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Issue 92 - Backing the favourite

Whisky Magazine Issue 92
December 2010


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Backing the favourite

Mr Broom ponders the similarities between horse racing and the great whisky race...

It was around Lexington when the Boilermakers kicked in and the absurdity of travelling the back roads of Kentucky in a disco-lit stretch Hummer in a fully lubricated state hit home.

Quite where the golfing trousers bow tie fitted into the equation is another story, safe to say it had something to do with the dress code at the race track - though at least I didn't take the term literally and wear a frock like a (male) barkeep of my acquaintance did when he was presented with the same dilemma. A day at Keeneland racetrack demands standards, at least in the upper floors where we were initially ensconced.

Trackside, however is where the action is. A mass of beer vendors, race rats, the newly bemused bamboozled by the betting and the old guys trying to impress young girls, families laughing as Dad puts the month's mortgage on a horse, all of us shuffling on a carpet of ripped up slips and crumpled hopes, but what the hell, there's a Bloody Mary cart right here.

As usual at a race track there was remarkable equanimity about the whole experience of losing money, though this time I didn't simply load all the cash onto the longest shot in each race - always the recourse of the desperate (i.e. crap) gambler, or the guy who heard from his barber that another customer's cousin's sister was a stable lad for Lucky Boy and despite it being 100-1 it would come in.

I studied the form, but then sought advice from the Hummer disco driver whose happy demeanour (as he restocked the fridge ag...

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