Kentucky Derby Weekend: We Came, We Saw, We Conquered!

Coming soon: Miss Madison’s custom hat designs!

What does it mean when you get so much rain that area umbrella retailers are having wet dreams and feasting on Russian caviar like potato chips?  When you see not one but both of the Guardians of the Galaxy movies?  Get all dressed up only to see some of the lowest temperatures in 50 years hit this area?  Visit the world famous fictional city known as Gahagenville, USA?  Again, did I mention biblical rain in this area?  Yup, it must be another Kentucky Derby weekend!  Even better, it broke Miss Madison’s maiden (see what I did there horse racing fans) in taking in all things Derby, throw in another “dad weekend” with Sloane and you already know it was legendary!

Not only did Miss Madison attend her first Derby party this year, she even got to go all uppity for a day and attend the Kentucky Oaks.  No small feat in this area, tickets for the Oaks are harder to obtain than a Van Halen ticket, circa 1984!  Thanks to her connections with the local chapter of the Ginger Society of Southern Indiana, she was able to land in the corporate tent section of Churchill Downs feasting on Beef Wellington and sipping on the tutti fruity quaff known as the “Oaks Lily.”  To say she was excited as she was scrambling around the night before designing her own hat for the occasion would be an understatement.  A $12.00 hat from a local retailer and quick trip to the local Sam Walton’s mosh pit supercenter for supplies and “voila” a classic Churchill Downs hat was created!

For a $12.00 drink you at least get a souvenir glass for your troubles.  What a bargain!

Miss Madison astute horse handicapper, she must have been so important that the local news wanted to interview her!

Later that night with the whole family back together again, it was time for family movie night.  I thought the kids should learn what a good movie was, but Miss Madison insisted Goodfellas had language that was too rough for the children.  I reminded her Sloane lives in Kentucky and she’s probably heard worse, but in the end the first rendition of Guardians of the Galaxy won out.  I still say the life portrayal of Henry Hill is more entertaining and educational than defending the galaxy, but what do I know?

Found a little time in my schedule to get this baby ready to go.

Saturday it was off to Gahagenville, USA for the largest derby extravaganza this side of the Barnstable Brown gala from the previous evening.  Legal gambling thanks to the good folks who created Backyard Bookie (this year the plug is free, next year they better “wet the beak”), a spread of food that would make a fat man blush, and good time with a bunch of good people.  Throw in the largest pancreatic cancer fundraiser in southern Indiana on that day (I can’t confirm this, but call it a hunch) and welcome to Gahagenville on Derby Day!  I would tell you the citizenship requirements, but I don’t really think anybody wants to hear about curb stomping kittens and egging houses.  Actually that was just a joke, but if you are on the city council of Gahagenville you aren’t officially a member until you shoot a shot of Jamesonicon, it’s part of the late mayor’s creed and written into the city-state Constitution.  Thankfully, I passed the initiation years ago!

That’s what almost a $1000.00 dollars looks like for pancreatic cancer research!

Bouncy house to keep the children entertained, small proud dad moment watching Sloane place bets (chill out uptight parent, I haven’t taught her what a Beyer Speed Figure is yet) and let the good times roll!  Miss Madison and I were on fire at the betting window and won a sizeable chunk of dead presidents before we left.  Miss Madison bet her kids college funds on Limousine Liberal in an exacta and was rewarded nicely when it came in.  Skipah, the horse racing handicapper, had some success himself and once we got out of Gahagenville we were singing the Steve Miller Band’s “Take The Money And Run” acapella style on the way home.  The nightcap was Sloane and the Turtle Man impromptu “puppet theater” presentation for us.  

Miss Madison Jr.:  I think I like the four in the next race it kicked butt at Gulfstream last month.

Sloane:  I don’t know, the one horse was closing on that horse quicker than a shady real estate agent and this race is longer!

I have no idea what got into them when we got home!

There would be pictures of the kids playing in the bouncy house, but the airboat to transport the everybody to the kid’s area at the party kept breaking down.  Remember I did say earlier that we’ve recently had a ton of rain.  The Gahagenville backyard was an unfortunate casualty thanks to Mother Nature.  Not pictured:  The Turtle Man dropping elbows like he was watching the best of Duane “the Rock” Johnson videos or the girls trying to decorate the bouncy house with flowers.

Shoes can always be cleaned, memories last a lifetime!

Sunday we headed to the movies.  I forgot how much taking three kids and two adults to a movie actually empties your wallet!  What in the hell did I agree to?  We were off to the theater to see Guardians of the Galaxy 2, so long dreams of Cincinnati Reds place settings with matching silverware thanks to our Derby largesse.  Hello to a super long movie in 3-D that after refreshments for all might have cost close to the operating budget of a small town in Haiti!  Five of us saw it, four of them loved it, the lone dissenter you are wondering?  Me!  The movie sucked, no spoiler alerts from me, but I am actively seeking out some Baby Groot gear, he was pretty funny.  I wished I packed a pillow and a blanket and used Miss Madison’s shoulder as a bed during half the movie.  At the end of the day, who really cares what I think, Sloane wouldn’t quit talking about on her way home to her personal Kentucky hell.

About it for now, after last weekend I have hit the superfecta (horse racing fans, are you still paying attention?) of life.  Between my wonderful daughter, rock star fiancee, and two zany future step kids I’m a winner no matter what!


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  1. What does it mean when there’s torrential rain and you get all dressed up only to be hit with sudden low temperatures? I’m British, that’s just any Tuesday (or other day ending in ‘y’)! Sounds like a fun weekend though.

  2. Love the hats!!! What a fun day even better that you all made $$!!!

  3. The hat was fab and she looks gorgeous in it, dahhhling!

  4. Love the hat traditions! Fun, fun!

  5. Best last sentence ever. <3

  6. The Derby is on my bucket list! . Love her hat…jealous!

  7. Thanks for the trip to the Derby! Love the hats! 🙂

  8. Love Katie’s hat – I must poach it for my daughter’s wedding next April! 😜

  9. You are rocking fatherhood man, I have fun just reading about your adventures. Good point about the dirty shoes and memories too.

  10. Another fun post…..amazing the Derby is still as popular as it is….and Guardians of the Galaxy was fun in places….

  11. I think it’s time to place the bet on you being the winner, because that hand you’re holding is pretty strong!

  12. That hat is amazing, I never knew how highfalutin the derby still was.

    P.S. Guardians of the Galaxy is always a win. 😉

  13. I raced to get to the comment section to tell you I enjoyed your post.

  14. You have to be the BEST step parent that ever existed from what you write about doing with the kids! Going for a Step-parent of the year award or something?

    Miss Madison must be swept off her feet by your parenting skills! With all the kids involved in your relationship with her, you come out smelling like a fresh pepermint julip!

  15. Coincidentally I was just thinking about Ascot in England. I’ve always wanted to see the Kentucky Derby too. It looks like it would be heaps of fun. According you this year the weather was dreary with buckets of rain. That would put a damper on things, but I’m glad you went. I may attempt to go next year since I now live closer to the Kentucky Derby than Ascot 🙂

  16. Lol. Sounds like y’all had a great weekend. Those memories will be priceless. I hope to make it to the Derby one day, gotta love any event where you get to wear a fun hat!

  17. Sounds like you had quite the weekend. Never a dull moment at your house!

Tell Skipah all about it!

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