March 26, 2010

The City of Gold or Florence Y’all

The proverbial fork in the road has presented itself to your fearless author, and I must admit it created a few sleepless nights. Making my first horse racing road trip of 2010 is not something I take lightly. When I decided this would be the weekend for my trip, it just became a matter or where to go. I quickly narrowed it down to either Meydan Racecourse in Dubai or Turfway Park in Florence, Kentucky. You can see my dilemma. I could picture myself flying first class, and sipping champagne on Emirates Airlines jetting to the Jewel of the Middle East. But, I could just as easily see myself gassing up the Hyundai and making the 4 ½ hour drive to Suburban Cincinnati with an Egg McMuffin in hand. Clearly you can see why I tossed and turned nightly.

My wife Candie knew that I was in a state or turmoil, and she tried to get my mind off the pressing decision. I appreciated her trying to help, but all I kept thinking was “The City of Gold or Florence Y’all?” I must have muttered that phrase countless times in my attempted sleep, because she would ask each morning, “So, did you decide between the City of Gold or Florence Y’all?”

No, after days of pained contemplation, I still had not decided. I would need to be analytical about this problem. I decided to concentrate on the pros for each locale. Always the optimist, I generally stick more with the pros than the cons. Here is what I came up with:
Dubai has the greatest horse racing facility ever imagined in Meydan Racecourse. It boasts eight races to be run on World Cup Day, each featuring some of the greatest horses from all over the world. The World Cup is the single richest race in the world. Dubai features world class hotels and restaurants. Sights to see abound. It has gorgeous golf courses and Summer like weather. Dubai offers an exotic location that I would dream about visiting someday. Luxurious accommodations and royal treatment would be a certainty. Heck, it even has indoor ski slopes and a Dolphinarium. 

Meanwhile, Florence has 5-Way Chili and one of the biggest days of racing that Turfway Park has to offer. Florence truly is the pulse of magnificent Northern Kentucky. Besides the excellent racing, Lane’s End Day also offers Eric Davis and Chris Sabo at the track for a bottle signing from 8am to 11am on Saturday. The limited edition Maker's Mark bottle commemorates the Lane's End and the 1990 World Series champion Cincinnati Reds. Since Sabo and I have a bit of history, he once tried to steal my date at Wrigley Field, the bottle signing becomes an unexpected bonus.

What a decision. I ultimately needed to pick one and stick with the choice.

In the end, I just could not fight off the irresistible urge to get back to my old Kentucky home. Never mind the thousands of dollars the Dubai trip would have cost. Turfway Park in Florence, Kentucky it is. The Lane’s End features a horse, in Connemara, I have been following since his first career race. Also on the card will be five other stakes including the Bourbonette Oaks and the Rushaway Stakes. It should be a wonderful day of racing, and by the way, I can still watch the races from Meydan and enjoy their great racing card via simulcast. Will I regret not being there in person? Not at all, I will get there someday. Have I made the right decision? No regrets, Lane’s End Day is going to be fabulous. Will the path I have chosen for this weekend forever alter my future as a turf writer? That’s way too deep a question for this particular column, but I will leave you with these final words of wisdom…I’m headed to Florence Y’all.

14 comments:

Kimness said...

No wonder you couldn't sleep!!
What a tough decision - I'm pretty sure you made the right choice. Enjoy!!

Brian Zipse said...

Thanks Kimmness...I am not afraid to make the tough decisions. LOL

Anonymous said...

Ha Ha! What a great article. . . loved the humor. I am sure you made the right choice! Either place would have been a win-win situation. I mean it is your first 2010 road trip to see the horses. Have fun and be safe!

Brian Zipse said...

Thanks Anonymous. A friend just pointed out that first class on Emirates Airlines can cost $20,000. I countered that I will use $60 worth of gas on the Florence trip!

Michael said...

You definitely made the right choice. First of all, you can't bet in Dubai, there's a chance Shaun Alexander will be at Turfway since that is his home and no where else in the world can you hear a race call like Mike Battaglia!!!!

Ciarán said...

nice column Brian, will ya make it over for sunday, a half decent card on at Leopardstown :P

Brian Zipse said...

LOL, Battaglia is not the reason I am headed to Turfway, Michael. He gives me a bit of a headache. Ciaran, it all depends on how I do Saturday...got any winners at Leopardstown???

Michael said...

Of course I was being facetious.

ja.raymond said...

When I read the title of today's ZATT, and the first part of it, I couldnt believe you couldnt decide!
But, if you have attachments to Turfway (and Dubai would be so expensive), I guess you made the sensible choice.
I guess your experiences of Turfway left you with fonder memories.
Maybe you can do Dubai next yr.
Have a great time out there, Brian! Take some pics for us!! :)

tjreyn01 said...

When I saw the title, immediately I thought...the red and white tower thingy! Passed it many of times. lmao when I saw you had the pic posted of it in the article. Enjoy your trip here to the Bluegrass!

william said...

hey brian..great article filled with humor...i didnt have this great dilemma, it was either aqueduct or otb..how easy a choice..have fun and handicap well and win lots of money...and id i happen to mention my favorite drink is makers mark, boy would i love to have one of those bottles..hint hint...best of luck

Jen W. said...

OMG! This has to be one of the FUNNIEST articles you've written yet! HAHAHA!

You CAN'T go to Dubai this year! Nothing really to see! NEXT year will probably be the time to go! ;-)

Wonder what kind of Champagne Florence has? Hmmm...

wendyu said...

I'll be there too! Cool people hang in Florence Y'all!

Glad you'll be there so you can give me the real scoop on Eskendereya ;)

bluemillion said...

Everybody should come take the free Maker's Mark Distillery and Kentucky Cooperage (bourbon barrel-making factory) tours. MM is located just outside downtown Lebanon, Ky. and the cooperage is right on Main Street, along with The Oak Barrel restaurant - a great Bourbon Country experience! You can enter the Heart of Kentucky Bourbon & Barrels Getaway giveaway at www.VisitLebanonKy.com. The drawing is April 2. No purchase necessary.