Do you remember going to the races? Papaw or Uncle Don would pick up a DRF the day before, and they would be studying at the kitchen table most of the night. You would check the weather, get up early, and off you would go! It was the whole process of talking about our plans, getting ready, and making that anticipated drive to the track. Things have changed a little these days, but every now and again we get to re-visit the past. This Thursday afternoon, I am making that special journey with my new handicapping friend.
For years you have read about my special relationship with my dad. We have been going to the races as early as I could walk. Most kids wanted to go and hangout at places they shouldn’t. I wanted to go to the track with my old man. He knew me pretty well, and showed me the beauty of a game we still share. But he is out of town, and I’ll turn to another fella’ who is pretty close to me. The weather looks perfect, we downloaded our E-Z Win Forms, and we’ll leave early enough to find a parking spot. It is his fall break, and my 13-year-old son Gus will be joining me for a day at Keeneland.
He has made a few trips with me in the past. I believe it holds at four to be exact. The first trips were a race or two at River Downs. We ate ice cream in the hot sun, and watched cheap claimers thunder past us along the rail. When he started yelling for his horse to “get moving” and make a run. I knew he would enjoy the game. We made a trip out to Turfway Park, and met a good friend of mine Steve Caldwell. Gus behaved like a young man, and loved to talk to the people. I guess he gets that honestly, and it makes for an interesting day. It was even better when we turned the day into a winner, and he went home with some cash.” Money won is twice as sweet as money earned.”
We’ll leave early and grab some breakfast. We’ll talk about school, girls, and eventually discuss how much money we’ll win. But the best part is the drive – making that trek down I-75 is magical this time of year. The foliage is starting to show the golden-brown beauty that is pure Kentucky. With the sunroof open, we’ll be the kings of all creation as we’ll have the stereo up and sunglasses on. My son will make the journey I have been on a thousand times before. I hope it is the first of many more to come. We have other plans for his week off from school. But this is on my mind. I am getting to do something with my son that my dad and I did a million times. Things have a way of coming around. Just when we thought going to the races has fallen by the wayside, an opportunity to bask in the glow of the sun with Gus sounds perfect. Wish us luck…