The Kentucky Derby - May 2000

Picture of julep What is a Kentucky Derby without a Mint Julep? We don't know, because we've never experienced that. Here's Melanie at her first Kentucky Derby with her 3rd Julep of the day. For the uninformed a Julep really only barely qualifies as a mixed drink - the mix in this case being a teaspoon of sugar and a stalk of mint leaves. The alcohol is Kentucky Bourbon, of course. These suckers go for $6.50 apiece but you do get a nifty souvenir glass.

Picture of melanie Here's Melanie, her hat, and a token spire. Despite this being her first Derby, she jumped whole-heartedly into the hat fanfare decorating hers with roses, black-eyed susans, and white carnations to represent the three triple crown races. For good measure there were some horses on there as well (close-up farther down this page). The glue-gun even got to make the trip to Louisville with us.

Picture of david David and his hat. I feel the need to personalize my hat to the specific year and the horse that I happen to be cheering for. This has the added boldness of informing the entire universe on your picks for the big race and thus can lead to unheralded gloating after the race, or more likely, eternal shame. In previous years using this approach I had never done worse than 4th and thus had avoided the shame bit. This year, well 'The Deputy' sort of underperformed. But at least I still had a cool hat.

Picture of grandstand Many people envision women in fancy dresses and elaborate flowered hats when they think of the Kentucky Derby. Men in suits, Arabian princes, movie stars and so on. This is what is known of as the 'other side of the track'. You don't see much about the infield of Churchill Downs during TV coverage, even though there are a lot more people there. The main reason of course is FCC regulations. Just about everything possible happens somewhere in the infield and most of it is not suitable for general TV viewing. Certainly not live television. This is the infield in mid-afternoon and a relatively calm section. We could just as well have taken a picture of the co-ed naked mud wrestling happening immediately to the right of this scene but we didn't. Go see it for yourself - but don't get too close unless you want to get involved.

Picture of blimps Far above the nudity, gambling, drinking, sex, and occassional violence that you might not associate with the so-called 'bible belt', were three blimps, four helicopters, and countless airplanes towing banners that said things like "Jen, will you marry me? - Joe". Personally, I wonder how many Joes were alarmed to see such a generic banner. The race itself may well be the most exciting 2 minutes in sport as it is billed. There was a singing of 'My Old Kentucky Home' which we mostly seem to have missed, the post parade, and of course the exciting part. I suppose I should mention that Fusaichi Pegasus won, and that Melanie hit the exacta for a substantial sum of money which was almost (but not quite) more than she bet. Me -- well, you saw the hat.

Picture of postmortem If you didn't, here it is again. These were our 4th juleps, respectively, making for a nice set of glassware in the end.

Picture of wyandotte The next day we visited Wyandotte Caves in southern Indiana which is really an impressive place. Well, actually it's just another cave system, but the more advanced tours they offer are really impressive. We spent about 5 hours in here crawling through several inches of dust. Often in sections which were barely larger than our heads. Like this one for instance. We emerged monochrome and very thirsty. If you go, take water. It says 'no food or drink in cave' but they're lying.

Picture of tx_program


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