Oaklawn Park, Hot Springs, AR, April 12-14, 2007

I think I might have mentioned McChump #2 has this thing for Arkansas Derby weekend at Oaklawn. Oh of course, he sort of liked it before, like when we went a few years back, but now, after the muddy mess he saw the one year, when the swells in their expensive suits had to piggyback women in their finery through the mud of the track to the infield for the post-race ceremonies, well ... he's hooked. I mean, that's there's class. So, somehow, here we are again ... and man, we're hoping it will rain, so someone can get a picture this time ... unlike the dummy who didn't think quick enough last time. Dummy.

I never got a picture from this angle before. Hardly recognize the place.

Steve A. leads Curlin out for saddling.

Curlin in the post parade.

Fixin' to load, in beautiful Hot Springs.

Past the stands the first time.

Here is Curlin winning, only a nose in front of his many stalwart rivals. What a horse! What a training job!

$934,000 to win, and most of it right.

A circle full of happy winners, and no mud to walk through this year. Tragically.

Of course, going to the races wasn't all we did in Hot Springs. Oh no. There were groovy bars in groovy hotels to visit at night, with fascinating music and some of the most interesting crowds you've ever encountered. Groovy bars above restaurants and around back alleys, more fascinating music and people, and groovy bars across the street from Oaklawn. And, well, ever so many other fun things, I'm sure. And I swear I took pictures of them.

However it turns out that most -- well, all -- of those pictures I thought I took, the next day I remembered I was really playing oh-so-arty movie director with my little digital camera, with the thing mostly stuck on video. But I'll tell you, those movies didn't turn out nearly so clever and groovy by the light of day as they seemed the nights I was shooting them after a brewski or two. In fact, if there is a word opposite of groovy, that's how the little movies turned out. Perhaps "stupid" would be the word I'm looking for - and I'm pretty sure I recall McChump #2 telling me that at the time, but I was in no mood to be deterred. At any rate, they're unwatchable, so no fun extracurricular pictures for you this trip.

Maybe next time!