Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Kentucky Derby 134: Bonita's Big Day

Bonita had such an outstanding first Derby on Saturday that it's worth retelling.

Rollin' in the back of the Sequoia to CD with her pimped out hat

The first thing we did once inside CD was run into the Julep Man, and 2 minutes later Bonita had her first Julep.

$18 of tasty sweetness

The 7th race went off just after we arrived at the track, but once we got settled over in the paddock we went to get some bets in on the 8th race, and she made not only her first bet at the track but her first lifetime sports wager of any kind. And she did it all by herself, with no help {it's tricky saying everything correctly when you're new to it}.

If she's in Gamblers Anonymous in 5 years, this moment is to blame

She didn't win that race, but little did she realize at the time it didn't matter much at all.

Shortly thereafter, she met this dude from Scotland and got a feel for how you literally meet people from all over the world who come to CD on the 1st Saturday in May just to go to the Derby

She let him slide for being a Sir Alex Ferguson fan

Her bet on a horse named GOLDENBALLS in the 9th didn't work out either, so it was on to the Derby. She bet $5 across the board on BIG BROWN because he was the 20 horse and 20 is her favorite number. She also bet $5 to win on EIGHT BELLES because she was a girl taking on the boys. At that point I said "why don't you put them together and do a $5 exacta box with 5 and 20? Fatefully she said "OK, that sounds good."

You'll notice that as we watched the race and BIG BROWN crossed the wire first, the video goes all crazy. That's because I dropped it as I picked Bonita up, gave her a big bear hug, and said "you just won the Derby!!!".

We were on cloud nine, until about 2 minutes later when we realized that EIGHT BELLES finished 2nd and not only did she have the winner across the board but she also hit the exacta.

Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

BIG BROWN paid 6.80 to win, 5.00 to place and 4.80 to show for a $2 bet, so her $15 on him across the board returned $ 41.50. Furthermore, the exacta paid $141.60 for $2, so her $10 spent on the $5 exacta box turned into a nice $354, for a total return of $395.50 on $30 of wagers. Even better, she put down a pair of $20 win bets on BIG BROWN for her mama and grandma back in San Jose, respectively, so they both won as well and will be getting $68 back, each.

Very impressive that she stuck to her plan and didn't cave to the group peer pressure, as all of the rest of us were riding with Colonel John, and of all of us she knew the least about horse racing. She also gladly participated in our tradition of buying everyone a celebratory mint julep if you win big, and so instead of winding down, the party continued.

Bonita with the Julep Man

But we weren't done yet. There are 2 races after the Derby, which I call the 'Gamblers Anonymous' races, as they offer a chance for losers to try to win it all back and instead give CD more of their money. The thing is that the races are kind of crap, not stakes races but an allowance race and a maiden race, so the vast majority of the crowd starts to leave after the Derby. So as we went to the bathroom we saw the entrance for grandstand section 118, which is right near the finish line, and we decided to just walk in an act like we belonged. It worked perfectly, and the next thing you knew we were setup in a box in section 118 about 25 yards from the track. I immediately realized that this was a nice side benefit to dressing up for Derby, as we looked like we belonged, whereas the Arsenal kit untucked, shorts, and flip flop route of years past might not have got us into the high cotton section.

We went back and got everyone else, and then watched the 11th race from our new big pimpin' digs.

The queen of section 118 and her court, minus the court jester

After the 11th race, we realized that we could do even better, as the section was 60% empty, so we moved down to a box in the front row. We were now about 6 feet from the track- the only thing separating us from the outside rail was the small walkway used by jockeys and others to get from the winners circle to the walkway back to the paddock area. We were now about 20 yards from the CD finish line, and in the front row. Ballin' hard.

She must be in the front row- eat your heart out Bob Ueker

It got even better. We then watched the 12th race up close and personal, and although we all lost- a horse named FOOLISH PLEASURE won- after the winners circle ceremony, the owners walked right in front of us carrying their silver platter which they received from the track for winning. As they walked by we all offered our congratulations and I asked if I could take a picture of them with the plate. The owner took the plate from his daughter and handed it to us and said "here, you hold it!" {they were tipsy and high on life with the euphoria of winning a race at CD on Derby day}. We settled on a picture of Bonita and the owner's daughter holding up the silver plate that was inscribed with "Congratulations FOOLISH PLEASURE May 3, 2008"

How many people get to do this???

At long last the races were all over and it was time to go home. But not before we stopped off at the betting window to cash Bonita's winning tickets.

Turned $70 into $531.50 in 2 minutes, 1.86 seconds

Then as we walked past the paddock she walked down into the paddock to check it out. She was on such a roll who was going to stop her?

Shez in yer paddock takin picturzzz!

And her big day didn't end at the track. That night we all ended up at Cracker Barrell of all places, so she got to try a bunch of signature Southern foods, none of which she had ever had and some of which she had never heard of: chicken n' dumplings, fried okra, collard greens, grits, and homemade cornbread. She even played the little wooden triangle with the golf tee elimination game.

Cracker Barrel 1, Bonita's arteries 0

So suffice to say that Bonita had a pretty memorable day at her first Derby.

And yes, I know that I'm a lucky man.

And no, I don't know what she sees in me, either.


Bonita said...

I am a lucky woman!! Look at how wonderful you are for capturing the day! Besos mi amor!

The Hit said...

We were all lucky to be in 'Nitas presence. Come back any time!

Killing My Liver said...

Great story. Thanks for sharing.

Brain said...

The Great State of Kentucky has been blessed with beautiful women, both natives and visitors alike. La Bonita has graced us with her presence as well as any before her and she can dance her ass off. It was an absolute joy to have her as a guest during the time my state shines the best. We are looking forward to seeing both you and Kanu at Derby 135. I will have to loose weight prior dance off 2009!!!