You know what has me hyped this week? The thought of letting it all hang out in a bikini in one month? Ah...nnoooo. Let's not think about that right yet. Exposing your baby's skin soft feet to your summer shoes? Uh...holy blisters, Batman. True, my beach house summer begins in just over three weeks. I should be excited about that. Instead I am just stressed about getting my ass in gear. So my power walks are going to turn into runs now. So, no, the approaching summer at the beach isn't the source of my excitement just yet.
Oh no. It's something quite grand actually. The first weekend in May is almost upon us. The Run For The Roses. The galloping! The Derby! Yes, this time of the year "...the sun [does] shine bright in the old Kentucky home." The big hulking horsies. Little tiny wee jockeys. Mint juleps. Seersucker. Cash thrown all around. Giddy. Up.
Every year, I watch the race with one eye open. Lest one of the horsies collides and falls while they are hoofing it down the track. And for what? More oats in his breakfast than Mr. Ed down the stall? Every year, I think this is the time some horse is going to bite dust. And that would break my heart. I might give up the horse races altogether if I had to witness that. So one eye open. And one eye nudging my horse - or the horse in last place - to run a little faster. Run!
I also have a love-hate relationship with horses in general. I think they are beautiful creatures. Solid. Powerful. Silky. Ponytails. And big huge eyeballs that seem to know you, if you know what I mean. Almost creepy, like that painting in the Haunted Mansion with the eyeballs that follow you. Horses seem to watch and observe. So I have this fear of them at the same time. Growing up, my friend, Christy, lived on a ranch and they had lots of horses. I loved going over there. But I was always a little afraid of riding them. I wasn't very good at nudging them along. I was always like, "you take your time, little horsie. We will go when you are good and ready. I'm not pushing you. I am your friend." So I was often left out in pasture just hanging out with the horse. Because if I nudged him, then I might have been bucked off the horse like Valerie did one time. I am pretty sure that hurt. So the fear of the horse.
I love watching the horses. I like the steeplechase races.
I like hearing the horses. The cloppity-clop of their hooves.
I love researching their names. And tracing their lineage to see how the names evolve.
And then there is the game. I love betting on the race. And I'm pretty good at it (or lucky at it, rather.) I have guessed the winner in the past three years. So listen to me people when I say -Afleet Alex. I like him for some of the reasons I liked Smarty Jones last year. He doesn't come from "royal" pedigree. He has the human interest element as in he is not trained by one of the big guys, like Frankel or Zito. And he has a good heartstrings story. When he was a baby he was kept alive by being bottle-fed because his momma couldn't produce enough milk for him. And, finally, he is not a quitter. He raced his little heart out with a lung infection - and came back to win the Arkansas Derby. I'm telling you. Alex is a winner, y'all.
But you know what I just did? I jinxed it. So let me tell you about some other fabulous horses who could win.
Bandini - He bites! Really, he has bitten another horse (although he didn't take any ear with him). And he is a black horse. So, a beauty.
High Fly - Aww...he is pretty too.
Sun King - Because of his name. Psychedelic, dude.
Bellamy Road - Because he is the favored? But, eww, Steinbrenner's horse.
Wilko - Because...Wilco! Rock on.
Noble Causeway - He keeps getting better each race. The dark horse?
See? I'm pretty knowledgeable when it comes to picking the horses. Atleast I didn't pick based on jockey outfits. So listen to me. Or don't. But really? Back to why I'm hyped. Really? It's about the cocktail. My one time of the year to savor all that is minty lucious whiskiness. Giddy up indeed.
Factoid of the Day:
Over 80,000 Early Times Mint Juleps are served over the two-day period of the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby, requiring 8,000 liters of Early Times Mint Julep Ready-to-Serve Cocktail, 2,200 pounds of freshly harvested mint, and 80 tons of shaved ice. *
*From KentuckyDerby.com re. the Early Times Mint Julep recipe.