Photo: Bill Brine
When the fifteen horses comprising the inaugural Kentucky Derby field pounded around the track in 1875, 10,000 spectators looked on from a grandstand that still didn’t have a name. These days, the Kentucky Derby draws a cheering crowd of more than 160,000 and has gone on to become not just a rite of spring but one of the top sporting events in the world.
The 20 horses that will compete in the 2017 Kentucky Derby have been chosen based on a point system. Girvin, a Kentucky-bred dark bay trained by Joe Sharp leads with 150 points; Irish bay Thunder Snow and Todd Pletcher-trained Always Dreaming round out the top three with 100 points each. But it’s not just about the points. Although he’s only earned 32 points, Classic Empire, whose sire also fathered Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, is emerging as an early favorite, as is McCracken, who can end a race with a sudden burst of speed.
For XOJET clients, a trip to Churchill Downs couldn’t be easier. Louisville is home to a number of well-positioned airports as well as a terrific transportation system, great hotels, and a mix of time-tested and contemporary restaurants.
Here’s the inside track.
By Ron Kroichick, Sports Columnist/Feature Writer for the San Francisco Chronicle
Let’s face it: The Masters almost never disappoints.
This stretches beyond, say, the 1997 edition, when young Tiger Woods made history with his landmark victory. Consider five years ago, when Bubba Watson memorably curved a shot out of the forest to prevail in a playoff.
Or two years ago, when Jordan Spieth – not quite as young as Woods in ’97, but close – launched his riveting run at the Grand Slam. Or the year after, when Spieth collapsed on the back nine on Sunday and unheralded Englishman Danny Willett slipped his arms into the green jacket.
Few marquee sporting events perpetually produce great theater the way the Masters does, and XOJET can take you there – right to Augusta Regional Airport at Bush Field, only 13 miles from the course.
Anticipation for the Masters builds all winter, as golf slowly emerges from hibernation and winds its way to the azaleas and pines of eastern Georgia. Augusta National is part of the tournament’s allure, not only for the picturesque setting but also for the cool, thrill-seeking stage it provides.
The course favors power hitters and those with creativity around the greens. Augusta also lends itself to final-round excitement, with two reachable par-5s (Nos. 13 and 15) and a potential birdie hole (No. 16) coming down the stretch.
There also are plenty of treacherous holes, as Spieth learned all too well last year. But the magic of the Masters, set for April 6-9 this year, includes a powerful sense of history. These are the same fairways Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson once walked … and Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus … and Woods and Phil Mickelson.
Now, here in 2017, who will win the year’s first major?
If you’re traveling to Augusta, this all-encompassing guide will help you find out in style:
Photo: Telluride Ski Resort | Brett Schreckengost
There are many reasons to fly private, but one of our favorites is the easy access it offers to destinations that are often considered difficult to reach.
Like Telluride, Colorado.
Set within a glacier-carved box canyon 360 miles from Denver, Telluride gives us everything we want in an alpine destination: dramatic scenery, tremendous skiing with no lift lines, a walkable downtown, and a sprinkling of celebrities, all wrapped up within the rocky peaks of the San Juan Mountains.
Here’s how we spend three perfect days in this winter wonderland.