By Cody S. Decker
Boy, I’m fired up tonight.
I watched the Kentucky Derby. American Pharaoh won that. I watched the Preakness. American Pharaoh won that. Tonight, I was going to watch the Belmont Stakes and hopefully see American Pharaoh win that, to witness sport history and see the first Triple Crown winner since I’ve been alive. Hell, almost since my parents have been alive. A 37 year gap between winners is a long damn time. I even remember my teachers in grade school talking about it and how they hadn’t seen it happen in such a long time. Since then, I’ve wanted to see it actually play out in front of my eyes. California Chrome had me hopeful last year…but to no avail. This year was looking pretty good, though. I had faith in American Pharaoh.
So, I had it all planned out. My girlfriend Katie and I were going to get home from work at 4:30, rest for a bit, then go to our favorite patio bar here in town for a bite to eat and a few drinks and watch the race. I couldn’t think of a better way to say I remembered witnessing a Triple Crown winner cross the finish line than being kicked back on a patio with a nice cold bourbon drink and a half eaten Hot Brown on my plate.
It didn’t quite pan out that way….
I’ve been working a lot of overtime recently. Shit’s rough nowadays. Bills roll in faster each month and writing hasn’t proven itself as a viable means of income yet, so a feller’s gotta do what he’s gotta do to get by. Anyway, enough of my bellyaching about personal problems, I’ll save that for my poetry. When we got in from work today, the idea of rest turned into the notion of a nap. Ok, I could still swing that, sleep about an hour and then be ready for the race. Bright eyed and bushy tailed when we sat down at our table. Perfect.
I honestly can’t recall ever a time in my life that I’ve taken a four hour nap other than tonight.
I woke up refreshed and feeling good about the rest of the evening at first. I hadn’t heard an alarm go off, so I just assumed that I had gotten up before we had intended. Nope. I grabbed my phone to check the time and it was nine damn thirty. I’d missed the race, the six o’clock news, and strayed from my dog’s 7:30 shit schedule. (He may have been a tad bit more upset than me.) As aggravated as I was knowing that I had missed the race, it didn’t hold a candle to the amount of pissed-offed-ness I felt when I scrolled through my Facebook feed and realized that American Pharaoh had won.
How in the hell does a person take a four hour nap? I don’t get that much sleep on a normal night before I’ve got to work then next morning. I mumbled and grumbled to myself as I rolled out of bed. A trip to my makeshift bourbon bar seemed in order. The bartender has a generous pour…
Some folks may not understand why this is such a big deal. That’s fine. But I can almost guarantee that those folks aren’t from around these parts or they just don’t give a shit. That’s fine as well. I do care and frankly, I don’t give a fresh fart about anything said otherwise about it. Kentucky is the Holy Grail of Horse Racing, not only because of the Kentucky Derby itself, but these horses have it made here. If you take a drive through Fayette County, out past the city limits, there are acres upon acres of rolling bluegrass fields for these beautiful animals to roam. And don’t even get me started on the barns they get to live in. They’re bigger and nicer than any house I’ve ever lived in. Horses are royalty in Kentucky and we’re proud to celebrate them in all their glory.
I say we, but tonight the celebration was without one proud Kentucky feller. I was fast asleep and dreaming about who knows what. But it did happen, damn it, and the bourbon is going to make me be happy about it. So instead of lounging on a patio, I’m going to be lumbering over this desk, pouring my own cold drinks and not eating a tasty Hot Brown. I was mad at first, but like Katie said, it’s already happened and there’s no use in worrying about not seeing it. The races have been run and the best horse won. I just hope I don’t have to wait 37 years to get the chance to see it again.