Sunday, May 07, 2006


Having lived in Louisville nearly all my life, the Kentucky Derby and the festivities that go along with it are just a normal part of life for me. The first week in May means Derby week, just like December 25th means Christmas.

And of course, just because I’ve lived here all my life doesn’t mean that I really know a lot about the Derby. I went to my first Derby in 1974, for the 100th running. Picnicked in the infield with thousands and thousands of other people, some dressed, a few not. The infield is a little tamer now, only because Churchill Downs has added a turf track, which took up part of the room, allowing less people to get drunk, sunburned or show their t*ts.

I remember the names of some past Derby winners…Funny Cide, Smarty Jones, Genuine Risk, a filly, by the way, and of course Secretariat. Before last years Derby, probably the only horse I could place with the correct year was Secretariat, who won in 1973. After a while the names just become a blur, and since I’m neither a (thoroughbred) horse person, NOR a gambler, there’s nothing that would make me remember these details.

Many of you who read this blog know that all that changed last year, when Giacomo won the 131st running of the Kentucky Derby and paid $50-1…or was it only $49-1? Whatever….a pretty good payoff for a $2 bet… (I don’t want to re-hash the story, but if you’re interested you can check out the postings for May 2005 in the column to the right.)

So, this year we arrived in Louisville and I took a look at the Derby nominees. I’m certainly not going to handicap to find my horse, but if a name jumps out at me I might take a chance. Once when I was at Keenland while Art was working, I saw one of the horses take a HUGE dump just as they were being walked onto the track. I knew immediately that we should bet on that horse since he was bound to feel sooooo much better. We did bet on him and he did win, paying off rather handsomely as I recall. Knowing that the favorite NEVER wins the Kentucky Derby, sometimes the unscientific methods are better than handicapping!

When I saw the horse named Barbaro, I knew that was my horse. My logic was that the name was the Italian equivalent of Barbara, and that was good enough for me. Plus I didn’t have to worry about gathering information on the entire twenty horse field…quite a staggering task, especially with so many “good” horses running. This would really be a Derby that had lots of potential winners.

Art bought my ticket for Barbaro on Friday….just a simple $2 to win and $2 to place ticket. On Derby Day he bet a few more bucks on Barbaro, and also bet on the horse that finished second. We came out winners, but of course not quite as grandly as we would have last year……..

And I wonder…did anybody see whether Barbaro “unloaded” just before race time?


At 5/17/2006 08:05:00 AM , Blogger 2italy2 said...

Barb and Art,

I would like to ask you a favor. If you go to Cantine Aperte, the last Sunday in May, could you please pick me up a brochure of the Cantine Aperte activities in Umbria? It's a small foldout. I would greatly appreciate it. You can read about Cantine Aperte in my blog, Info about Cantine Aperte (27 - 28 May) in Italy,

You can compare notes and memories about Louisville with my wife, Martha. She is from there. We'll be attending the GTG in Greve in a couple weeks.

If I can answer any questions, please feel free to drop me a line.

Mille gazie and Ciao, Ben


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home