Next to dressing up in costumes for Halloween, the next biggest dress-up day at Southgate Coins is Kentucky Derby Day. (Of course, this occasion is a little more sophisticated!) This year was my (Nicole’s) third Kentucky Derby Day at Southgate Coins, but this year was quite a bit different from previous years for multiple reasons. It was also more special. Read on to hear about our festive Kentucky Derby Day celebration ... and who else we took by surprise that day!
This Kentucky Derby Day was unlike my past years at Southgate Coins, because in the past we have always had a full staff to work the day, dress up, and celebrate with, but this year it was only Marie, Rusty, and myself, with Maya joining us at closing. However, our short staff did not make the day any less entertaining or exciting.
As usual, the customers that come into the store were good sports when they see us in big, elaborate hats. About 9 times out of 10, they have no clue why we are so dressed up, but nevertheless find it amusing. Once we tell them, they usually laugh and understand the stylish attire, but there are a few you can tell who’ve been hiding under rocks for the past few decades, and have no clue what the Kentucky Derby is. Marie was very classic-looking in a cream- and mauve-colored hat, with a black and beige blouse and black slacks. Rusty wore his infamous Derby attire, with his racing cap and his nice Derby jacket. I wore a bright yellow summer dress, paired with a black dress jacket, with a big black hat that I had decorated myself with big yellow flowers and a yellow ribbon. Maya, who accompanied us later that day with her daughter Embry, wore a long, flowy orange and yellow skirt with a coral-colored top. But of course, we couldn’t help but notice baby Embry, who was pretty in pink; dressed in a deep fuchsia from head to toe!
While Marie and I were closing, Maya had picked up Chili’s so we could munch away while we watched the horse race. (Their queso dip is one of our favorite dishes, so it was an easy decision for Maya and me.) This Kentucky Derby Day was one where there was really no clear winner, unlike previous years where there is always an obvious favorite. Well, at least this meant (Maya and I joked), that we might actually bet a winning horse! Rusty has always been kind enough to place a $2 bet for each of us, on whichever horse we choose, so this year I chose a horse named Twice the Appeal (I liked it because I am a twin), Maya chose Archarcharch, Marie chose Dialed In, and Rusty chose Mucho Macho Man. (A more sentimental favorite to everyone was a horse named Pants on Fire because he had the only female jockey to race, Rosie Napravnik. She is only the 6th female to ever race in the Kentucky Derby, so we were all secretly rooting for them to win as well!)
The race was soon underway, and the predicted leaders were in the front as expected, but as the race quickly unfolded, the leaders began to lose pace and out of nowhere Animal Kingdom, with 20-1 odds, pulled out in front and won the race! It startled us, all since it was yet another year that an unexpected horse won the race. If any of us would’ve chosen Animal Kingdom, with a $2 bet, we would’ve been paid $43.60. Rosie Napravnik, riding Pants on Fire, finished 9th, which was the best finish for a female jockey in the Kentucky Derby so far.
After the unexpected results of the race, Marie, Rusty, and I had a very special surprise for Maya. It’s always fun to surprise Maya because since she’s usually the one to coordinate all the events, she always thinks she’s in-the-know. With Maya’s marriage to her long-time fiancé Matt coming up very quickly, we wanted to celebrate their union. We decided we would keep it simple, yet definitely wanted to acknowledge this once-in-a-lifetime event, so after the horse race ended, we brought out her purple balloons, a cake, and a few small gifts. She was completely shocked, and had no idea we had secretly planned a mini-celebration for her. The cake was a white chocolate-raspberry bundt cake, with a pretty white flower and pearl decorations to complement it. Us three (Rusty, Marie and I) got Maya a Niche gift card to help her in decorating their new apartment and possibly their future house, as well as gift cards to Outback Steakhouse and Century movie theaters for a date night together.
Regardless of the occasion, Southgate Coins and its staff always knows how to make it a memorable occasion. We’re always going above and beyond expectations. It’s one of the many perks being an employee here, and I know although it’s just Maya and me right now, we have never felt more appreciated and a better time being a part of an extended family with Marie, Rusty, and Southgate Coins.