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Mint Juleps, Fancy Hats, and . . . Mud! May 2, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies.
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HorseracingWe’d been invited to a Kentucky Derby party and promised Mint Juleps ~ a drink I learned to love at the King’s Arm Tavern in Williamsburg Virginia.

After accepting the invitation, I ran across an article about the dangers inherent in thoroughbred racing, The Dark Side of the Kentucky Derby, which made me question whether I wanted to watch the race.

The Mint Juleps won out and I headed to the party sporting my Kentucky Derby “derby” ~ a broad-rimmed straw hat banded with palm trees.

On arrival, I glanced at the TV and gasped in horror at the soggy conditions on the track ~ the sea of mud looked like a disaster waiting to happen.

220px-Horse_and_ManFrom Seabiscuit, I recalled that wet tracks can be lethal to animals racing around them full tilt.

Until post time, I kept hoping the race would be scrubbed or postponed. My hopes were not to be realized.

Waiting for the race, I tossed back a few Juleps, garnished with mint sprigs, and relaxed.  Such is the calming effect of Kentucky Bourbon.

The alcohol worked its magic until the horses began sloshing through the mud on the way to the starting gate when my heart lodged in my throat, blocking passage of further Mint Juleps.

And then the race started.

As the horses raced around the challenging course, splattering the jockeys with mud, I sat immobile, eyes glued to the track, holding my breath while chanting, “please don’t slip, please don’t fall,” to each of the horses racing around the slippery track through dangerous ankle-deep mud.

I’m glad the Kentucky Derby is a shorter race than, say, the Indianapolis 500.   And delighted to report that all horses survived the messy ordeal.

Aah . . . that’s better!