The one hundred and thirty-fourth running of the Kentucky Derby is a thrilling, colorful, romantic event for those who don’t even know ‘…which end eats’! For those who’ve been ‘…throwing a leg over…’ – it’s all of the above…plus a predictable and oft-occurring tragedy.
The American Horse Industry must have a …’quick money crop’…so they race babies. A horse is not mature until it’s five years old. Racing three years olds is like taking a three year old child, strapping a thirty pound pack on it’s back, and asking it to run a mile! The British Horse Industry never races a horse until it’s five years old. Many of the winners of their Grand National are ten years old or over. Some have been gently ‘hunted’ and legged-up slowly. A mare, ‘Emblematic’, whose portrait is hanging in a home on Oakwood Avenue, won the Grand National when she was ten, and was third when she ran again at thirteen. Very few American Thoroughbreds who have ‘raced’ have a leg to stand on by the time they’re that age…*End of ‘rant’.
‘333 Oakwood Avenue’ was the Churchill Downs scene for Oakwood-ites who ‘attended’ the Derby. Aileen and Bud Welch hosted the ‘race’ at their terrific condo. Bud and Fred Ohmer were the ‘race track ‘touts’ who took the money and allowed race-goers to take a ‘ticket’ out of the hat. And guess who ‘drew’ the winning ticket…host Bud Welch…does that seem ‘rigged’ or what?
All the ladies were required to wear hats. Marty Ohmer wore a large, red, flowered hat. Hostess Aileen wore a large, black number with a large yellow flower that co-ordinated her yellow blouse and large yellow corsage. Marilyn Ganz had a large Kelly-green hat, jacket, and ear-rings. Talk about co-ordination!
Jane Heywood had a great natural straw ‘boater’. Dotty Bachus and Midge Harlan both wore ‘knitted’ natural linen-like hats that were the envy of all. Nancy Gillaugh’s big, black, feathered hat certainly co-ordinated (you getting tired of that word?) with her black ’n white dress.
Now Marty Wind defied the ‘hat’ order. “I put my hat out to bring home from Florida…and then I forgot it!” she was forgiven. Oh, and Patty Ballard did not wear ‘Derby duds’. She was stunning, but we was costumed as a ‘20’s flapper’ with black mesh hose, very short shift, gold head band, and…”I’m going to a ‘20’s party at the Packard Museum…the host is celebrating his eightieth…”
Now, of course, the gentlemen all looked nice too…Bob Wind, Joe Aceto, George Maley, Tom Gillaugh, and Jim Harlan….
After the race the ‘spectators’ headed to NCR Country Club for dinner. The attraction in the dining room was a table of Fairmont High School seniors having their pre-prom dinner. Two couple were really ‘co-ordinated’ . (There’s that word again) One girl was dressed on bright orange and her date wore a matching orange jacket. The other wore bright blue which matched her dates bright, blue jacket.
Members of the ‘Oakwood Centennial Club’ received their ‘pins’ in the mail on Friday along with a list of fellow members. The list of members was too long to count but it looks like there are several hundred. And, several ‘members’ wore their pins to Derby Parties.
Jill Reeder Kendall called Friday: “Can I borrow some saddles and bridles…I need them for decorations at Dayton Country Club’s Derby Party. I’m determined to get that party going again. It used to be a really big, fun affair. There are a lot of old members who rode at the DCC Stables years ago…hope some will come on Saturday.”
If Jill’s in charge, it’ll ‘go’. Her Dad, Jack Reeder was one of the first Masters of the Miami Valley Hunt. “When you come over, I’ll show you your father’s old saddle-cleaning-rack’ he gave me years ago…”
Walter and Susan Schaller seem always to be testing their individual skills. Several weeks ago, Susan, who is a master quilter won third place in the Amateur Division of Wall Quilts and second place in the Fabric Art Division of the 2008 Indiana Heritage Quilt Show. Kate Burch won second place under Wall Quilts. They were the only Ohio winners! And then husband, Walter, who is a runner par excellence, ran this year’s Boston Marathon just a couple of weeks ago, bettering his last year’s time by 4 minutes.
And there he was…Ed Rodabaugh, eighty years of age (looking more like 65 to tell the truth) celebrating his 80th amidst an array of Packard cars in the Packard Museum at a party arranged by his wife, Susie. All three sons came in for the big event - Tom and Beth Rodabaugh were in from Abu Dhabi (Tom is with Northrop Grumman Corp.), Scott and Tina Rodabaugh in from New York and Chuck and Barb Rodabaugh who were in from just around the corner on Wiltshire. And not to forget Ben and Zach, Ed and Susie’s grandsons. It was lively fun, lots of wonderful toasts to the “man of the night,” and a great way to move into the eighth decade.