"Life isn't about finding yourself, it's about creating yourself."

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Derby Day!

Today is the 134th running of the Kentucly Derby so I'd like to share images related to that, for Sharing the Wealth day. I have missed very few Derbys in my almost 50 years & w/ the advent of DVR, I'll never miss another one. I tear up at the end of nearly every race...I don't know why I get so emotional over them but I do. Maybe because, as a child, I spent many races sitting in my grandfather Colonel's lap, while he sat in his old, tattered leather chair...we both enjoyed the races so much. *dabbing a tear away as I type* But a good racehorse is one of the world's greatest athletes....to see a horse have the same drive to win as man, just swells my heart. I know that dogs race too but they (much as I love dogs!) do it because they are trying to catch some rabbit that's running around the track. Horses ( a good racehorse anyhow) do it because they love to run & they want to win...they do it for the same reason people do it. That's awesome!

This is a photo of the racetrack in 1934 (click on image to enlarge)

One of these days, I'm going to be sitting in that crowd, wearing some huge, fou-fou hat & sipping on a mint julep... so help me, I am! But not this year...this year, I'll be watching it w/ my grandson Caeden (I may or may not be able to talk him into sitting in my lap...he's funny that way! LOL) but by golly, I'll have a mint julep in my hand & some goofy hat on my head. ;o)

This is an old postcard. Love this one! It's an old program from 1941!

For all you race fans out there, here's a wonderful (gave me chills!) video of the industry's two greatest icons, Man O War & Secretariat. There are other videos in the sidebar of this one (just click on menu in the frame of the video)....of other racehorses & some actual races from long, long ago. There's even one of Man O War racing Sir Barton! I spent most of an afternoon watching all those old reels of race legends I had only read about. I did get to see Secretariat race though. I was 12 that year & watched all 3 Triple Crown races w/ Colonel..... he was rooting for Secretariat & I was rooting for Sham (he came in second in the Derby & Preakness then finished last in the Belmont.... he tried so hard to keep up w/ Secretariat that when he failed, he never raced again). Colonel always was a better judge of horseflesh than I was! But as great a racehorse as Secretariat was, I think, I may still hold a childhood resentment for the legend that broke my favorite's heart. I'm funny that way. ;o) The Belmont that year was the last horse race we watched together. I was busy being a teenager the next year & he died the following. I had some good times watching horse races w/ my grandfather...I hope my grandkids' memories of watching horseracing w/ me, bring them as fond of memories, as I have w/ Colonel. I loved him very much & I think of him often. Even after all these years.

Here's the recipe for mint julep that I use....

Mint Julep

2 fluid ounces Whisky
1 tablespoon simple syrup (I use at least double that)
Mint sprigs
Crushed ice

Simple Syrup:
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 bunch fresh mint sprigs

Crush a few mint leaves in the bottom of an 8-oz. glass, then fill with crushed ice. Add one tablespoon of simple syrup and one tablespoon of water. Add 2 ounces of a good Kentucky whiskey. Stir gently until glass frosts. Garnish with a fresh mint sprig, sip and enjoy.
Simple syrup directions: Combine sugar and water. Boil for 5 minutes without stirring. Pour mix over a handful of mint leaves, and gently crush the mint with a spoon. Refrigerate overnight in a closed jar. Remove mint leaves, but continue to refrigerate. Stays fresh for several weeks.

I also like to sprinkle mine w/ a bit of powdered sugar....it looks good & adds more sweetness.

I'm looking forward to the race today....may the best horse win!

Update: I not only teared up after the Derby yesterday...I was bawling! Poor 8 Belles! Being the feminist that I am...I was, of course, rooting for her. I remember how excited I was when Winning Colors won the Derby, 20 years ago & was hoping for a repeater. Belle made her gender proud...she came in second but collapsed after the race, broke both her front ankles & had to be put down. It sooo reminded me of seeing Ruffian go down (I saw the match race w/ Foolish Pleasure in 1975) & I can't tell you the impact it had on me. I'm still haunted by it. When Barbaro broke his leg in teh Preakness 2 years ago, I had DVRed but not yet watched the race. When I heard the news of Barbaro's break-down, I just deleted it w/out watching it....to spare myslef the sorrow. I almost wish I hadn't seen yesterday's race either. :o(


HoneyB said...

Vinty I love reading your blog and the photos are great to see! I have never had a mint julip but I believe I should try one!

MARIA said...


GrannyLooHoo said...

Vinty, I was crying too when I heard about 8 Belles. This could be a newspaper column--it's a wonderful post!