April 5, 2013
Granny and I arrived in Kentucky yesterday for a four day visit with good friends John and Betty Reesor. The Reesors were once customers of mine at the fly shop in Jackson Hole but have turned into great friends. This visit to Kentucky is one we’ve been trying to schedule for a few years and finally things lined up perfectly.
You’ve probably noticed by now we “Curriers” are trying to do everything at least once in our lives. The new experience this trip was to the famous Keeneland Horse Track. Keeneland, considered as one of the top places for horse racing, has two horse racing seasons, spring and fall. The exciting spring session kicked off today.
The Reesors hosted us to a first class tour of the famed horse racing event. It began with a limo to handle our transportation for the day. Next, rather than file into the average grandstand seats, John and Betty set us up in the Phoenix Room. The Phoenix Room gave us our own private area for the day, all the excellent food you could eat and easy access to an un-crowded bar and horse betting stalls. Best of all, we could watch any of today’s ten horse races from anywhere we chose including a balcony overlooking the entire track.
Our day was no less than incredible and Granny and I became horse racing fans. Naturally we’ve seen a Kentucky Derby on TV a few times and the wild race looks cool. But like any major sporting event, see it live and it absolutely blows your mind. Speeding horses are a hundred times more thrilling than expected!
Each of today’s ten races was slightly different. The finish line is forever in front of the stands; however the starting point always varies in order to change the lengths of each race. The first race started on the far side of the track. Those seated down low couldn’t even see the start other than on the big screen. We however could see the horses lined up nearly a mile away. They announce the start and the horses take off. It’s dead silent. All you see are the horses moving in the distance at mock speed ahead of a trail of dust. I could not believe how fast these horses ran. Less than a minute later they approach the finish line. The crowd roars and even louder than the roar of the crowd comes the sound of galloping horses and flying dirt. Then the horses and their colorful jockeys explode across the finish line in a cloud of dust.
After Granny and I got the hang of things we threw down some bets. The odds for each horse and jockey are both posted in the Keeneland program booklet and on the big screen between every race. Those who are serious study in advance and I’m sure there are some huge bets going on behind the scenes. I bet $5 on a less than average horse named Laugh Track to win Race 8. He won! Our $5 bet turned into $87!
We ended our unbelievable day by getting treated to dinner by the Reesors at Dudley’s in downtown Lexington. This place was tops and not only did I indulge on a seared tuna but I got to sample some fine local microbrews. Tomorrow will require a little time to recover.