Tango Diva : Travel Stories for Women, by Women

May 2nd, 2008
Kentucky Barfy!

So there I was in a private car driving home from stunning Lexington-area horse country with famed restauranteur Danny Meyer. Between his business calls, I was hoping to talk to him about food, restaurants and travel.

Earlier, we had blown our minds on the realities of stud farms at elite Three Chimneys Farm. The 2000-acre farm is picture perfect–just how you would imagine Kentucky to look. Perfectly manicured lawns! Acres of them!

And boasting some of the greatest blood lines per bluegrass ratio in the world. Now in the human world, men pay WOMEN for sex, but in horseland, the best boys get paid upwards of $100,000 per session. And they are productive with scheduled sessions at 9 AM, 2 PM, 7 PM. Jeez. We met sons of Seattle Slew, paid tribute at his grave, and met Smarty Jones.

As we twisted and turned down perfect fenced lanes, the rolling green hills of horse farms offering up a bounty of new baby foals running alongside their mommy mares (awwww…), I started to feel dizzy. My head swam. I only had a single Mint Julep at a lunch party at the GORGEOUS Woodford Reserve distillery. WTF?

So there we were, Danny and me, him handicapping in advance of the Oaks race today (fabulous fillies-only–second most famed race at Churchill), and me, concentrating fiercely on the horizon, cursing the ten Pepto Bismal tablets that didn’t seem to be working.

A note on my Diva constitution–lived in a village in India for months, traveled with Bedouin across southern Jordan, even spent a weekend at the Jersey Shore and survived!

So I ignored my tummy like a puppy-dog lover nudging me for more. No more. No time. Big day today. Darling Danny, so handsome, so soft-spoken, sat next to me pouring over his Racing Form.

I whispered to the driver–instead of Churchill Downs, could ya take me to my hotel first? I’m a resourceful gal. With our without this private car, I could probably get to the Downs before the Oaks race at 5:45.

Danny got off his call and wanted to know what’s up. I said I felt sick. He wondered if we should pull over. “You’re the boss now,” both driver and Danny agreed. So I told ’em to pull over on the Interstate outside Louisville. The rain was starting to pour. I crouched down on the highway’s shoulder and tossed my cookies. Kentucky Barfeyed. Up-chucked.

Poor Danny, his whole career dedicated to getting food DOWN people. You know?

And what can you say after that? Sorry. “It happens to all of us,” said Mr. Meyer. Said I–but I’m an iron-stomach travel Diva!

Happily, now sitting bundled in a towel plus PJ’s in my hotel bed, shaking with chills, watching Ginger Punch come in first in the 6th race today (honey, do you need another win? Ya already won over 2 million…), thunder cracking outside, I feel okay about not being at my finish line box seat outside in the rain. You know?

So, Danny, fair Manhattan-cornering restaurant owner and author, sorry that I barfed outside your car on the way to the Oaks race. So who did you pick to win? We never got to that. Awesome Chic? Pink-clad Rasierra? Well hopefully I brought you some luck. I mean, gamblers love omens, right? Right?

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