OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA -- It's always nice when a flight comes in early, especially a red-eye.
This one was ready to off load its passengers at 5 o'clock on Friday morning.
"It's a first class operation," smiles Shawn Schlenk. "It says so right on the plane. First Class Equine Air Travel."
Welcome to just another day on Air Horse One.
He continues, "It's great. We fly the best horses in the world."
Experienced handlers like Schlenk are the flight attendants for this type of unique charter.
These Thoroughbred horses boarded the Boeing 727 in Louisville, Kentucky and arrived at Will Rogers Airport in Oklahoma City within 2 hours with no obvious complaints about the in flight snacks.
Shawn describes the in-flight services as, "More of a pat on the head and a flake of hay. Peanuts are bad luck in horse racing so we don't serve peanuts."
Four very special animals made the trip this morning even though this aircraft can hold more than 20.
A van and trailer ride from Kentucky to Oklahoma would have taken a couple of days with these horses in tow and they might have needed a few extra days to be ready to race.
With a couple of laps around the inside of the stall barn, a sip of water, and another flake of hay, Assistant Trainer Amy Mullen says her two race horses, Alberabello and Wooderson, are right at home.
"They both look really good," she says. "They shipped well and the both seem to have plenty of energy walking around here, and playing in their stalls."
The barns are full of fast horses for what is almost always Remington Park's biggest race day.
For Stakes Coordinator Don Thompson, getting the horses settled in is nearly the final piece of the puzzle.
"You know, until I get them in that starting gate, I'm not done yet."
Air Horse One had a couple of additional stops to make on this busy Friday; more elite athletes to bring in, and this 30th Derby Day shaping up to be something worth whistling about.
The $400,000 Remington Park Derby and the $200,000 Remington Park Oaks will take place Sunday, September 29th along with several other stakes races.
For more information about Derby Day including race times go to http://www.remingtonpark.com