Continuing on with our southern road trips adventures…
If you’re new here you should know my family and I have a slight obsession with the Kentucky Derby as evidenced here.
If you’re not new, you know this well.
While on our trip, Churchill Downs held a Downs After Dark event that we couldn’t miss. Let’s be honest, we’d be stopping at Churchill Downs no matter what but enjoying thoroughbred racing after sunset was something we couldn’t pass up.
Night racing only occurs a few times a year and we happened to be in town for one of those dates. Coincidence? I think not!
For dinner we indulged on brisket mac n’ cheese paninis and Churchill Downs traditional burgoo. The panini was crazy-good! Toasty bread with creamy mac n’ cheese and saucy, smoky brisket was a decadent dinner which I gladly split with my sister.
The burgoo was good…but if I’m being honest I prefer our yearly batch. The recipe at the Downs was quite thick and reminded me of a more classic beef vegetable soup. I’m really glad I tried it though so I could do a fair comparison.
It’s also not a trip to Churchill Downs without a julep. Seriously. I think they kick you out if you don’t get one. I played it safe and did my duty.
While the food was delicious, the two highlights of my evening were sneaking onto Millionaire’s Row and turning $2 into $129.
First off, our tickets were in a terrace section just underneath Millionaires Row. THE Millionaires Row…where all the racing big shots and celebrities watch the Derby. My sister and I were just itching to sneak a peek. She has no shame and I tend to follow. During a race we casually took the escalator upstairs, covered up our 2nd class terrace stickers, and walked onto the Row like we owned the place. I don’t think anyone gave us a second look because we played the part well.
We ooo’ed and ahh’ed over the food and made our way outside.
I have to say it was pretty amazing standing in a spot where the elite of the elite watch the Derby every year. We got our picture taken and then made a bee-line for the door! We thought we were so sneaky and for five minutes, so exclusive. Funny part is, once we got home I realized we could’ve sat in Millionaires Row that night for only $40 more. So…maybe not as exclusive when it’s not Derby day. Oh well…I was there!
As soon as we got back to our seats, race # 6 started. It was a small field so I thought my odds would be better on a trifecta bet (guessing the first three horses correctly). As much as I love horse racing, I bet on names…not much else. Don’t do what I do. Or, finish reading this story and then decide if YOU want to start placing bets on names.
I picked #1, #5, and #4 for the order and as the horses rounded the final corner, I realized 1 and 5 were in 1st and 2nd place but I couldn’t see #4. Our whole group was making a bit of a scene screaming #4 on that our neighbors took notice and realized what was going on. Third place was a photo finish and my heart was in my throat the whole time. The minute #4 got added to the results, our whole section went crazy! My $2 bet was turned into $129 all on going for the names I liked.
After collecting my winnings and basking in the trifecta glow, the guy next to us pointed out if I’d bet $20 I would’ve gone home with almost $1300.
- Have a julep, skip the burgoo.
- Tell the photo guy you like less green railing, more racetrack in your snapshots.
- Bet on the horses’ names when you have a hunch.
- When it’s a strong hunch, put down $20.
- Take your winnings and upgrade to Millionaires Row…or just sneak in.
- Try on all the Derby hats before you go for Derby 2014!