Dreaming of Keeneland

I absolutely have a bad taste in my mouth for fans who talk the talk, but when it comes to plunking down the big bread to see the stars. They can’t be found with a search warrant. At 12:00 pm today, you were able to jump on the Breeders’ Cup site and purchase tickets. How simple is that? I don’t see the problem, and yet the truest fans in the game who proclaim loyalty won’t be heading to Lexington, Kentucky. As the late-great Paul Harvey would say, “And now for the rest of the story.”

As you read my words, know you’ve met few fans of my devotion. Now, that doesn’t make me the best handicapper, the crowned king of racing, or even fan of the day. I started going with my Dad and Grandpa, and watched with baited breath to place a $2 show ticket once in awhile. I saved my lunch money in high school, and would jog home to eat a snack when kids were allowed to go home for lunch. My Dad would give me $20 a week to play with the local bookmaker ( who was 75-yrs-old) and all I had to was stay out of trouble, make decent grades, and not get involved with the bad things kids find attractive. Most of my first dates went to the races with me; I met my current girlfriend at the races, and the great majority of my friends come from the track. I know there are plenty of big players, crazy racing action fans, and the folks who love to dress up and do Keeneland. This guy is a blue-collar lover of the sport. I watch racing from around the world at all times of the day, and sometimes never make a bet. It has been in my blood since I was a youngster, and it will be until I see my last post parade. But then, I’ll get to see the best of the best run daily at Pearly Gate Downs. Yeah, it’s fair to say I love the races.

So why the long winded pitch about loving the game? You can count me as one of the two-faced-lily-liver-back sliders who won’t be paying the over-the-top prices for a ticket. Keeneland should be the perfect place, and you can bet they’ll put on a top-notch show. Imagine my surprise when I dug up the price list and saw $350 for Saturday in the Bourbon Lounge with no seat! Yep, you better get there early and dive on one. I thought about going to the Saddling Paddock Chalet and paying $1,225 to watch the runners circle and saddle in the most beautiful paddock in the world. But just as I was about to push the “pay here” button, I snapped back to my senses and felt the $1,225 would be better spent ordering my E-Z Win Forms and loading up my betting account. I will have first-class accommodations on my over-stuffed couch,  a bathroom 15 feet away, and the coldest beer in town in my fridge. A luncheon will be provided by Salvador’s pizza, and I can watch the U.K. football game that will be taking place five miles down the road as 50,000 fans pile in to watch the Tennessee Volunteers come to Lexington. I won’t even hit the traffic from the World Equestrian Games from the Kentucky Horse Park three miles away. Oh, and don’t forget you can catch the Red Mile Grand Circuit at the historic red-clay oval just two miles from Keeneland.

I’ve waited forever and a day to see the BC at Keeneland. The admission gates are 75 miles from my door, and I’ve flown to New York and California to watch the best. The odds would have me at (3-5) to be basking in the Keeneland glory on Breeders’ Cup Day, but this player has officially scratched 239 days before the first race. I would love to be there even with all the bitching and complaining. It is just a bit out of my comfort zone for price, and even at $60 for the general admission it is a bit much. I guess I’ll be on my couch watching, but I think you’ll know where my heart is on that day.