Sunday, May 04, 2014

Keeneland Is Decadent and Depraved

I picked Dance With Fate to win the Derby yesterday. Alas, California Chrome won the roses.

I'm terrible at picking horses it turns out, along with everybody else. 

A few weeks ago at Keeneland we picked all horses with cat-inspired names, and they didn't fare well either.

Emotional Kitten, Kitten's Point, Bad Ass Cat... all failures. And they cost us a small fortune.* Maybe next year we'll change our strategy from cat-named horses to horses that actually have good odds.

The last two years Ray and I have gone to Keeneland on a chartered bus filled with friends, friends of friends, complete strangers, beer and Jell-O shots. Last year, our friends got engaged on the bus.

Obviously, our crowd is less about horse racing and more about having a good time. But I never drink because I'm reluctant to have to pee 40 times on a bathroom bus. And this year, someone accidentally dropped the hand sanitizer into the toilet. So there's also the possibility of not being able to clean your hands. 

But anyway, I go to Keeneland to watch the real beasts perform, which is to say, people watch.

Drunk college kids decked out in their J. Crew seersucker suits and sunburns. Women in pressed dresses, giant hats and heels (the brave ones wear stilettos, the realists wear wedges), their husbands in navy jackets. The moneyed owners and hangers-on. The genuine gamblers with their crazy hair, cigars and studied knowledge of the horses and the drugs they're on.

How the good people of the Commonwealth tolerate this influx of characters each April and October is beyond me.

One of the natives was an older woman, probably in her mid-60s, who took our hotdog order like she was happy to see us. She was sweet and southern and her wiglet ponytail matched her real hair almost perfectly. 

'Look, Ray. That woman has a wiglet. It's just like Madonna on the Blonde Ambition Tour.'

That's when I had to explain to Ray what a wiglet is.

'They're like wigs, only smaller.'

The good thing about Keeneland is you actually see horses. I went to the Kentucky Derby twice and I didn't see a single horse. The Mint Juleps could have been to blame the first year, but not the second. (I still won't go near a Mint Julep.) 

Next year we've decided we're getting grandstand seats. And maybe we'll study up on odds, breeds and jockeys. Or we'll just take our $2 to a betting window where some kind woman or man won't flinch when we bet on cat names again.

*And by small fortune, I mean we could have bought a few more hotdogs and a couple of beers with that money.