by Cyrus Rahimi
Today was nothing like I had ever seen at the track. Big hats, men in blazers with cigars, more steelers gear, and ESPN radio. The atmosphere was addictive, I stayed almost 4 hours today taking in the sights and smells of Derby Day. After every race and before it was madness in the wager lines, people yelling at the casual gamblers to hurry with their picks, the regulars cursing in frustration when they lost, truly a special experience. I tried to walk around and take everything in, the ladies with big hats, and men slugging their beverages and the bachelor parties parading around talking to the girls in hats.
I started by betting the 3 horse in race 9 to win, place and show which I won! I then didn’t wager until race 13, I took Guantanamo Bay to place and also won that bet! Today was not about wagering for me though, it was about the experience – the place was electric and got better as the Derby drew closer. The highlight of my time at the track came after race 13, a chance to ride with a driver. I was assigned to ride with Tony Hall, a great driver and a great guy. He was very friendly in explaining to nuances of racing to me. As we got started I could feel magic, we took a warm up lap and were met by the pace car. Off we went, drafting on the lead horse until the last turn where Tony kicked it up and won for a photo finish.
What a day, what an adrenaline rush, this is what the track should be, a fun time for parents and kids alike, fun for the whole family and time to be together and enjoy a beautiful sport.