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jocko699
05-22-2017, 07:53 PM
I apologize not being in order but it was a whirlwind.
So I didn’t know what to expect when I arrived at BWI. I went to get my rental car and was given the opportunity to either get a new F-150 or a pimped out Dodge Charger. Um, hello!!!!:headbanger::headbanger:, Dodge Charger baby. This thing was all black, darkened windows and rims, and sounded that a dragster.
I head to inner harbor, not having been to Baltimore in over 20+ years and only hoped it had changed for the better. I was very surprised by the renovations that had occurred. There are restaurants everywhere and many hotels. I found it to be a great place to walk around and would highly recommend for you and your family.
So I arrive at Pimlico on Friday and the surrounding area reminded me a little of Hollywood Park:eek::eek:. Entering the clubhouse parking lot a young man said “nice car,” reminding I was too old for what I was driving. I parked and noticed all the ladies were in dresses and hats and it kind of reminded me of Ascot. One lady though somehow got into a dress that only NASA could engineer the removal of:lol::lol:.
I go up to the Terrace Dining Room and am pleasantly surprised to found the free beer selection would meet my staunch requirements of being cold:headbanger:. The food spread was plentiful and I knew I better put some down or I would be feeling the effects of the cold beer. The ladies were sitting at their tables drinking black-eyed susans at 1:00pm and I thought many of them would be plastered by the race and I was right:sleeping::sleeping:.
I spent the rest of the day attempting to handicap for Saturday and waiting to meet some of the PA dudes. Rob showed up first and then I met David later on. Rob took me from the dining room down to the bowels of the grandstands:eek:. This is where I spent many of my days when I first got into horse racing, listening to those guys that had “absolute locks” and “I can’t catch a break mentality.” It was awesome!!
For some reason I got up early Saturday like a kid going to a candy store. You got to remember I am in pain 24/7 but I forgot about a lot of that Saturday morning. My buddy who served with in the US Navy and retired after 38 years was joining me and I had a hard time keeping the smile off of my face. I turn the car on in the hotel parking lot and the Tremeloes’ “Here Comes my Baby” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrwVwKimw70 is on the radio. I just felt like this was going to be a great day. I also knew the 25K would be placed on Classic Empire with no regrets.
I headed to Pimlico around 9:45am that morning and the difference in the attendance from Friday was evident. People were everywhere selling parking spots, hot dogs off of their front yard bbqs, and cool drinks that may or may not have been legal;). The feeling at the track was also different than Friday. We were herded across the street to the clubhouse and security was everywhere. I looked up to the sky and saw 3 biplanes towing advertising banners. I noticed the website I won the grand prize on was one of the ads.
I arrive back at the Terrace Dining Room and sit at the same table I had the previous day. My buddy would arrive soon and rely on my handicapping skills, probably a big mistake, to make some bets. I never bet every race, but I knew I was probably going to bet every P-3, P-4 and P-5. I did however make one bet, Recruiting Ready in the 7th. I thought he would be 6-5 but when he drifted up to 5-2 I pounced. We cashed a pretty good win bet, enough to cover some losses, and decided to start drinking early, surprisingly we did not cash another ticket!!!
They came and got me about 3:00pm and led me down to the winner’s circle. There was a snafu and the security guard wouldn’t let me in, evidently he didn’t know who I thought I was. We got that figured out and they put us in a holding pen just behind the winner’s circle. I was informed that the room I was being interviewed in was small so my buddy had to stay below.
If you know Pimlico the jockey’s room is a level above the winner’s circle. They came and got me and I saw the room they were talking about. It looked like a janitor’s closet, toilet rolls were on the shelves, and they had a box fan on the floor and one hanging from the overhead. I saw Eddie and was escorted in the room. Eddie told me what he would ask during the interview and I asked if I could give a shout out to family and friends.
I was than escorted back out of the room and told I would be called in when it was time to start. There was a gentleman at the entrance and I asked him if was the guy who would tell me when to go in. He said yes with both pride and embarrassment. I got called in twice, once to do a lighting check, the other for a sound check. Mike Smith was 15 feet away from me on the outside being interviewed. When he was done he walked toward me to enter the jockey’s room and I held out my hand and said “Big money Mike, how are you doing?” He said great and I said something about congratulations on a great career. Santana than came by and I congratulated him on winning with Whitmore.
Right before being called in I remember hearing some laughter coming from the Jock’s room. I had been able to barely see earlier a card game going on so I assumed some shit talking was going on. I then entered the closet for the interview. Eddie was professional and extremely cordial. I do not remember the interview except when he chuckled during the PA shout out. I left the room and headed back to the horse pen behind the winner’s circle. Next up was Zoe Cadman.
I arrived in the pen and was just gabbing with Zoe. I noticed Bob Costas going up the stairs. The first thing I was struck by was either the worst rug I have even seen or the worst color of hair on any man still living. I then noticed the suit he was wearing. It struck me like something a used car salesman would wear. I started laughing and I sense Zoe understood what I was laughing at because she lost it too. We did the interview and just continued talking after the taping was finished. She is really good people.
We had asked Eddie if he would take a photo with my buddy and I. He came back down and took the photo. Zoe joined us too and I will post when I get it electronically. Eddie stayed and talked for a while, really good guy, and then returned to his closet.
My buddy and I returned to the dining room for 2 hours and continued getting plonked. They came and got us again and took us back to the winner’s circle to watch the Preakness. I met the president of the website, everything else was a blur, until the horses came out for the post parade. It seemed the time from the post parade to the start of the race was very quick. Of course I was inebriated so my understanding of time could have been contaminated. Eddie had joined us and I knew he loved CE also. When the gates opened and I saw CE was outside AD and no one else left I turned to my friend and said, “Watch what happens when CE gets eye to eye with him around the turn.” I remember CE opening up and turned again to my friend and said it was too early. Of course I was hoping I was wrong but I was not. I would have liked to see them go another 1/8 to see if CE would come back, but such is horse racing. They are finished safe and it was a great race.
Some of us go through life and never realize how lucky we are. Whether it is family, friends, or simply doors that always seem to open. I do not. Every chance I get I am going to go for it. I was lucky enough to rescue refugees on the open ocean that were seeking asylum from a barbaric country and delivered them to a country with unlimited future opportunities. I served the United States for 20 years in the Navy because of my undying love of the greatest nation on earth. Finally, I have been truly blessed to have a wonderful family, led by my beautiful bride of 28 years.
Thank all of you for sharing this great experience with my family and I.
Aloha,
Geoff

PhantomOnTour
05-22-2017, 08:53 PM
Unbelievable experience...thank you for sharing.
Loved reading this recap

It was great meeting you Geoff

jocko699
05-22-2017, 09:09 PM
Unbelievable experience...thank you for sharing.
Loved reading this recap

It was great meeting you Geoff

David,

You too. We talk the same horse racing language. Enjoy your family and may be we will both be there again next year.

Geoff

Inner Dirt
05-22-2017, 09:25 PM
Thanks for sharing and making fun of Costas, it also looks like he had a bad face lift. Ever since his gun control rant he is on my dead to me list and I mute him. Sorry that Classic Empire didn't hang on he sure looked like a winner mid stretch, I feel your pain.