercise," Guillen said about the lounge. "It's where they get their focus for the race. Upstairs is where they get ready, and down here is where they eat ... and be as one, like a brotherhood."
The jockeys have graciously extended that concern to Guillen as well, she said.
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"It's very humbling, the way they love you," she said. "I get a little emotional because they're fabulous. ... Their hearts are so much bigger than their bodies. Their bodies are small but their hearts are this big," she said, gesturing for emphasis.
Question: What do you cook for them?
Answer: I cook most everything. Now we have tuna salad, which they adore. Grilled bacon and cheese sandwiches, fried eggs with just a little butter, no grease. They don't eat a lot of bread, but once in a while they want a piece of bread.
Q: But you have cookies and muffins?
A: Several of them don't eat that, but there's a few that can naturally eat anything, like Pat Day, Willie Martinez ... They're just very disciplined. ... I have little candy bars for them, and they share it. But they do eat a lot of eggs. They love eggs.
Q: Do you bet?
Q: What about on Derby?
A: I'm off on Derby. Maybe I'll put a couple of dollars on a horse. I bet by jockeys and colors ... (and by what the jockey ate) ... 'He didn't eat as much. He ate very lightly, one piece of cheese and one cracker. Hmm. He might have a really good horse today.'
That might not be the best odds, but that's how I do it.