Felines' antics entertain backside employees at Churchill Downs
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- They're not the animal that's typically associated with Churchill Downs. The antics from some friendly felines entertain backside employees during racing's slow season.
Kentucky Derby 144 is a distant memory. Racing is in its down season. When employees on the backside aren't looking after their horse, they're making sure their other four-legged friends are cared for.
"They have their own little city back here," said backside employee Rob Meeker. "We have Doris. Then, we have Prince. He's about 18-years-old. Then, we have Veronica over here. We've had Sabrina, had a cat called, Tony, named after one of her ex-husbands."
A cat in every color, with its own characteristic, including one curious cougar. When she's not keeping the mice away, she's keeping tabs on top trainer Greg Foley. "Doris, she's just happy. She'll go to Greg's office door there and she'll sit there. People know to open the door to let her in," Meeker said.
However, there's one local legend. We're not talking about Secretariat. "Everybody on the backside knows him, Charlie," Foley said.
Foley got the 2-year-old in New Orleans. Pictures of his treks on the track will have to do because something says, he ventured out long before we arrived. "I get calls at 2 o'clock in the morning, 'I've got your cat.' I said, 'just leave him alone. He'll come home,' but that's the way it was," Foley said.
If thoroughbreds are the headliners, think of these tigers as the background talent. "I think they go hand in hand. They've both got personalities of their own and they're fun to have around," Foley said.
"They bring such joy to us every day. It's a good thing," Meeker said.
Employees estimate that there are about 50 cats on the backside.
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