Went to Kentucky Derby and met with NASCAR driver Brian Vickers
Waking up Saturday morning after my amazing evening at the Barnstable-Brown Gala was difficult to say the least. The party went practically all night and frankly I wish the night had never ended. I got up and was excited to go to the Kentucky Derby even though I had been told that most of the kids my age go to the Kentucky Oaks and don’t go to the Derby because it is mostly adults and not quite as much fun as Oaks. But I had tickets and was here to enjoy the festivities and to meet and learn about people around the Kentucky Derby. I had an extra ticket, but the person I wanted to bring with me didn’t want to, so off to the Derby I went.
Saturday was way more crowded than Friday at Churchill Downs. Literally every seat was filled and the area around the paddocks was jam packed with racing fans. I met a lot of college students from all around the country who were there for the party and to enjoy the races of course, and some pretty interesting people I (literally) bumped into as I was walking around. In fact, as I was walking I looked up and saw Brian Vickers, so someone who I thought looked like him but I thought to myself “it can’t be Brian, he wouldn’t be at horse races when he could be watching his friends and competition at NASCAR in Talladega”. I took the chance and as he passed in front of me I said “Brian Vickers?”
I was shocked when he stopped and said hello. I introduced myself and he introduced me to his wife and two friends that he was at the race with. He even introduced me to the state trooper who was assigned to his security at the race too. We talked about my fasination with NASCAR and how I missed seeing him on the racetrack while he is out with his medical leave and I told him about my Olympic sailing campaign and my work towards Rio in 2016. I was surprised when Brian Vickers told me that he has been sailing on a cruising sailboat and how he loved the thrill of sailing. I told him that I train most of the year in Miami and told him that if he ever got down to South Florida that I would love to take him out on my Olympic NACRA 17 catamaran. I didn’t realize that Brian Vickers and his wife live in Miami and so we talked about where I train and where I keep my boats and he told me that he would love to get together and have me teach him how to sail on these rocketships when I get back to Miami.
Brian Vickers and his wife walked over to look at the paddocks and I spoke briefly with his friend Scott who is an LA movie producer who lives in Louisville with his daughters who are my age and are competitive in volleyball and travel all over the country playing. Brian and his wife came back and we talked some more about racing and my campaign and confirmed that we would go sailing together on Biscayne Bay. Then we all went back to watch more racing.
I was surprised that Brian Vickers is such a down to earth and friendly guy who was willing to have a real conversation with someone he bumped into in the middle of the crowd at the Kentucky Derby. A professional racecar driver with a great attitude, tremendous class and just an all around good guy. The fact that he likes sailing and wants to sail with me when I get home is just amazing!
I had placed a large bet on the horse that Abigail thought would win and wouldn’t you know it American Pharaoh pulled it off and won the race and I made over $1,500! After the races, I went back to my hotel with the intention of having breakfast with Abigail and her family Sunday morning but they were headed out of town and so couldn’t join us. I decided to pack up and head up to Ohio Saturday night. I Asked if I could stop by on my way out of town, but she was busy with friends so I just got on the road and headed North.
Even though I didn’t get to spend any time with Abigail on Saturday, the Kentucky Derby turned out to be a pretty great day. Meeting Brian VIckers was great and winning a bet on the Derby made the day at Chruchill Downs a lot of fun. I hope to get invited back to the Kentucky Derby again next year!