Monday, May 19, 2008

Big Hats, Big Brown, Big Weekend

The Preakness! What an event! We just had an amazing weekend. My husband's college roommate, Billy, invited us to Baltimore for the Preakness. We arrived Friday afternoon, checked into the Renaissance and went straight to Billy's house for a get-together. Most of his family was there and they adopted us right into the mix. His house was just blocks away from the center of downtown and it was beautiful. We walked to a little neighborhood Italian restaurant for dinner and laughed and talked and ate for hours. Billy comes from a large Irish Catholic family and there are some characters! There was never a dull moment and the stories got better as the night wore on.

The next morning we dressed in our Preakness best and went to Billy's to meet everyone for breakfast. At around 10:00am a big charter bus arrived to take us to the races. I don't know what I expected but it was so much more than I could have imagined. We were in a huge tent in the infield. There were big bands playing, food and drinks galore, and big beautiful hats everywhere. There was a race about every 45 minutes so we would look over the program, discuss with everyone who they were picking for the race, choose a horse, and then place a bet. This is me placing my big bets! Nothing but a couple of bucks mind you but it was so much fun! Then we would look around and eventually wander up to the fence to watch the race. It was amazing how close we were. For the races on the turf we were literally 10 feet away from the horses as they ran by. The view of the grandstands was sight to see and nearby, ESPN was broadcasting from their tent.

The most exciting moment of the day, besides the Preakness race with Big Brown, was race 10. I had bet $5 on the number 5 horse to win. Now, there was no real method to my madness. I chose based on the names, the silks the jockeys wore, or the number. We were standing at the gate as the horses went by and sure enough, number 5, Pays To Dream, was in dead last. This is a picture of them as they went by. My horse is the one in the back of course.I just looked at Jeff and said, "Oh well, I'm not very good at this." Well, as the horses raced on, we couldn't see them because the track is huge. We tried looking at the big screens but there were enough people by then that we couldn't see what was happening. We watched for the finish as we heard people yelling, "Here they come! Here they come!" Would you believe that horse number 5 won! It was a 19-1 long shot so we won $101! Here I am with my winning ticket!
Finally, the big race was about to start. It was really a sight to see Big Brown and all the horses coming out onto the track. Big Brown ran in 3rd for most of the race and then blew everyone away at the last turn. I guess he's well on his way to being the first triple crown winner in 30 years. We met some fascinating people and felt like VIP's thanks to Billy and his generosity. It will be hard to top, that's for sure. I hope he invites us back next year!


Susan said...

What fun!! Congratulations on your big win! :)

Amy Lafayett said...

Sounds like tons of fun. You looked great with your hat! The pics were great too. I can't believe how close you were to the race track itself.

Montee said...

Y'all look just gorgeous in your racing finery! I know that was so much fun. I used to attend the Camden Steeplechase Races in Camden, SC and it was such fun. People would set up in the infield with long tables of food and drink (lots of drink) and candlelabras. Kind of fancy. The horses are just beautiful animals. I was watching The Preakness on TV and was so excited to see Big Brown win. I hope he gets that Triple Crown. It sounds like Y'all had a wonderful weekend. Oh, tell Jeff nice flower and ask him why he didn't pull out that old plaid blazer for such a special event. Seriously though, Y'all looked spectacular in your race attire and I love the hat!

Anonymous said...

What a fairy tale event! I know you had so much fun, and you looked great!