Saturday, May 5, 2012

5/5/2012 The Shortest Two Minutes in Sports (1)

I have so many pictures and things to tell you that I’m going to have to break this up into sections. How many remains to be seen.

We’ve known since last December that we were going to the Kentucky Derby. When we bought our tickets we knew that we didn’t have actual seats but had general admission tickets which would get us into the Paddock area or the Infield. This was on Bob’s bucket list, it didn’t matter, he wanted to go.

So we planned our trip so that we would be in Kentucky this first week of May.

We knew that parking was going to be totally outrageous so we looked into transportation via the Expo Center. Yes, we could get a shuttle at the cost of $15.00 each for a round trip. Ok, that works.

We had made phone calls yesterday to find out what we could and could not take into the Infield and Paddock areas with us. The Paddock would not allow us to bring anything and the Infield would allows us a chair each, a cooler and 2 bags each. We knocked the cooler out and decided on one good sized canvas bag each.

We got up at six this morning, got ourselves dressed, lunches made, bags packed with small six pack type coolers, sandwiches, baggies of pretzels and cheeze-its, sodas and two cokes that had the caps removed, some poured out and an adult beverage added. I was told they checked caps but Bob didn’t think they would check that closely. It was worth the chance because all they could do was take it.

The first shuttle left at 7:30a.m.. It left with two people on it. Our shuttle left 20 minutes later and we had four people on our school bus. Fifteen minutes later we were at Churchill Downs. We got in line to enter gate three, the only gate into the Infield if you were carrying chairs. The line was long, long enough that it took us an hour and a half to get through. Of course this was because the people who were checking bags for booze, glass, weapons etc. were very thorough. Bob got rid of his two little bottles of doctored Coke rather than get caught with it.

One of the hats we saw while in line.


Of course as we’re getting through the gate there is a mad dash for the “good spaces”. We’re at a loss here, we don’t know where the “good spaces” are if in fact there are any. (Yes, there were better areas than others)

We picked a spot close to another couple who hailed from Arkansas. As we talked with them more we both moved our chairs closer to each other because it was obvious we were going to spend the day together. Very nice people.

Bob reading the racing book. Notice all the open space around him.


The Kentucky Derby is always held the first Saturday in May. It’s the first in a series of three races known as the Triple Crown. A Triple Crown winner must win the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. Each one of these Grade 1 races, all of different lengths, are run within a five week span. Only eleven horses have earned this honor in the last one hundred years. The Triple Crown is one the most difficult and certainly one of the most coveted achievements in thoroughbred racing.

The race was first run in 1875. The Mint Julep is the official drink of the Kentucky Derby and My Old Kentucky Home is sung by all as the horses are brought to post. The winning owner of the Derby is awarded a 14K gold cup and smaller silver versions are presented to the trainer, jockey and breeder. The gold cup design was first used in 1924 and the winners get to keep their cups because Churchill Downs commissions a new one to be made to each year.

The Preakness Stakes is run the third Saturday in May at the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland. The Belmont Stakes is run every June in Long Island, New York. Dubbed “The Test of a Champion” it is the final jewel in the Triple Crown.

Some of the sights we saw today.




When I told how much I liked their hats, one of them whispered to me, “Hobby Lobby and a glue gun.”


Of course not all the hats were beautiful, but were still appropriate for the day.


Her husband wanted to know why I wasn’t taking a picture of HIS hat. So I did.


It wasn’t all about the hats you know.


I never did understand the get up of the next one. It was hot today and this guy has a full body leotard on that even covered his hands and feet! Louisville’s version of Blue Man Group? Red Man?


More to come….

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