Friday, April 29, 2016

A Day at the Races

Today was all about playing the ponies. We got to the Keeneland Spring Meet at about noon today and immediately started studying the racing form. Jen's friend Anita had come over from Louisville with tickets for all of us to the clubhouse (dress code: fancy, waiter service), and another friend, Misha had come down from Cincinnati, and the four of us promptly ordered cocktails, then lunch, then started placing bets.
All this info on every horse for every race - but it's the
horse's name that tells you if you're going to win!
I've never been much of a gambler. A casino has no allure for me, but there is something about looking at the list of horses and seeing if a name jumps out as a winner -- I lost money on Fear the Kitten, but how could I not bet on that? There's also other important information, like the jockey's name, the color he or she is wearing, where the horse is from, and the color of the number the horse is wearing; those are the factors I used to determine who was running fast today. At first, I was placing $2 bets to show, and I had some beginners luck and won a few bucks, then I got a little bolder and started placing $5 bets to win, and lost a few. We missed the first race but bet on the next 7, and then came race number 9, the last one of the day, and the racing form showed a horse named Prince Gagarin which I decided to bet on in honor of the late, great, musical genius the world just lost, Prince Rogers Nelson. When Anita noticed that the horse's color for the race was purple, that sealed it -- we were all betting on Prince Gagarin for Prince. I put $5 on him to win, he ran his little heart out, all four of us were screaming for him... and HE WON!!

The races are way more exciting when there's money on the line, and since I have no idea how the odds work or what my payout was going to be, and since my previous wins had paid out a couple of bucks each, I was pretty thrilled with the 30-bucks the guy at the window handed me when I turned in my ticket, which I think was about as much as I spent on betting today, so I broke even. Okay, I spent about $70 on lunch and cocktails but whatevs, that hardly counts.
A "turf race" - inside track on grass.
Prince Gagarin before the race.
Wherever there is horse-racing, there will be ladies in hats. 
The general admission area (so the riff-raff have a place to go) and grandstand
(step above but not as nice as where we were).