Mama's a CA Chromaniac

Mama has a brand new bag: she's a CA Chromaniac! In anticipation of the Belmont Stakes, Mom sent a packet of newspaper clipping of California Chrome along with a check and instructions to "Bet it to Win!"

 Racing Form in hand, Curtis lines up at the Betting Window

Racing Form in hand, Curtis lines up at the Betting Window

Truth is, Curtis & I started this latest of Mom's obsessions by attending Kentucky Derby weekend 2014.

Who knew, when we donned our fancy hats and duds that was the beginning of CA Chromania! 

 

So, as we await the running of the Belmont Stakes--and California Chrome's shot at the Triple Crown and diamond-crusted path to stud infamy--it seems fitting to recount highlights from our Derby 2014 Experience: 

 Look, Mom! I placed the bet!

Look, Mom! I placed the bet!

Since 1931, the order of Triple Crown races has been the Kentucky Derby first, followed by the Preakness Stakes, and then the Belmont Stakes. . .

To date, 289 horses have won a single leg of the Triple Crown, 52 horses have won two of the races, and 11 horses have won all three races. Pillory won both the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes in 1922, a year when it was impossible to win the Triple Crown because the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes were run on the same day.
— http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Triple_Crown_of_Thoroughbred_Racing
                  Mom's betting that after today's race, I'll be able to name another:   California Chrome  !

                Mom's betting that after today's race, I'll be able to name another: California Chrome!

 Joy decorated her "Roses" bathroom for Derby Weekend

Joy decorated her "Roses" bathroom for Derby Weekend

 

 

The Kentucky Derby is all about tradition. We were especially fortunate to be guided through our first Derby weekend experience by veterans, Joy & Donna, both Louisville natives whose Derby history stretches back 30 plus years.

 

 

 Michael led the way into Churchill Downs . . . 

Michael led the way into Churchill Downs . . . 

Note the gallon ziplock bags Michael is carrying!

There are rows of booths selling all manor of food on both race days, but locals traditionally bring in their own. Joy and Donna's specialty, and a Derby tradition: sandwiches with a cucumber-cream cheese spread called  Benedictine

 Donna stopped to pose with a a pair Pinked up for The Oaks--her personal tradition! The Oaks is run the Friday before the Derby. As Derby Day has attracted more "tourists" and become more expensive, locals prefer The Oaks. 

Donna stopped to pose with a a pair Pinked up for The Oaks--her personal tradition! The Oaks is run the Friday before the Derby. As Derby Day has attracted more "tourists" and become more expensive, locals prefer The Oaks. 

 Our  box for Derby Day was right at the finish line. 

Our  box for Derby Day was right at the finish line. 

 Tony Danza walking his horse, "Danza" to the starting gate. Danza ran 3rd in the Kentucky Derby (Tony Danza doens't own the horse, it's named after him.)

Tony Danza walking his horse, "Danza" to the starting gate. Danza ran 3rd in the Kentucky Derby (Tony Danza doens't own the horse, it's named after him.)

 Before races, attendees gather at the stables to check out the horses. 

Before races, attendees gather at the stables to check out the horses. 

"The Derby" is really 2 days of racing. The Oaks is held on Derby Friday; the Kentucky Derby on Saturday. “The Oaks,” so they say, has gained in popularity with locals as The Derby has become more commercial and more expensive. Too, “The Oaks” is a fundraising event, for Breast Cancer research and awareness and most folks dress in pink. 

 The Oaks is a charity race day to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer:  It is all about the hats, too. And most every one wears pink.  (I have pink on underneath my sweater, really (It was freezing at parts of the day)

The Oaks is a charity race day to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer:  It is all about the hats, too. And most every one wears pink.  (I have pink on underneath my sweater, really (It was freezing at parts of the day)

 Pink Lily is the traditional Oaks drink                           Mint Juleps are the traditional Derby drink

Pink Lily is the traditional Oaks drink                           Mint Juleps are the traditional Derby drink

A portion of the sale of each Pink Lily goes to charity: Bright Pink and Horses for Hope. We donated of course!

 No clue if/what Moet Chandon donated, but we supported that, too!

No clue if/what Moet Chandon donated, but we supported that, too!


 Let's hope the Cigar proceeds were donated, too!

Let's hope the Cigar proceeds were donated, too!

 Kentucky Derby day was bright--so we posed at the finish line between races. L-R: Michael, Aaron, Joy, Donna, Kelly & Curtis

Kentucky Derby day was bright--so we posed at the finish line between races. L-R: Michael, Aaron, Joy, Donna, Kelly & Curtis

It’s really Derby “week” with events including steamboat races, parades, parties, etc. culminating in two days of horse races. Those we all know of “The Derby,” locals favor Saturday’s event, “The Oaks.”

Here's Aaron with Lee. Tradition and convenience demands they always park at the same place: Ms. Lee's house.

Lee's made Derby Weekend a business. She turns her yard--front and back into a parking lot, and blocks off as many street spots as she can. 

She used to cook for both The Oaks and The Derby, but now Lee only cooks on Derby Day. Her specialty is greens, beans & ham. 

The Rule is:

No matter what, Meet back at Lee's!

 We met up at Lee's then walked the 2 blocks to Churchill Downs. L-R: Kelly, Joy, Donna, Eileen, Leah's friend & Leah (Donna's daughter)

We met up at Lee's then walked the 2 blocks to Churchill Downs. L-R: Kelly, Joy, Donna, Eileen, Leah's friend & Leah (Donna's daughter)

Almost time: At 6:52 EDST the Belmont Stakes starts. The horses are making their way to the starting gates. Mama's watching!

                                           COME ON CALIFORNIA CHROME!!!   

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