Getting there

In retrospect, I should have known. The indicators were there, but I ignored them. I delighted in the auspicious and ignored the ominous.

espite rain in New York, my nearly empty plane left New York on time and landed 40 minutes early – EARLY! The smooth, quick flight did much to mollify my outrage at the American Airlines terminal at JFK – yes, outrage at it, the whole thing, the big inanimate object that offered neither cell phone service nor data service nor even bar service (OK, there was a bar, but it wasn’t all that helpful without any people to dispense its wares) the whole time I was there. As I tweeted last night, I had to get ON THE PLANE to check e-mail, make a phone call, or get a drink.

But all was well as we gently touched down – did I mention that we were early? – in Cincinnati, and I was feeling mighty chuffed about my trip, this trip to my first Derby.

And then I found that the car rental counter closed at 9:30. Really? I asked. 9:30? The agent on the other end of the phone conceded that yes, it was indeed on the early side.

A cheerful shuttle driver and a clean and comfortable room restored all good feelings, until…


I looked for my camera to charge it for the morning…and realized that it was still in Brooklyn.

Panicked, I turned on my computer to seek out Louisville electronics stores to get a replacement…and my ailing computer decided, in anticipation of three days of serious toil, to take what appears to be its permanent rest.

In an excess of caution, I’d brought with me a netbook, just in case …drafted into service, it is doing its eager best, and I offer thanks of a magnitude ordinarily reserved for the divine to the friend who pressed it on me last month…just in case.

A traffic-filled journey from Cincinnati to Louisville got me to the backside – a sunshine-soaked, balmy backside! – later than planned, but felicitous meetings garnered the interviews I needed, leaving plenty of time for a quick trip to purchase a replacement camera before my noon meeting.

So the bad news is that this post is a self-indulgent lament about the last 24 hours, all of which, by any objective or relative measure, have still been pretty good, instead of the “Welcome to Louisville!” post accentuated by stunning photos of a Churchill morning and afternoon.

The good news is that I have a gorgeous new camera­­­ with which to take photos tomorrow, and that Thoroughbred Times has kept me plenty busy, so I can offer links to stories there, one in which I anticipate my first Derby, the other in which Kentucky-born trainers Kiaran McLaughlin and Dale Romans talk to me about their first Derbies.

So thanks for your indulgence, and I promise that I’ll make it up to you.  Don’t forget to activate horses in your Road to the Roses league, unless you’re like me and have no choices to make, because attrition did the work for you.

You can find a wealth of Derby information at Hello Race Fans! (including this piece I wrote about Matt Winn, Regret, and the 1915 Derby); the Raceday360 wire­ offers up-to-the-minute commentary on Derby doings.  On television, Versus and NBC will offer extensive coverage of both Derby and Oaks days.

So here we go. It’s Derby weekend. I think I’m ready. I think.  ­­

5 thoughts on “Getting there

  1. You will have SO MUCH FUN. Being at Derby is magical for any racing fan! I couldn’t get tickets, and the infield is just too much for me this year so I’ll be enjoying it on tv. However, nothing compares to seeing it live! 🙂

  2. Don’t forget, Teresa. If you pet Shackleford, you must bet him. I saw that he’s been training “lights out” at Churchill. And, I read that he may have put on 200 lbs. since his last race. Can you confirm this? He looks the part to me.

    Here’s to you having a fantastic time! Take lots of great pictures, and let us know, who you think is worth boxing in an exacta in the Derby.

  3. At least you’ll be able to do all the things you intended to, which is good.

    To me, this looks like the last Derby that will be run in daylight. With Comcast now firmly controlling NBC, coupled with the fact the Asia-Pacific region can no longer be ignored from bringing in new handle to the sport, I suspect in 2012 we will see the first Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby under the lights, with Oaks post on Friday at 10:40 PM ET (when it would be 11:40 AM Saturday in Tokyo) and Derby post on Saturday at 9:30 PM ET (when it would be 10:30 AM Sunday in Tokyo). As the Derby TV rating the past two years was 10.3, I suspect NBC will insist on a nighttime Derby (so the TV rating qualifies for the prime time ratings during the “May Sweeps,” as in this depressed era of TV ratings it would at worst have ranked in the top five shows of the week had it qualified for prime time) and if the Oaks is also at night, it would move from Versus to NBC and air there from 10:00-11:00 PM ET on Friday night. I wrote a full view on why I think this will happen at:

  4. Thanks, everyone! Not too many photos so far – a good kind of busy has kept me writing for much of the weekend. But it’s fun to be here – good luck to all!

    August: I didn’t pet Shackleford. I did pet Derby Kitten and Prince Will I Am.

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