Stay in Your Lane
For several years my mother and I would watch the Kentucky Derby, The Preakness and the Triple crown. My grandfather lived in New Mexico and used to train and run horses when my mama was young. She passed away 2 years ago. Every year we brought her flowers and a hat to the hospital as she was never well enough to travel those last years. My friend Kim lives in Louisville. We attended high school together some 20 years ago. For years she begged me to come down. This year I just had to oblige. I entered 2015 saying that I was going to spend the entire year commemorating my mother. Code word for....doing things she never got to do because of her illness.
I missed The Oaks. This was the race of the female horses on Friday. I had to work and finish up some other projects. I flew in Saturday morning instead. I was equipped with my silk blend Kate Spade gold colored dress. I found a lady online that makes custom steampunk hats, I mean ...of course I was going to be different. Its not often you see a bronze face at the Derby.
Arriving at the Louisville airport I was relieved. There was no crowd, no lines for luggage but there were vases of roses everywhere. It was beautiful. I scurried to the bathroom to get dressed as Kim would be arriving to pick me up. She had been living in Louisville off and on for about 15 years.
She pulled up in her SUV and off we were to the races. We were able to park close because a lot of the locals rented out parking spaces during the races. We caught a golf cart to the front entrance of Churchill Downs. They scanned our tickets and smiled largely. We had jockey wife seats. Kim was good friends with Dawn Theriot. She is the wife of Jamie Theriot, jockey in the race after the Derby. I was elated.
First things first, I need a mint julep. I never had one. I would be having several today. I didn't care if they were gross, I wanted to keep in the tradition for my mama. I was pleasantly surprised....they were delicious. We made our way to our seats, they were 3 boxes back from the track. It was perfect.
Dawn came in with her fabulous entourage and we stood to greet her. She was decked out in ivory and a lovely fascinator adorned her head. I knew we were going to have a blast. She asked us if we wanted to come to the jockey suite. Clearly I jumped at the chance to be able to share with my readers and listeners that experience. It was also near Millionaires Row which I had heard so much about.
When we entered the jockey room it was surreal. I am new to this so to see these men standing at 5'1 and I stand at 5'6 but really 5'9 with my Betsey Johnson heels on was crazy. I took photos with several of them including Martin Garcia, who went on to place 3rd in the Derby hours later. We saw Victor adorned in turquoise and yellow, who went on to win the Derby as the rider for American Pharoah. It was hard to return to our seats after that.
Churchill downs actually sold out of mint juleps and had the highest attendance this year in its 141 years. I am proud that I was able to attend such a traditional event. There were children barely 3 years old decked out in little hats as well as the little boys in their seersucker. It was truly a family event. You can spend as much money as you wanted to or as little. I decided on a full brisket platter. It was only about 11 dollars, as were the mint juleps. I didn't break the bank. My flight was only $165 leaving Saturday one way from Buffalo and returning to Buffalo it was also $165. Had I booked from Thursday to Monday it would have been double each way. I had a friend there so I didn't have to stay in a hotel and for that I am grateful. The Kentucky Derby was a dream for my mama but a reality for me. I will be returning every year and bringing my friends and family. This wasn't a sport I was familiar with. I am glad I stayed in my lane and was able to do the Derby with my friends and their friends. In the words of the Terminator, " I'll be back"
© 2015 Dee Scott