My earlier misgivings aside, I was able to accept my friend’s invitation and make a last-minute trip to the Kentucky Derby. I didn’t have a winner in the Derby but, in an earlier race, my trifecta wager that included Judy the Beauty paid nicely.
The Kentucky Derby is probably the only major sporting event that goes from sweetly sentimental to louche abandon in five minutes or less. There’s not a dry eye or a lumpless throat in the grandstands when they sing “My Old Kentucky Home.” Then, a couple of minutes later, it’s a sea of pumped fists and a chorus of drunken “fuck yeas!” as the winner crosses the finish line.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have attended a handful of Derby’s and I’ve always worn my lucky Gucci belt. I bought it in 1973 when their only US store was in Manhattan. It cost me two months rent but I had to have it.
I’d only worn it once or twice until 2001 when I attended my first Derby. Monarchos was the winner that year and I had him. (As a bet, Jeez). I’ve since worn it to every Derby I’ve been to.
Which should serve as a good lesson to you kids out there: sound fashion investments pay life-long dividends.