Rac­ing man goes all the way to Ken­tucky

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By JIM CHIPP

A trip to Louisville, Ken­tucky, was Bernie Wood’s 70th birth­day gift from his son.

The pair made the ex­pe­di­tion to the leg­endary race course to at­tend the Ken­tucky Derby on the first Satur­day in May.

On the way they de­toured to Mem­phis to in­dulge an­other of Mr Wood’s pas­sions, Elvis Pres­ley.

‘‘We spent three hours, my son and I, go­ing through Grace­lands and the grounds,’’ he said. ‘‘I’ve been a fan all my life. Of­ten im­per­son­ated him at birth­day par­ties, fam­ily shows and so on.’’

They made an­other de­tour on the way to Ken­tucky, to Mem­phis, Ten­nessee, where they took in a show at the Grand Ole Opry.

The Derby ‘‘ was bril­liantly pre­sented’’, said the Whitby res­i­dent and pres­i­dent of Porirua Vik­ings Rugby League Club.

There were no queues to place bets, or to buy drinks or food, in spite of a crowd of 96,000 peo­ple.

When the Univer­sity of Louisville March­ing Band struck up My Old Ken­tucky Home they all stood, hands on heart, to sing.

Mr Wood sam­pled the mint julep tra­di­tion­ally served at the track on Derby Day, and brought home the cup it was served in.

So did the bour­bon-based cock­tail hit the spot? ‘‘The third one did.’’ Mr Wood said he may have watched a lit­tle of his­tory be­ing made. ‘ Bodiemeis­ter’ led the race com­fort­ably only to be run down and beaten by ‘I’ll Have An­other’ on the final straight.

Two weeks later at Pim­lico in Bal­ti­more the two horses re­peated the per­for­mance in the Preak­ness Stakes.

If ‘I’ll Have An­other’ wins the Bel­mont Stakes in El­mont, New York, in early June, she will win the Triple Crown, a feat not achieved since 1973.

It didn’t help Mr Wood, though. His bet­ting ticket was on favourite ‘ Union Rag’, which stum­bled out of the gate and fin­ished mid-field.

Cheers: Bernie Wood raises a glass of mint julep to good times at Churchill Downs, Ken­tucky.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.