Today’s the day! This is what we’ve been waiting for, or so we’ve been told. This is why an onslaught of landscape companies has been mowing interstate medians at ludicrous speed. This is why news features focused on whether or not ice storm debris from February would be picked up in time. This is the reason why celebrities from all 3 major food groups (television, film, and sports) will descend on this little town that only exists because of a huge chunk of fossil in the river. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, today, the first Saturday in May, is the day when roughly 20 thoroughbreds will flirt with death along a likely muddy track for roughly two minutes to appease a nation of partygoers, most of whom won’t know who won until tomorrow.
You’d think I didn’t love the Kentucky Derby. Truth is, I’ve never even been to the Derby. I’ve seen it several times on television and there are few things that make me tear up more than hearing that Stephen Foster classic “My Old Kentucky Home” played by the University of Louisville Marching Band as an entire grandstand of people sings along beneath those classic twin spires. Still, I’ve never had the desire to go to the Derby. I’m not a huge horseracing fan. I much prefer baseball as my sport. Very rarely does the winner of the World Series have to be euthanized on the pitcher’s mound following the game. I think it’s a little silly that this town does everything in its power to manicure and powder the landscape to make it seem as though we worry about this sort of thing all the time. Let it be known that the medians are mown once before Derby and then maybe once or twice more just to keep the snake population from invading the urban populace.
Yet, it’s a decent reason to party. I, myself, am attending a party this afternoon to celebrate the 135th running of the Kentucky Derby. I would imagine I’ll be pleasantly buzzed by the time the call to post is bugled and I even have a pick (Dunkirk), though I should warn you that I’ve chosen exactly two winners since Genuine Risk in the 1980 Kentucky Derby. And, when the two minutes is up, we’ll all go back to our lawn chairs and wait for next year. It’s fun, I suppose.
See you in the funny papers!