My first day in Louisville for the Kentucky Derby was eventful
Having driven from Miami up to Kentucky (it is a drive of just over 1,100 miles but well worth it), My day in Kentucky started with the sunrise over Bowling Green where I spent the night. Originally I had hopped to surprise someone with coffee and breakfast, but those plans were not possible after I had a flat tire and was delayed for over 2 hours dealing with getting it replaced in Southern Georgia and so I had to stop to get some sleep for the night before getting to Louisville.
Once I arrived in town, I headed to Willie Barnstable’s home to talk with her and pick up tickets to the Barnstable Brown Gala on Friday night. After that, I had to make sure I had everything I needed for that black-tie event so it was off to the mall. Once I had everything I needed I was able to check into my hotel, unpack and decompress for a little bit. Driving all that way is okay, but you need some space after so many hours in the car.
On the agenda for Thursday (the day before the Kentucky Oaks races at Churchill Downs) was the Taste of Derby party at the convention center. I decided to wear an outfit made up almost exclusively of items I had picked up at the Vineyard Vines store in Palm Beach, Florida pared with one of the ties I had made for a campaign fundraiser. Obviously the tie is nautical, but you can’t exactly take this boy far from the sea so it worked.
The benefit dinner was a great event. They had chefs from racetracks around the country where races that horses could qualify for the Kentucky Derby would race come in and prepare samples of their food and each chef also had a drink to complement their food. All of the drinks featured liquor from the local area which was interesting to see that there were so many different kinds made in one place in the country. The benefit dinner was just stations around the convention center where you could meet and talk to the chefs and taste their cooking. The food was great but the best part of the evening was being able to meet so many people from around the country who came in for the Kentucky Derby. I honestly didn’t realize that so many people came in for the races. I met people from Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, California, New York and all over the South. I even met someone from Miami while I was eating some sushi!
The people I met who were here for the Kentucky Derby races all had interesting backgrounds. Their interest in horse racing tied us all together but in their lives they ran businesses, worked for large multinational companies and a few were retired and enjoying their time away from the stress of the working world. Most of the people were interested in my Olympic campaign and several people even made donations even though I didn’t even ask. That was a great surprise and made me smile that even people interested in horses wanted to see a young, energetic athlete succeed in his Olympic aspirations.
After I had sampled all the food and met so many amazing people, it was time to head back to the hotel. I was exhausted from the long drive and all the activities of the day as I prepared for the Kentucky Derby.
Make sure to come back tomorrow to read about my day at Kentucky Oaks and my beautiful date for the Barnstable Brown Gala!