Brad Feld

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Derby Day

May 08, 2005
Category Places

I surprised Amy with a trip to the Kentucky Derby. She’s a horse lover (I’ve yet to met a girl that doesn’t at least like horses) and – while I know how to spell Derby – she can recite the history of not just the 131 Run for the Roses but can gracefully explain the meaning of “Lilies for the Fillies” (hint – the day before the Derby is called the Kentucky Oaks and is all about girl horses.

The Kentucky Derby was an amazing event. I’ve heard it called the most exciting two minutes in sports, but it had a multi-day windup that was on par with The Super Bowl. I showed up late Friday night and Amy had already had three days of partying and one day of horse racing (there’s that Oaks / girl horse thing again.) Derby day started early – we left the hotel at 9am and got to Churchill Downs at 10ish in time for race 3 (of 12 – although the Derby was number 10 and we – along with everyone but the jockeys and owners of the horses in races 11 and 12 – left after race 10.) Race 10 ended at 6:15 – we were back at the hotel at 8pm for a solid 11 hours of horses, sun, 100,000 people, and lots of food and alcohol everywhere. Someone told me $1 billion traded hands yesterday – wow.

The entire spectrum of America was there. Everything – you describe it – we could have found it. I’d never been to a horse track before so now I know more then I really want to about automated “wagering” machines, how odds pay out, what an “obstruction” is (my horse won race 4 but ended up showing because he bumped the horse that placed – but because I had bet my horse to show or better, I still got my payout.)

You get the picture – lots of details that were – before yesterday – completely foreign to me. Amy – along with 25,000 other women – had these incredible hats on – and the horses were – BIG.

I’m still scared of horses, but I can notch off another unique life experience. The Indy 500 is next. And yes – I was down for the day.