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Breeders' Cup 2017
HRN Original Blog:
From Coast to Coast

Normandy Invasion Brings Patriotism to Churchill Downs

Overanalyze Normandy Invasion 615 X 400
Photo: Eclipse Spotswire - Sue Kawczynski
Patriotism is a point of pride for most American citizens, but how patriotism is displayed varies from person to person. For the vast majority of people, saluting the flag; standing and placing their hand over their heart while singing the National Anthem; or even enlisting in the armed forces is enough. However, for others, these typical actions simply will not do, and they find bigger ways to show their patriotism. 
Green Beans Coffee, for example, began the ‘Cup of Joe for a Joe’ campaign. On their website, people can choose a dollar amount to donate, and Green Beans Coffee will deliver your gift of coffee along with a message to troops overseas. When Craig Steichen and his son Matt decided to visit every NFL stadium in the U.S., they also decided that their journey should be about more than just fulfilling a bucket list item. Accompanied by over 65 wounded warriors, the father-son duo managed the whirlwind journey in 15 weeks. 
Country music star Toby Keith is perhaps one of the most outspoken celebrities out there when it comes to being a patriot. The star has completed more than 10 USO tours and performed more than 200 overseas concerts. During a concert in Houston, TX, he surprised a military wife by inviting her up onstage with him while he sang “American Soldier.” As the song ended, her husband appeared onstage, surprising his wife who had no idea that he was coming home then. He then launched into a rousing rendition of “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue.” If you have never heard either of these songs, I challenge you to listen to “American Soldier” without becoming emotional or to listen to “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue” without swelling with patriotic pride.
Recent events have once again brought patriotism to the forefront of minds across the country. In the wake of the tragic bombing at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on, ironically enough, Patriots’ Day, there came an outpouring of pride and love for our country. Pictures of ordinary citizens rushing to the aid of wounded strangers circled the internet, and funds were established to help ease the burden of the mounting medical bills for those that were injured. While the Boston bombing victims battle to regain a sense of normalcy, Fox Hill Farm’s Rick Porter is seeking to give World War II veterans, specifically those who were a part of the Normandy invasion, a day they will never forget.
No stranger to battles himself, Rick Porter is a staunch patriot who actually visited Normandy on the 50th anniversary of the invasion. But while a true blue patriot, it is internal battles, not battles against the enemy with which Porter is familiar. Back in 2008, trainer Larry Jones was not the only person who almost decided to leave the thoroughbred industry for good following the tragic death of Eight Belles, who broke both front ankles right past the wire after placing second in that year’s Kentucky Derby. Though Jones took most of the heat from outraged animal rights’ groups since he trained the filly, both he and owner Rick Porter felt the sharp sting of losing their beloved filly. Ultimately, though, both remained in the game and have since brought along a few more stars, most notably Horse of the Year Havre de Grace.
This year, Fox Hill Farm’s stable star is Kentucky Derby hopeful Normandy Invasion. Though the bay son of Tapit has yet to win a race since breaking his maiden, strong runner-up efforts in the G2 Remsen and the G1 Wood Memorial earned him enough points to guarantee a spot in the gate come May 4th. Eight Belles and Hard Spun both brought home the runner-up’s share of the Kentucky Derby purse in 2008 and 2007 respectively, but it should be no surprise that Porter hopes Normandy Invasion will bring home the winner’s share of this year’s Kentucky Derby purse. Win or lose, though, he would like to share the day with any surviving veterans of the Normandy Invasion. So far he has been able to contact two Normandy Invasion veterans, but he would love to have more as his guests on Derby Day. Kentucky Derby day is already a big event, a special occasion that gives people an excuse to dress up, wear large, elegant hats, and drink mint juleps. With such an atmosphere in place, wouldn’t it be something if Normandy Invasion led the charge straight into the winner’s circle?
Anyone who is interested or who knows someone that may be interested can contact Rick Porter at rporter@foxhillfarmstable.com. 


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Older Comments about Normandy Invasion Brings Patriotism to Churchill Downs...

several close friends came back from Nam, calimbed into a bottle or worse on the other end of syringe and many never came back to see us again. ANYTHING that traumatic I would not wish of anyone.
rah rah war: 7 fellows in my high school never saw their 25th birthday..................for nothing
He smiles all the time. Ask the dog
SS. True. I have always that you never trust a smiling cat. Elmo smiles a lot.
We should all be afraid if Monkey and "Suits" create a Dream Team of Evil and Mayhem.
BP I think Monkey practices hunting on the dog daily in preparations for larger game some day....
Oh...I'm dyin' here! No doubt!!! Those three are the Axis of Evil re-incarnate! Too funny!
Jay. I did see the posts about Monkey. I agree. Elmo has looked on the dog and me as the Rhinelands in his personal quest for total domination. Clearly Monkey, Limpy and Elmo are the Axis of Evil.
*if you saw*
BTW BP. I don't know if you say any of my earlier posts with SSilence, but I think Monkey may be organizing a world-wide cat take-over. SSilence isn't kidding when she says, "World Dominance" in Monkey's world. :)
You too BP. Limpy tells Elmo, "Back at 'cha!" :)
Always good talking to you Jay. Elmo says to say hello to his comrade in arms, Limpy.
I agree 100% BP. When we came back from Desert Storm we stopped at Westover, Mass. I was maintenance then and when we were getting ready to leave for LRAFB, all these people showed-up at the airport. All 15 C-130s cranked their first engine at the same time. All the folks went crazy. I was mashalling one of the acft so I was standing by the fence where they were at. I moved me so much I started crying. I was only 22, but even then I knew a large part of the applause was for Vietnam.
The fact that we treated the Vietnam vets so poorly, is one of the reasons I think we treat the military men and women better today. Guilt can be a great prod.
Nice stories Jay. Yes the Vietnam vets got the shaft.
Last thing I'll say about being retired from Active Duty. Neither I, nor my wife, will ever be broke for more than 30 days at a time for the rest of our lives. :)
I will also say this. Knowing the NI connections have invited the NI veterans, I find myself now a big Normandy Invasion fan.
Oh, I wouldn't have wanted to be in one of the German gun fortresses at Normandy. Having the US Navy blasting those 16 inch guns at me. What courage those men had. And I will say as far as my experience went, I couldn't walk 10 feet in an airport in uniform without a grateful nation of folks walking-up and saying thanks. I always thanked them. One time at the Atlanta Airport I was leading a group of my guys towards the gate and a USO volunteer got on the PA and asked everyone to give us a hand cause we were going to the middle east. I had never heard applause like that directed our way. The young guys were looking around like "wow!" I was old enough to really appreciate it. Man, I'm choking-up just typing it. Too bad the Vietnam vets don't have many experiences like that.
Great experiences Jay. I also think of what the Germans thought when they scanned the sea off the Beaches of Normandy and saw the Armada steaming towards them on tht June morning. A couple of the guys who spoke about Bataan lied about their ages to enlist and were actually 16 or so. Can't even begin to imagine what it was like. And yes I don't think Americans today appreciate their sacrifice. So its nice when a porter etc. re willing to do something for the military men. Will probably put something on NI just because of this and also his name. The best Derby winners I pick are always by name like Carry Back, Lucky Debonair, Proud Clarion, Majestic Prince. Figured with names like that, they can't lose.

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Meet Ashley Tamulonis

Despite growing up in a non-horse racing state, Ashley has been a fan of the sport since a young age. Her love for horse racing was fostered through the kids’ book series Thoroughbred by Joanna Campbell, and it was her love of reading and horses that led her to educate herself on the ins and outs of the sport. Since becoming actively involved in the industry just a few short years ago, Ashley has had the opportunity to meet many important players in the industry, attend the Eclipse Awards, see personal favorite Mucho Macho Man race twice in person, and get to personally meet and befriend many of the fantastic fans and horsemen involved in the sport.


Before joining Horse Racing Nation, Ashley created her own blog Wired with Ashley Paige. The idea to venture into the world of blogging came to her when she realized that she had much to say about horse racing and no one to say it to at the time. Ashley began her time with Horse Racing Nation blogging as The Florida Filly. Using that moniker, she mainly covered racing in South Florida but also blogged about nationwide racing, industry issues, and from time to time offered her opinion on how various changes could be beneficial to the industry as a whole. A move north to New Hampshire began both a new chapter in both Ashley's personal life and professional life. She currently pens the new From Coast to Coast blog for HRN, which is simply a revamped version of The Florida Filly. Don't let the new look and name change fool you, though. Ashley still brings to the table the same great coverage as From Coast to Coast as she did for The Florida Filly. Ashley also participates as a voter in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Polls.


An alumni of Macon State College, Ashley is from Central Georgia but is currently living in New Hampshire with her husband Chris and their two sons Charlie and Michael. A stay-at-home mom, Ashley juggles parenting with blogging and her other passions. Aside from horse racing, Ashley is a fervent football fan, enjoys reading and studying history, and hopes to someday author a historical work covering the Tudor period as well as biographies of horse racing’s stars, equine and human alike.

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