Friday, May 18, 2012

Kentucky Derby 2012

As I've said a few times, I went to the Kentucky Derby this year.
It was the second time I've been - bossman gave me tickets 2 or 3 years ago - 
but this was my first Derby with my Daddy.
And it was my first trip to the infamous Infield.

This town gets down during Derby time.
We have a huge fireworks show to kick off two weeks of partying, 
and by the time Derby day itself, the first Saturday in May, rolls around,
the locals are filling up my Facebook feed with things like,
"One more day and this town can get back to normal."
 I like the partying, though.
Even if I rarely participate in any of it,
I love the atmosphere of excitement and fun, 
and I love that people from all over come to our city
and see all the awesome we have to offer.

Daddy says his favorite thing about the Derby 
is all the beautiful women in pretty dresses.
The men dress pretty well, too.

The neighborhood near Churchill Downs isn't high dollar real estate;
in fact, it's maybe a little on the rough side.
But that neighborhood rocks out Derby week.
Every house has someone standing in front with a sign that says 
"PARK HERE! $10"
Or $20, or $40, depending on how close you are to the track.
The 'hood becomes a block party -
everyone is grilling out 
(and entrepreneurs are selling hot dogs and burgers and bottled water),
music is blaring,
rednecks and hoodrats in chinos and polos driving golf carts and offering rides to the pretty rich folk who'd never intentionally come into this neighborhood after dark or during off-season.

I should've taken pictures of that.  THAT was the real Derby.

Oh well, these mostly-what-you'd-expect shots will have to do.  

Daddy met us at the house early Saturday morning, 
just as I pulled a hashbrown casserole from the oven.
I made smoothies, too.
We found close parking for $10, 
then caught a golf cart to the Infield gate.
(I almost left our admission tickets in the car.  
Having to go back for them would've been the ultimate walk of shame.)
In our own golf cart chariot.  An excellent shot of the back of my Daddy's head.

Approaching the Infield entrance gate.  At this point, everything's still fine.  No indication that anything is amiss.

Wait a second.
Wait just a minute.  Is that the line?

Dude in the middle there?  Preachin' 'bout Jesus.
At this point, Daddy's about to lose his shit.
He's doing that helpless hands-in-the-air shrug he does when he's frustrated,
and gesturing toward the crowd with a look of shocked disbelief.
"It'll take HOURS to get through this."

The line wasn't moving.  
At all.
See, this is the only entrance through which you can take chairs and coolers and the like.
Everything - EVERYTHING - has to be searched 
to make sure you're not trying to blow the place up
or drink without paying the track tax.

So I said, "Fuck this.  We don't have chairs or a cooler.  Let's walk around to the main entrance."
So we did.

No lines here!  Just walk right up, walk right in.
Security "checked" my purse - 
I held it open and he stuck a wooden skewer into it for one swipe and waved me on.
I really should've packed a flask.

These guys were my first favorites of the day.
I don't know it for a fact,
but I'd bet $100 that they had those suits tailor made.
They fit them like gloves.
One day, I too will be awesome enough to wear something outrageous in public.

Jefferson County's Smoking Ban applies to all bars and restaurants and public venues in the county...
Except Churchill Downs.  Smoke it up, Ladies and Gents!

You get to the infield through a giant tunnel that runs under the racetrack.
I asked Daddy,
"This isn't going to be like that tunnel scene in The Stand, is it?"

Notice how they're all facing the same direction? 
They're not facing the racetrack.

These people too.  They've positioned themselves where they are very purposefully.

So they can see the board, of course.

That's the track, through those fences and girls there.

Hey look!  I saw a horse! 
Lots of locals go to Derby and never see a horse, so I felt I was doing pretty good.

Derby is like camping, but with less fire and booze. 
There's still booze,
but at $9 for a beer or mint julep, there's not booze like you'd see around a campfire.

Daddy's friends brought their transistor radio to listen to the commentary.
Blast from the past!

Place your bets, folks!

It was hot and humid and expensive out there, so we only planned to stay for a few hours, beat the rush getting out, and be home in time to watch the big race on TV.
This was the crowd 4 hours before the main race, 
when I was trying to place my Derby bets before we headed home.

There are no chairs at the Derby unless you bring your own. 
Plan to pull up a piece of pavement.

We got lost in the college party section on our way out.
I smelled dope out there!

This was 4 hours after we'd by-passed the Infield entrance gate.
These people are just coming in from that line. 

And we all lived happily ever after.  

(And I won $52.60 when 2 of the 7 horses I bet placed first and second in the actual Kentucky Derby.
First time I've ever cashed a winning ticket.  YAY!)

1 comment:

Please don't make me cry.


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