By: Keith Kappes
Carter County Times
The Kentucky Derby has come and gone for another year as our state’s signature sporting event.
Despite the hangovers, high prices and socially-distanced crowd, this year’s running proved again that nothing can compare to Churchill Downs on Derby Day.
Before I say more, be advised that I cashed winning tickets on the Derby winner during my last three visits to that historic racetrack in Louisville and another at a Derby Day viewing at Keeneland.
Later, I’ll share my secret strategy for always going home a Derby winner.
My first visit to the Twin Spires for Derby Day happened in 1964 on the day I finished Army basic training at nearby Fort Knox. Due to excessive celebration, I don’t recall much of what happened that day in the track infield.
However, I do recall that I pooled my last $10 with one of my Army pals and we bet $20 on a little Canadian horse named Northern Dancer who broke the track record that day and paid $20 to win. Yep, the celebrating lasted two or three more days and we spent the entire $400.
My wife-to-be and I had been dating less than a year when I took her to the 1971 Derby as part of her introduction to Kentucky.
We picked up a hitch-hiker who gave us a “sure thing” horse to bet. I ignored his advice and bet one that finished dead last. My wife likes to tell that story because the horse we didn’t pick paid $19.70 to win.
One memorable Derby involved an unhappy man who said he bet $100 on a horse that finished out of the money. He stood at the rail as the horse came by in its “cooling off” lap and yelled to the owners to “shoot that worthless nag”.
About 10 minutes later, a truck backfired behind us and the unhappy bettor jumped for joy, telling everyone the horse was history. It wasn’t, of course.
As for my winning-every-year strategy, I simply purchase a $2 win ticket on each horse in the race. It works every time!
Keith Kappes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org