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At the Races


One of my special memories of my Dad was his love of horse racing. Dad taught me a few things about horse racing. Not so much about betting, I learned that well enough on my own, but an appreciation of the sportsmanship and the athleticism of jockeys along with the track politics of training and workouts. He was big on track superstition too, like when a horse breaks through the gate before the start, as Barbaro did at the 2006 Preakness, is sometimes a bad omen.


When I was a little girl, races were televised usually only during the Triple Crown season and I sat with Dad while we pretended we were the best armchair handicappers.


I was fortunate to have a horse racing experience that my Dad never imagined for himself.


In 2005 I got the opportunity to vicariously live the experience of the Triple Crown of horse racing through a gracious invitation to attend the Kentucky Derby with a group of folks affiliated with a horse named Afleet Alex. Afleet Alex lost the Derby but did go on to win the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes. We flew to Kentucky in a small charter jet, which was very, very cool. We were seated in leather rocker recliner seats, complete with seat belts. There was a small kitchen galley complete with a well stocked bar. I may never fly coach again.


We hung out at the prestigious Galt House Hotel where we rubbed elbows with celebrities and did a lot of people watching and star stalking.


Being at Churchill Downs is an awesome experience. There is a revered history of the place where the sport and horses are memorialized over the last 136 years. On Derby day watching the celebrities preen and pose for cameras and press was like being on the sidelines of the red carpet of the Oscars. And like Oscar night, there are many parties going on in all different locations that go on throughout the night.


There were down to earth moments too. We had to park a few blocks away from the park. It was sunny and hot that day, and some of the notable personalities had to hoof it just like us. I tripped on a curb and was saved from falling by a firm hand on my arm. It was the tanned and handsome NBA coach Pat Riley, making his way toward the park, just like us common folk.


After Dad died, my mother gave me his only cufflinks, a horseshoe with a horse set inside. I carried those cufflinks with me and Daddy got to be part of my Triple Crown experience.


I know I enjoyed the ride a little bit more with his cufflinks in pocket. I hope his spirit enjoyed the ride with me.

Date » 25 November, 2020    Copyright © 2020 by JoanneCostantino.com Login :
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