Before the race, they were all fluttering about Bellamy Road and making a big fuss about him, There was also a horse named Giacomo in the race, but he was at 50-1 odds and didn't get much mention at all.
Then suddenly, Giacomo wins the race, and Bellamy Road comes in seventh. Now, it's like Bellamy Road never existed, and everyone is making a big fuss about Giacomo--deserved, since he won, but still....
Not a minute after that horse crossed the finish line, some reporterette was sticking her microphone in Jockey Mike Smith's face and asking him how he felt. And the irritating thing is, he couldn't simply tell her, "Please go away, lady. My horse and I are tired." No, he had to give her an interview on horseback before she would go the hell away. Geeze!
I was very happy that Afleet Alex came in third, considering the story behind that horse's owner and Alex' Lemonade Stand. I had hoped for a win, but third was still nice!
Derby Hats: Ladies' hats come out at English weddings, but they also come out at the Kentucky Derby. I saw some rather nice ones and also a few kooky ones--like the bright orange, flowered one that some lady was wearing.
Derby in General: I was also struck by how very much a men's business event the Derby is. There was one bit just before the winner's cup was presented to Giacomo's owner, where the wives in their hats were all standing just behind their husbands, who were making all the thank-you speeches to the corporate sponsors and so forth. I'd like to have seen at least one woman making a speech, with her husband standing demurely behind her. Aren't there any prominent businesswomen associated with the Derby?
They've built some rather impressive viewing boxes at the racetrack, costing $240,000 a year, in some cases. My guess is that most of these are corporate- owned, because they looked huge. What also got me was that they had all of these small-screen TV monitors on the walls, so people could watch the Derby in air conditioning, I guess. I'd have bought four or five big, plasma screen TV's for each gallery box--you know, the sort which look like the viewscreen of the Starship Enterprise. Those would be much easier for people in a crowded room to see.
Roman Stuff: Did more reading about Roman history today, primarily about Emperor Galba, who reigned for several months after Nero's death, before he was murdered by the Praetorian Guard and replaced by someone else of their choosing (Marcus Salvius Otho). Servius Galba is a sad case. He was a highly respected and I believe capable statesman, having served as governor of various provinces in Africa and Spain under both Claudius and Nero. But apparently, when he got to Rome he started taking bad advice from his advisors, seizing property to pay for Nero's excesses, and refusing to give awards to the Praetorian Guard and to some troops in Germany. In that era, if you made enemies of the Praetorian Guard, your days as Emperor were numbered.
It was interesting to learn that the Praetorian Guard was actually composed of several (9-16) cohorts of Roman troops, each cohort being double-sized. Three of the Emperor's cohors would be stationed in Rome, with the rest being housed in nearby towns outside Rome. I'd had no idea the Guard was so large. I had thought it to be more like Constantine's Scholae Palatinae or palace guard in purpose and number. What most Roman emperors had was a personal army.
Pam? Say, speaking of the Derby--Is anyone on my friends list still in touch with Pam Carbone?