Thursday, September 18, 2014

My 2014 Kentucky Derby report- Volume 1- Thursday and Oaks Day

We had a fabulous time at the Kentucky Oaks and Derby this year! I apologize for the extremely lengthy delay in a trip report.

We rolled into Louisville on Thursday evening and checked into our hotel. Actually, I should say we rolled into Jeffersonville, Indiana because that's where our hotel was. We were early for our reservations at the Exchange Pub and Kitchen in New Albany, IN. We both ordered the steak frites. It was good but it came with an excess amount of fries. And when I asked our waiter who he liked in the Derby, he said he had no idea. Come on, people! It's Derby weekend! Get with the program!

After that we headed to New Albanian Brewery's Bank Street location for a couple of beers. I noticed a woman come in wearing an NBC Sochi jacket and soon after, she was joined by a couple guys and one was wearing an NBC London Olympics jacket. Long story short, they were a group of sound people who worked for NBC. It was so interesting to talk to them! One guy had been in Sochi for two months. Another one was from St. Louis. They were a very interesting group and I had a ball talking to them.

Friday morning arrived. We had a hearty but not very healthy breakfast at Bob Evans and headed to the track.We parked at Papa John's Stadium and walked over.

Our seats were in the second floor grandstand and WOW- I was so impressed with the new grandstand terrace! Gone is the old "scary, leaky basement" atmosphere of the first floor grandstand. There was so much covered space that even if it rained, it would be OK. The second floor was even better! They added a lovely section with planters, benches, and tables. It was so nice! And the bathrooms. The bathrooms! I waited in line once that day to use a real, porcelain toilet! No more ridiculous lines or port-o-potties! Kudos, Churchill Downs! Well done!

 View from our seats early in the day

Our seats were fantastic. They were in the first row of section 223 so we had a great view of the track.
I cashed a few tickets throughout the day, probably gained $20 or so. I gave up on exactas and daily doubles after a while because I was just throwing money away. So I started doing small win/place/show bets. I didn't win a whole lot but I didn't lose a whole lot either! And even cashing a ticket that gains you $4 is exciting. 

Speaking of exciting, the most exciting part of the day was when they started loading the horses in the starting gate for the Oaks. First of all, they did it right in front of our seats! Then Empress of Midway decided she didn't want to race and ended up almost upside down in the starting gate. That was intense. I have no idea how they got the horse upright in that tight space but they did and she was scratched. Then another horse bucked off her jockey! It was the first time I've ever had such a close up view of the starting gate and, wow, that was exciting.

 Empress of Midway decides, "Nope. I'm not racing today."

That night we went to Feast in New Albany for dinner. It was outstanding! Very laidback place,  lots of dark wood, fantastic food. Then it was time for a little TV and rest up for the BIG DAY. 

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