THE KENTUCKY DERBY AND ME

The three best words in sports are...
"...and they're off!"
I just returned from the 136th running of the Kentucky Derby.
From the moment I arrived I was off and running myself.
Sadly, there is not much great food to report as we mostly ate from buffets at Churchill Downs. They are pretty good with typical southern fare like grits and corn pudding, but the rest of the cuisine was run of the mill, er, Run of the Roses.
Day one took us to Kentucky Oaks Day. Horse of the year Rachel Alexandra was honored for her stellar performance in the 2009 Oaks when she beat the field by more than 20 lengths. My pal Peggy Furth and I proudly donned our RA hats before she started in Friday's La Trione race.


Derby Day began gray, gloomy and wet!!! No more sunshine but plenty of excitement!
Hot Dixie Chick was entered in the Eight Belles Stakes. Along with her owner, our hostess Barbara Banke, we donned our rain coats and made our way through the crowds to see her in the paddock.

Pictured with me (left to right) are Kendall Jackson's Ken Born, Chalk Hill Winery's Peggy Furth, Kendall Jackson's Caroline Shaw and the magnanimous founder of Silver Oak winery, Ray Duncan.

Mint Juleps are the traditional beverage of the Derby, but I found the bourbon over powering and the effects detrimental to my handicapping. Most of my table mates ordered the julep just for the souvenir glass and dumped the contents into the ice bucket. Being faithful to our Sonoma County wines, we eschewed the hard stuff and enjoyed Robert Parker's 95 point St. Emilion-style Verite Le Desir and my fave Stonestreet Upper Barn Chardonnay.

Pictured with me (left to right) Stonestreet Farm's Lesley Howard, Peggy Furth, Silver Oak's Sally Duncan, Caroline Shaw and Stonestreet's Barbara Banke.

Have you heard of Curlin?
He was Horse of the Year in 2008 and 2009. His remarkable career included victories in the Preakness, Breeder's Cup Classic, Arkansas Derby and Jockey Gold Cup. He's retired now and living the rest of his life as a stallion. He "stands" (horsey talk for lives) at Lane's End Farm in Lexington. I had the opportunity to meet him just before I left Kentucky.


Pictured with me (left to right) Curlin's groom, the dedicated Steve Brown, and Curlin.

The four best words in sports?
Same time next year!

http://www.stonestreetfarms.com/
http://www.veritewines.com/wines/01ledesir.htm
http://www.stonestreetwines.com/wines/single-vineyard/2007-upper-barn-chardonnay.aspx