Sunday, August 2, 2009

Mine. That. Bird!

This may be about as exciting to you as a vacation slide show presented by your great aunt Hortence, but let me tell you. I was a kid in a candy shop. And this may be one of the few times in my life I've been star struck. Kentucky Derby Winner, man!
I was invited by Annette to be partner in crime (because she writes crime novels, hardy har har) on a trip to yesterday's West Virginia Derby. Thoroughbred horse racing! Annette probably said it best when she called us Thoroughbred Groupies. When all the races were through, there we stood, grown women waiting to see a horse like it was Elvis or something. We stared into his empy stall admiring the cleanliness of the wood shavings. If that horse could write, I'd have his autograph right now.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. How did I get to meet Mine That Bird? Annette, in her novel writing research, became friend's with a professional Thoroughbred race horse trainer (super smart and a heck of a fun gal to boot) who was kind enough to get me a pass for the day into the barns. Annette is also a licensed groom at the track. Both of those things give her super awesome access to the barns. Where all the horses are! These photos all could use some captions:
None of those guys and gals were racing yesterday, but they were sweet to visit. They're so beautiful and shiny.
Oh, and I forgot to tell you that I'd never ever been to a Thoroughbred race in my life, let alone met the horses or seen a Kentucky Derby Winner...
So we headed over to the track. So much to see, I'll never be able to include it all. I learned how to read a racing program a little. I'm still the unluckiest and non-gamblingest person you'll ever meet.
Second funnest part of going to the races is seeing the horses come out into the paddock to be saddled. There you can see how they look, how they're pretty they are.
Neither one of those 2 were Mine That Bird, but My! are they not majestic!
And if you are a super horse nerd who has watched the reality TV show Jockeys, you will certainly recognize this guy:
Mike E. Smith!
He rode many horses yesterday including last but not least....ta dah!
The Little Brown Horse himself, Mine That Bird!:
I know. He just looks like a little brown horse. ha! But he is a lovely little brown horse. And fast. Mine That Bird and Jockey Mike Smith heading out of the paddock.

Being ponied to the gates. I want that job!
Aaaannndd...coming in 3rd place. Ah well. Such is horse racing. Ya win some, ya place some. He was awesome to watch and came all the way from last. Loved it!
And better yet, look how close I got to him!! I read his name on the brass plate on his halter. The 2 gentlemen to the left are his owners. Also cool!
The gentleman handling him (I should know who he is maybe, but I don't) also had me tickled when he slung his arm over Bird's back and just kind of rested it there like I do with our horses when they're out having a little grass like this.
Oh, I almost forgot to tell you about my first time ever betting on a horse race. Last race after Bird's, I decided to pick a long shot. The Eight horse because it's my favorite number and he was like 50 to 1. And actually went off at 80 to 1. Good lord. I placed my bet and went back out to wait for the race to start and started to read the program a little closer. Hadn't one a race all year. "Weary" in one race. "Labored throughout" in another. Maybe not such a great pick, huh?
So the race started and of course he was dead last starting out. But he was due for a win, right?Well, if you consider beating the 3 last horses in the pack then I'd say Yes! Fourth to last and not last! Alright! Doesn't get me my 8 bucks back but it was still fun. I even got to see him in the barns cooling down.
And so ended one of the coolest days of my life. :) Thanks Annette! Thanks Jessi!


Annette said...

You are very welcome, Sara. It was a blast spending the day with you and Jessi and getting to introduce you to the world of Thoroughbred racing. Pretty cool, huh?

Emily said...

I want to gung those horses.

Michelle Johnson said...

Those are beautiful horses. I'm glad you had a good time. I've gone to the horse races before and came back home with $20 in my pocket for betting correctly on the last race. Pretty cool, huh? Hope all is well. Have a great day.

Sara said...

I'd so become a Thoroughbred Groupie! Horses are addictive. Love the pictures! Their long legs are just amazing! My favorite was the gray. Just beautiful!

Kate said...

I would rather meet Mine That Bird than Brad Pitt! That's awesome.

Jen said...

My sister-in-law Heather is a total 'Horse Groupie'. She trains horses for dressage and last year rode a horse through Ireland on a week long ride.

She wanted to become a vet but couldn't because of her allergies. Now she is getting her pHD in History, go figure.

I'll have to show her your beautiful pictures.