Kentucky Derby Day Bash 2009

The 135th running of the Kentucky Derby was held this past Saturday, May 2nd. That means that here at Southgate Coins it was Kentucky Derby Day. The day was filled with a variety of hats, cute outfits, good food, and many laughs. This Kentucky Derby Day was by far one of the best when it came to outfits and hats. We all would’ve looked right at home walking around Churchill Downs. Sadly though, when it came to betting on the horses, none of us did so hot, but we’ll get back to that later. Read on to learn more…

 Rusty, Nicole, Marie, and Crystal gather to watch the Kentucky Derby

The centerpiece of my (Cara’s) outfit was a huge black hat with a red ribbon, feathers, and a string of pearls on it. I also had on black capri pants and a top with roses on it—it was the running of the roses after all. I arrived for work around 10:30, and when I entered the shop, Crystal, Nicole, Rusty, and Marie greeted me. Nicole had on a grey business suit that consisted of a black t-shirt, a grey vest, and grey capri pants. She also had on a black hat like mine, but it was smaller and decorated with pretty, burnt-orange flowers and a huge white bow on the back that said KDD 2009. Crystal on the other hand, had on a green derby hat with the number 135 pinned on the front to represent the 135th Kentucky Derby. Along with her derby hat, Crystal had on a buttoned-down shirt with a tan vest and black pants. Shyla, who sported a cowgirl look for Derby Day, soon followed my arrival. Her hat of choice was a brown cowboy-style one wrapped with a rose-colored scarf that was pinned on with a jeweled crown pin. Her cowgirl theme was continued with a flowery, white tiered skirt, a brown sweater, and dark brown cowboy boots. All of us first-arrival girls looked splendid; now we just had to wait for Maya’s arrival to see what she was wearing.

 The Southgate Coins crew poses before the big horse race

Now it’s my (Maya’s) turn! So, for the past several months, I haven’t been working on Saturdays, but for Kentucky Derby Day, I just had to make an exception. After all, this was my third Kentucky Derby Day at Southgate Coins, and I didn’t want to miss out on all the fun. Now that’s not saying I know how to pick winning horses—far from it—but, I still love to get into the horse racing spirit!

 You see, the past two years we were thrilled to have such potential superstars as Street Sense (2007) and Big Brown (2008) win the Derby. Both of them had much advanced publicity, making the race very suspenseful, and something that all the Southgate crew was anticipating. With those two horses in the history books, it looked as though this year had a chance to add to the Kentucky Derby’s rich history as well. But, as the day drew closer, more and more big-name horses got scratched, and everyone’s picks were all over the place, as racing fans tried to figure out who would be on top. Well, as it turned out, the race was a bit anticlimactic. (You’ll find out more about that below, though!)

 Southgate Coins staffers gather in front of the TV for the Running of the Roses

As a little side-story, on the Friday before KDD (May 1, 2009), I was eating lunch at work, and noticed I had a text message. When I looked to see who it was from, it said “Dad.” Since my dad hardly ever sends me text messages, I opened it to find out what he thought he urgently needed to tell me. All he wrote was, “Pick Pioneer of the Nile.” Well, at least that took care of me making my betting choice! Now, I just had to pull together what I would be wearing.

After searching through various department stores looking for an interesting hat and an outfit to match, I decided to dress in bruise-colored shades (black and blue, that is). I had black wedge heels, a bright, peacock-blue skirt, with a black blouse and undershirt; and of course, a matching blue hat. When I arrived at the store, I got to see all the other girls, and Rusty and Marie looking wonderful for our business-casual dress day. Of course, they all seemed happy to see me, but I think it was mostly because I brought some goodies from Chili’s—“skillet queso” beef and cheese dip, yummy salsa, chips, and buffalo wings.

 Nicole dressed in a pantsuit for Kentucky Derby Day at the coin shop

I went to the back, got my buzzer on, and right before I was going to sit down at a computer, Rusty pulled everyone off their tasks, and into the front of the store for what must have been the fifth round of picture taking. And, I have to say, after three years of celebrating this occasion, this crew of girls was the best-dressed group yet. I’m very proud to have been a part of it!

Now here’s Nicole to give her scoop on her very first KDD:

So, as my first Kentucky Derby Day at Southgate Coins was fast approaching, I was only getting more nervous, but also more excited about it. I had heard so many great things about the horseracing and the food, but I had yet to find an outfit to wear or figure out what to do with my hat! I had finally settled on a casual business vest and capri set and then decided I had to put some color into my plain black hat. I had originally planned to have the most insane hat of them all, but after I already had my outfit, I decided to stick to a simple yet classy look and to put some bright orange flowers surrounding my hat and to add a big white bow. It was so exciting to see all the girls arriving as the day progressed (since Crystal and I opened).

 Even the pizza guy gets in on the horse racing action at Southgate Coins

A rather humorous part of the day’s events was all the shocked customers that saw our big hats and cute outfits. Marie and I had one couple ask us what we were all dressed up for and we responded, “Kentucky Derby Day!” as if they were from another planet! They immediately realized their silly mistake and said that now they were going to go home and watch the race themselves. They were so thankful that we had reminded them! Another man came in later that day with his two young children, and although I was in the back working on Web coins, I heard the two small children instantly break out in laughter when they saw Cara and Shyla, who had greeted them. The dad then asked, “Is it crazy hat day here or something?” and when Cara responded that it was Kentucky Derby Day, he still continued to look rather dumbfounded, but at least his children got a kick out of the supposedly “Crazy Hat Day!”

 No horse race is complete without snacks for the coin shop staffers

The day was full of laughs and good times, except for my poor choice of shoes! Thank goodness I spent a majority of the time working on Web coins, otherwise, I just might have been crawling to the front to greet our customers, because my feet were in so much pain! I guess we’ve all heard of the saying “Pain is Beauty” when it comes to stuff like that, but never again!

Now here’s Crystal and Shyla to finally tell us about the big horse race and all the food (which was absolutely spectacular might I add, hehe)!

Before the day started at Southgate Coins, I (Crystal) stopped by the Atlantis Casino to pick up the Kentucky Derby edition of the Racing Form. I felt pretty okay walking into the casino and getting the Form in my Kentucky Derby outfit, because I figured it would be natural to be dressed up, considering that the race would take place later that day. So I was a little disconcerted when I had so many people give me somewhat funny looks. Lol: their loss if they didn’t understand what day it was. Besides, I was much more interested in getting the Form and heading to Southgate to see everyone’s outfits for this special occasion.

 Southgate Coins employees Cara and Shyla pose for pictures

Like all of our special occasions here at Southgate Coins, we had yummy foods to eat. It was interesting, because all of us girls were suppressing our appetites pretty well, until Maya came in around 1 P.M. with a bag from Chili’s that Rusty and Marie had her pick up. It was as if something in us caused by just looking at the food suddenly made us start starving. Even my stomach started growling for the food. However, it was only one o’clock, so we girls had to wait patiently until 3 P.M. for our party to begin. Shortly after 2 P.M., our pizza man delivered the greatest pizza of all time, Blind Onion Pizza! He was a young man and he seemed a little taken aback when we insisted that he have his picture taken with us to help commemorate the day. It was kind of funny, because that seems to be a lot of people’s reactions around here—but, you can’t be camera shy here at Southgate Coins.

At about 3 P.M., all of the customers were gone, our signs were closed, the T.V. was on, and the food was all laid out. All of us girls just looked at the food a moment, and then Maya and I couldn’t wait, so we started eating the chips and salsa from Chili’s. The other girls were still just looking and kind of talking until Maya said, “I don’t know what you all are doing but I’m eating.” Lol; that seemed to break the ice, and soon everyone was digging into all the pizza, chips, salsa, queso, and pink lemonade that Nicole brought in. Then, when we all felt like we couldn’t eat anymore, low and behold, Rusty set a plate of Ms. Field’s cookies in front of us. I couldn’t believe that Marie got us Ms. Field’s cookies, too. They’re the BEST cookies in the whole wide world… she spoils us too much. After our bellies were full, it was finally time for the much-anticipated race. Shyla will tell you all about it.

I (Shyla), along with the other girls, have been anticipating Kentucky Derby Day since we all began watching the qualifying races a couple months before. I’ve been riding horses since I was 6 years old, and I’ve been to what seems like hundreds of rodeos and horse events, but I’ve never had the opportunity to watch the Kentucky Derby before. Pretty odd, right? So, between watching the preliminary races, thinking of crazy hat ideas, and anticipating which horse would pull through in the end, it was definitely an event all of us—and myself in particular—were looking forward to.

Originally, I was planning on placing my bet on Quality Road, but about a week before the race, he had to withdraw because of two quarter cracks on his front hooves. Then the 3-to-1 horse, I Want Revenge, pulled out the day of the race, due to an unfortunate ankle injury.

 A Gullum-lookalike jockey named Calvin Borel takes home the win on Mine That Bird

Things went from being predictable to becoming unpredictable; it looked as though it might be anyone’s race. There still were a couple of top contenders for the title, Pioneerof the Nile (mine & Maya’s pick) and Dunkirk, both at 4-to-1 odds. Then of course, there was Fresian Fire (Nicole & Marie’s pick). But we’d later find out that we weren’t just watching the 135th running of the Kentucky Derby, but also a historical moment in the 135th year of this famous race. 

When the race began it looked as though Pioneerof the Nile might take home the garland of roses, but as the horses turned the final corner, a major upset took place. Out of nowhere, literally, Mine That Bird came flying in between the lead horses to take the front. Not only did he take the lead but he dominated the track! The bay gelding, at 50-to-1 odds, flew to the front and ran so fast that it made it look like the other horses were merely out for a stroll. It was the 2nd biggest upset in 135 years of Derby history. As if the food, the hats, and the event itself weren’t enough of an excitement, this just topped the day off!

I was so glad to be able to share this moment with the rest of the girls at Southgate Coins and I know that all of us will never forget the yummy food, crazy hats, and Mine That Bird!