This past week I had the privileged of attending the 141st Kentucky Derby
While it might seem out of character for a competitive sailor and for me in particular to take time off the water to head to land locked Kentucky to watch some horses run around a track, you have to realize that I am more than just simply an athlete and while my attempts at humor go mostly unrecognized (this statement as example) I can be quite deep and complex when you get to know what goes on inside my head.
Because the Kentucky Derby was only one week before mothers day, I drove from Miami to Kentucky before heading on to see my mother in Rocky River, Ohio. Timing was perfect actually because it meant that I could coordinate my schedule to attend the races since I was already planning on being home for mothers day. The trip was a little strange because not having been to the Kentucky Derby before and not knowing what all I would be doing and how I should really dress for the events I would be attending I had to rely on advice from friends, family and the helpful people at the Vineyard Vines store in Palm Beach, Florida. Thanks to them, I was able to pull together an appropriate assortment of brightly colored pants, shirts and bow ties to both make an impression at the races and have a smart wardrobe suitable to get me around the clubhouses of the yacht clubs with the most strict dress codes (we all know where they are).
While driving up to Kentucky Derby (it is a long drive) I got a flat tire in Southern Georgia, forcing me to pull over on the freeway to change tires and then drive to find a tire shop in the middle of nowhere. That was an experience, but pretty much sealed the fact that I was going to have to stop somewhere short of Louisville to get some rest. This changed my plans a bit because on Thursday morning I had to go meet with Willie Barnstable to pick up tickets for the Barnstable Brown Gala on Friday night and then make sure I had appropriate clothes for this black tie event.
Meeting with Willie Barnstable was pretty amazing. Learning about her life in Kentucky, the development of the city over the years and about the history of the Gala her daughters have been putting on for 24 years was eye opening. Her family is full of highly active and hard working people through the generations and I was thrilled to learn that her grandchildren (who are about my age) are all so focused and driven in their education and early careers. Those of you who know me know that I am all about having a dream and then working harder than anyone else is willing to to make sure you make those dreams come true.
So by Thursday afternoon I had all my tickets, my Tux, the most beautiful date for the Barnstable Brown Gala and I was ready to get into the Kentucky Derby Experience. Over the next few posts I will tell you about my experience in Louisville and you will learn what made my weekend one that will keep me smiling for a long time.
Please make sure to come back and read my posts about the Kentucky Derby over the next few days.
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