Posted by Avram Freedberg
Yes, we’re crazy… crazy about horses, especially Ahvee’s Destiny. We left the house at 5:30 for the airport and arrived in Ft Lauderdale around 10:30. The taxi driver took us to Sportsman’s Park before we got through to him that it was Gulfstream Park that was to be our destination… but he and we made it. We went right to the Stable Gate to the holding barn, where horses are sequestered for 6 hours before they race to make sure no one is fooling with them (they also go there after the race until they provide a urine specimen, if they are one of the top finishers).
After sending some quality time with Ahvee, who was calm and let us kiss her and do a little snuggling, Jeobani, her groom, braided her mane and we went off to meet Patsy and Becky at the Horsemen’s Suite. We went to lunch. It was so nice that they drove 3 hours to meet us! Thanks, ladies. Our friend of over 35 years, Barbara also joined us from Boca. It was so pleasant.
Of course, I couldn’t eat before the race. Oops, it’s a new diet… the horse race diet. Lots of Adrenaline very little food. Ahvee’s Destiny was to run in the third race. So, it wasn’t long before we headed down to the paddock to see her saddled up by assistant trainer, Samantha. Then “Jersey” Joe Bravo (so named because he has often been the top rider on the New Jersey circuit) came wearing the new “Cricket” silks. They looked great! Before we knew it, the horses were on their way to the track.
The on-line services didn’t allow me to bet at 5AM, so I had to bet at the track (Yes, Maury, I placed your $10 Place bet). When I went to the window, Ahvee was listed with odds of 5-2. Moments later, she was even money. I didn’t think a few hundred could do that to the odds.
Anyway, we sat in a beautiful box and I tried to use my binoculars. Linda always says she prefers to watch the race on a big screen but I always loved viewing the race live with the binoculars. Well, she was right again. There were several obstructions and the screen would have been better… but it was good enough.Joe Bravo got her going into second. So, she was well placed but then she must have wanted to run because he almost ran into the back of the horse in front of him and had to take back. Before you knew it, she was a few lengths back But as they turned for home a lane opened up against the rail and Joe took her through the gap. Once again, an obstruction and when they came back into view, it seemed like she was being overtaken by a horse named My Kim. But she hadn’t gotten into gear yet. We started screaming as Joe rode her perfectly down the stretch and she won pretty easily by 2 ½ lengths.
Another of Linda’s horses, Mohegan Sky came in third and that one’s owner joined our entourage in the Winners Circle. And, yes, I was wearing my own new “Cricket” silks too. After the “win” photo, they took one of me and Joe Bravo in matching silks.
NOW it was time to eat (and cash those winning tickets). Then back to say goodbye to Ahvee’s Destiny. She looked tired, which is typical after a race and, finally, with the adrenaline rush fading, I came down pretty hard too. So, we left to the airport but not before getting some world famous Jaxon’s ice cream.
The adventure wasn’t over though we were pretty spent and crashed at the airport. Oops, that was poor wording. Well, we got on what was a pretty uneventful flight until the pilot tried to land. Then it seemed someone was fighting the pilot for control of the aircraft. Sharp bank left… roll to the right… sharp bank left, roll right… left, right… getting near the ground and … PULL UP! Then we did it all over again. It was quite disconcerting.The pilot got on the PA system to apologize to us. For the chauvinists among us, the answer became clear when the female voice said, “This is the pilot speaking…” Ok, Ok – no cards and letters please.All-in-all, it was a very special day!