Friday, May 05, 2006

Derby Time

There are many things in the 31 years I've lived here that I don't care for. I never got the U of L/ UK argument, especially among people who never went to either school. I don't understand why the city wants to be "World Class" but makes so many dumb decisions. I'm saddened by the lack of quality jobs in the area.

But one thing's for sure. I love Derby and I love horse racing.

My first real Derby memory is 1977, when I was 6. I remember being on the deck of our house at Crestwood. My dad was grilling out and we had a black and white TV out there watching the Derby. I remember (don't ask me why) looking at the Scene and picking out the name "Run Dusty Run". I imagine I liked the symmetry. He finished second to a nothing horse called Seattle Slew and my love for racing was born.

Some more favorite memories:

Spending several years with our friends the Littles, from PeeWee Valley.

Finding out in college at Boston University that I shared a love with my friends Jen Safrey and Rolly Hoyt (who later married and sadly, later divorced). We went each year to watch the Derby together at different simulcast tracks in Massachusetts. My favorite moment was being among the hardcore degenerate gambler at Suffolk Downs and betting on Lil E Tee because Pat Day was aboard. Because Suffolk wasn't tied into Churchill, the odds were a lot longer there. As Lil E Tee came on, and I was screaming for the horse to win, I could see the disgusted faces around me staring at me in amazement at my pick. My friend Jen and I were screaming when I won, and guys around me were asking me how I knew. "It's my home track. Pat Day was due," I said. Jen now writes romance novels, and Rolly now does media work in the horse racing game for several publications, broadcast outlets, and tracks. He's in Louisville today working hard.

Working two Derbys and two Oaks in High School and getting to see Larry Hagman and Hal Holbrook, as well as the following incident.

As I was standing guarding a stairwell, I saw Ron Clay and Troy Roebuck coming at me. Being a big fan, I was studying them closely. I looked away for a second and saw.... Terry Meiners. They both were headed on a collision course for each other, for what I imagined in my head to be their first meeting since their public divorce. They met in front of me and exchanged a few pleasantries and walked on their way. I always wondered what was said and what each thought of the other at that point.

Having $2 across the board on Charismatic, watching at Sports Spectrum with my wife and best friend Bryan from college, who was in from Fort Campbell.

And finally, spending the past few years with my daughter and wife, having our own "Derby Party", with my daughter picking numbers out of the program and riding her little rocking horse during the race.

I love Derby. Too bad it's only 2 minutes a year.

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