The fancy people in their fancy clothes in the fancy place at Churchill Downs -- the so-called Millionaire's Row -- looked very sad for being so fancy and so rich. To be sure, on the upper levels at Churchill there are several Millionaire's Rows. It's just impossible to fit them into one row. We're certain there were many more than one millionaire up there
(Millionaires' Row as opposed to Millionaire's row) but that's the way
they spell it here. When something is repeated for the 127th time,
you just go with what they tell you.
Maybe they were forlorn because they were the ones who had made Point Given a 9-5 Kentucky Derby favorite. The infield crowd could never be responsible for driving down the odds. The hope is that on the way home from the Derby they carried no responsibilities whatsoever. Designated drivers for all.
There seemed to be no rules for the infield crowd. If there were, many were broken. But the fancy people had to conform with all sorts of regulations.Coats and ties for the men. "Look pretty" was the instruction to the women. But it wasn't enough to be fancy. The fancy people were compelled to wear wristbands signifying their right to be in the fancy place.
Just like a high school keg party, except these people could buy beer distributorships. And beyond the $500 tickets they were asked to pay more money for the right to eat. Three college-age part-timers stood guarding the food. This is what credit cards are for. They're for saving all available cash to make the Point Givens of the world 9-5 in a 17 horse field.
And while the wristbands they wore signified they belonged in this fancy place, they were out of touch with what was being celebrated four stories below. Monarchos had been ridden to victory by Jorge Chavez, who spent the better part of his childhood in a car. It wasn't like he always wanted to drive a NASCAR machine. He was so poor he lived in a car.
Cars were waiting for the fancy people, but they were looking at head-on replays wondering if the jockey, whose rise to prominence was a longshot, would have his horse be taken down in favor of an animal whose very existence defies some laws of nature. If you asked Invisible Ink he'd probably tell you he's happy just to live another day. But his rider, John Velazquez, was asking for the order to be reversed.
This inquiry was denied. But it took some time. The stewards were making their call based only on the video tape. Which horse did what. It was either going to be Monarchos, ridden by a jockey so blessed to have come out of poverty, or Invisible Ink -- so blessed to be alive.
It's not like some of the fancy people couldn't relate to that. Some of them had no doubt risen out of nothing. And some of them had probably faced and beaten death.
But right now they had the look of beaten favorites. But they still had their wristbands. They belonged. And down below them a couple of the less advantaged had found their place.