Pack the Right Tack
No well managed horse goes to the track without a foot box or tack box. A tack box, the equivalent of a ladies handbag, is stocked with all the equipment and emergency supplies that may be required for a day at the races.
Tack boxes contain everything from safety pins to shipping boots and are generously proportioned. Our handbags, not so generously proportioned, will never contain everything we want, but with judicial packing may contain everything we need. Let me take this opportunity to remind you of a few things you might want to toss in your clutch.
Warning, the Kentucky Derby is held in Kentucky, state motto: Unbridled Weather Conditions. Umbrellas are on the taboo list at the security gate, so, In the event of a rainy event having a bag, a dry cleaner’s bag will do, will save your charming Derby Hat (see blogs Hold on to Your Hat and Derby Tip of the Week- April 6 ). If you have room, pack two or three — be someone’s hero.
Kentucky weather, who knows? My parents-in-law were married here in May. Family lore has it the day was so hot that candles melted and drooped in the church. If the sun shines too bright on the Old Kentucky Home you’ll want sun block. Your big ol’ Derby Hat will provide protection for your face but bare shoulders call for SP 30 at least. Note: make sure your sunblock is in a plastic bottle. No glass allowed past the front gate.
Don’t pack the entire collection of war paint. Think damage control. A lipstick and compact should do for repairs. Troweling make-up on top of make-up is never a good idea unless you share a box with Cirque de Soeil. A couple of cotton swabs or cotton balls will be sufficient for cosmetic wear and tear. Here’s a handy and space saving product; rice paper sheets, available at most cosmetic counters will knock down any unwanted shine and take up very little space.
All right, I admit it. Horse races and curtain calls make me teary. These days one can’t always count on a gentleman to have a hanky at the ready. Stow a few Kleenex.
My friend P. dines out on her “Derby From Hell” story. She tells it so much better than I ever could. Suffice it to say, the punch line is “a kind woman in the ladies room had safety pins.” A word to the wise…
Pens or Pencils:
If you’re serious about your wagers, you’d best take notes. Since I’m indecisive by nature and prone to sudden hunches and handicapping epiphanies, I like mechanical pencils — the ones with erasers. If I erase my initial picks, I don’t have to face the “shoulda dones” when the long shot comes in. By the way, bring several pens or pencils but leave the Cartier fountain pen at home. An elegant writing instrument may finish off your look but nothing kills a good time like losing a cherished objet d’art.
I’ve always included horse yummies in Tophat’s tack box, why not treat myself as well? The food at Churchill is good and plentiful but not always easily accessible. Anyway, sometime, say after 4 races and not a horse in the money, a girl needs a pick me up. My favorite, a local product, caramel and sea salt truffles and bourbon truffles are almost as good as hitting an exacta. Pack plenty, you’ll win friends even if you don’t win races.
As usual, I’m sure I’ve forgotten something. Oh yeah, be sure to bring your patience, humor and good nature. Every woman has a secret stash of the aforementioned. In a crowd of 150,000, It’ll come in handy and just may make your day.
For complete list of what you can and cannot bring into churchill, see Churchill Downs Hospitality and Security Procedures.
by Jan Masters Yon