Off and Running
Saturday, May 6, is the running of the Kentucky Derby. I’m not much of a race fan. I’d rather ride a horse myself than watch someone else. You might say, I’m a trail rider, not a track watcher.
Even so, I did go to the Derby once upon a time as a guest of the then Kentucky Governor and First Lady. The invitation came with a ride on the party train from the state capital in Frankfort to the racetrack at Churchill Downs in Louisville. The mint juleps flowed.
Two Great Minutes
I quickly discovered that the celebration of the event takes far more time than the actual race, which is aptly called “the greatest two minutes in sports.”
As befits the occasion, ladies were dressed in fine feather, wearing flouncy, flowery hats, and pastel-colored outfits. (Though with the 90 degree temperature shorts and sandals would have been far more comfortable.)
I took up a conversation with a man in our box, who looked like he could’ve been in the Ascot chorus of My Fair Lady.
“How should I place my meager $20 bet?” I inquired. “Should I consider the horse’s color, the jockey’s outfit, or some other vital statistic?”
He said that color was as good a place to start as any.
So I picked a nice-looking bay, with coloring much like one of our Quarter horses at the farm. Sadly, he turned out to be a little pokey on the track, coming in next to last.
A Composite Celebration
This year Derby day will compete with the Coronation of King Charles III. But be not dismayed. Think of it as a chance to take in two historic events on the same weekend.
Synchronize the grand occasions with a party, pairing mint juleps with British tea sandwiches or fish and chips. Since Friday is Cinco de Mayo, you might want to throw in a few tacos for good measure.
Filming the King and Queen
A family friend, who visited this past week, is an international cameraman for CBS, who travels to all the neat events around the world. He was on his way to London to set up outside the church for live filming of the Coronation of King Charles.
“How exciting!” I said. “If you get close to His Majesty, tell him Jean said, “Hey!”