Sunday, May 2, 2010

Mud was deep and rain was wet.

You may have heard that in Louisville Kentucky the 136th Kentucky Derby day was a rainy day. The race itself was run in the early evening. Just as the twenty horses in the race were walking from the paddock to the gate with all their trainers and owners, the sun came out. This didn't mean the men in their thousand dollar suits and the women in their four inch Jimmy Cho's weren't walking through six inches of deep mud. The jockeys sat atop their chosen horse, clean and dry, while an outrider horse road by a livered helper held their harness. At this point the only hope any of them had of remaining clean was if they were lucky to break from the gate and lead all the way to the finish line. No one was so lucky.

The winning jockey Calvin Borel told a reporter before the race that he was going to wear five sets of goggles and hoped that was enough. He is famously known as "Borail" meaning he rides the rail to win. It is a good thing we don't get a clear picture of this until after the race. He rides that so expertly that it is estimated he's less than three inches from that rail. That is dangerous if you're not talented. Calvin once again was the most talented and won aboard Super Saver.

I had money on the horse. For it is exciting watching a horse I've made a small bet on, run and win in a hard fought race. It is hard to describe the feeling. It is odd too as I wasn't much of a horse racing fan until a few years ago. I owe that vice to my friend Reggie.

We split a bet on every horse in the race. I had suggested this bet in years past and Reggie thought it was wasteful. I always bet a total of $50 on the Derby, spreading my money amongst the horses, but I've never bet every horse. This year he suggested it and I immediately said, "Yes!" He said, "That way we know we will have the winner." I also bet the winner $2 across the board. It paid $32.80. Then there was the $9 from splitting the bet with Reggie. This is the best I've done in the Derby. With the place and show horse my total result was $68.90 for the day.

I know people who pick a horse and think about betting but never do. My sister was one of those. She posted on Facebook that she had the winner, but never placed a bet. I'm not sure why not but I'm not going to question her because I'm not sure I could keep from laughing. I know I'm not nice about this.

The famous and nearly so, schlep into town and after they sober up, schlep out of town. As with other humongous touristy events in other places, public relations professionals and party planners convince them to attend the Derby Week parties and walk into Churchill Downs on a red carpet. They are resplendent in finery and have entourages trailing behind. Local news heads confront them with a microphone and camera streaming live interviews and basically ask, "Who are you betting in the big race?" It's mind numbing. There have been some genuinely famous people attend this thing but this year, it was a herd of B-List reality show has been's and the fading famous. Maybe I don't watch enough television. The one person I knew was Diane Lane, who was one of the Grand Marshal's in the Pegasus Parade, Thursday.
Tomorrow all we who live in Louisville will return to our lives and turn our attention to politics and the latest natural or unnatural disaster in the world. Indiana holds its primary election Tuesday and I look forward to no longer having to endure their endless commercials. No worry. Kentucky's primary is May 18th and I'm sure all those vacant TV spots will be taken up by our candidates.

Rain continued after the races last night. Having gone to bed with a book at the usual time, I was awakened by the cat about 1 a.m. She seldom sleeps near me but last night she was either on my feet on perched on the back of the divan watching. Thunder storms raged and I finally turned on the light and read. By 5:30 a.m. it was still raining and the television was a blast of angry red, which meant storms were moving through the state with flash floods. It is still raining now. Grass is already over my shins in the yard. Maybe renting a rake and hay bailer would be a good idea.