Gosh, I can't believe the last posting was April 27. It tells you where my mind was. It was on the upcoming Kentucky Derby. The Churchill Downs Event is always on the first Saturday in May . . . it has to be one of the greatest thoroughbread horse races in the world that is known as The Sport of Kings.
It is easy to see why it is called that as you mill around the beautiful fashionable women in high heels all sporting big fancy hats and lots of gentlemen showing off their white panama summer three-piece suits and just as many seer suckers and expensive sporty straw hats and puffing havanas all lined up at the 50 and 100 dollar windows . . . those lines are quite a few lines away from the two-dollar window where I was hanging around . . .
The only tip I got was from a friendly tout, A Ronald Reagan look-alike with a thin mustache wearing a brown checkered tweed sport coat and green striped pants with shifty eyes, ( THIS WAS AT ABOUT AT 11AM ) . We had bumped into each other at the Mint Julep stand. He said, ( Out of the blue ), "Hey, there is a horse named ' Atta boy Roy ' . . . bet him . . . I know what I'm talkin' about . . . " that's all I needed . . . with a name like that, I HAD to bet it ! I raced to the nearest window . . . " Atta-Boy-Roy ", That's all I kept repeating til I got in front of the man with that ticket machine ! . . I put $20.00 on him to win . . .You won't believe it, the horse went off at 20 to 1 . . . . the son-of-a-bitch didn't cross the finish line till half-past-three !
The race track officials called him a 'mudder' . . . That's what I called him when he took my money !
I went to the races with a couple of my best old childhood friends, JIM NIETO, I successful founder and President of the well-known Qualified Mechanical of Tucson AZ and RUSS DAVIS of Lexington KY, a childhood friend from the third grade in Tucson. He sold his successful independent insurance company to AAA auto club and shows up on some days of the week at his office. . . about 10 am for a few hours to take care of his old customers, etc. All three of us were from the Tucson High Class of '53.
We went to the event with a University of Arizona Alumni club group which goes every year . . it was Russell Davis' and Jim Nieto's second time . . . it was my first, but not probably my last, that, I can promise you. ( If I can only find a white pin stripe three-piece seersucker suit that fits, for next year ! )
Someone once told me, " You only go through life ONCE, but if you do it right . . . ONCE is enough ! " . . . I like that.
( The Hell with reincarnation ) I don't need two chances !
This event will be one of the highlights of my life. What a week ! Returned on Monday night about 8 pm . . . almost 3 hrs. late after failing to exit Interstate 79 at the Elkins exit and kept driving almost all the way to Fairmont, WV . . . about 30 plus exits past the one I was supposed to exit on .
I guess I was distracted reliving all the good times I'd experienced in the last 72 hours ! Man, it doesn't get any better than this . . . you can't make this stuff up. We sat next to a beautiful set of three ladies . . . The one next to me was a spittin' image of Vivian Leigh ( Blanche DuBoise ) in ' A Streetcar named Desire ' ( Seriously ). I say that as a compliment . . . the beautiful woman won an Academy Award !
She looked the part . . acted the part ! And I'm there after about a dozen mint juleps, slurring my speech . . . doing a Marlon Brando monolog from a different movie, ' On The Waterfront ' . . . " I coulda had class, I coulda been a contender . . . I coulda been somebody . . . It was YOU, Charlie, you were my big brother, you shoulda watched out for me, it was you . . . His brother, Rod Steiger turns around in the back of the cab and reminds Terry Malloy ( Marlon Brando ), " You saw some money, boy . . . "
Terry Malloy ( Marlon ) says, " You don't understand . . Remember that night you came into my dressing room in the Garden and said: " This ain't your night, we're going for the price on Wilson . . " . . . " This ain't my night ?, I coulda taken Wilson apart . . after the third round we were just dancin' . . . I was holding him up . . . what does HE get ? . . . he gets a title-shot in the ball park . . what do I get ? A one way ticket to Palookaville ! . . . It was YOU. Charlie . . "
What a week.
I promise to have a few photos of the event in a few days once I unwind.
This is Walter Cronkite, and THAT'S THE WAY IT IS ! ( At least that's my story and I'm sticking to it )