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A Report From the CTBA's Tour of Ireland
The Final Day
     By Leigh Ann Howard
     Another day at the Curragh started out fairly early for many of our tour members. The excitement of Lava Man's exciting win in the Hollywood Gold Cup still floated over our group. Doug O'Neill, Lava Man's trainer, has a very comfortable relationship with the media and is able to think on his feet during any interview. He commented several times that he and his family were on a California Thoroughbred Breeders Association tour and that Lava Man is a Cal-bred.
     Today we had another great lunch in the dining area and then all moved out to our reserved seats. Tour director Doug Thomson had done a remarkable job procuring the very best reserved seats in the house for the Irish Derby. We were able to see, with binoculars, the very tops of the riders' helmets during the longer races when the horses were behind the hill. 
     The weather was showery and windy and sunny all day. For anyone who has not been there, that might be hard to understand. The weather on that island is like the saying:  "If you don't like the weather, just wait ten minutes and it will be different."
     The ESPN crew found Doug again in our reserve seats and he had more opportunity to comment on the fact that Lava Man is a Cal-bred.
     Of course, the biggest event today at the Curragh was the Irish Derby. The race was won by Soldier of Fortune, by Galileo (Ire), one of the important stallions we viewed at Coolmore Stud. Soldier of Fortune was born and raised on that farm. 
     The pageantry leading up to the race and the parading of the winner were very impressive. The huge but elegant Waterford Crystal vase was presented to owners Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith in a ceremony just past the finish line. This was all quite an impressive day, similar to attending our biggest race day of the year: the Kentucky Derby.
     This evening the group got back to the hotel after the races and had another lovely dinner in the Killashee House where we were staying. 
     This was the end of the tour.  Several people stayed on for a few more days to take in more of the sights and travel to other countries. 
     Tour director Doug Thomson designed a tour that gave our breeders a very good look, albeit quick, at the entire Thoroughbred industry in Ireland. 
     The places we visited were all top-class and the meals were outstanding. The informative session by the leaders in the Irish Thoroughbred industry made clear many of the seemingly curious methods used in that country. The racing was excellent and the winning by our top Cal-bred really made this a memorial trip. 
     We presented Doug with a personalized autographed copy of board member Bill Nichols new book "Seabiscuit: The Rest of The Story."
Tour Director Doug Thomson
at the John Oxx yard.

Photos From the Day Four
Visit to Moyglare Stud
A 50-acre pasture with top
mares and foals.
A portion of the gardens.
For photographs of the 
tour's visit to the 
Curragh on Irish Derby 
Day, click here.