Pink faces with a stylish Southern sag, old Ivy styles, seersucker coats and buttondown collars. “Mayblossom Senility” … burnt out early or maybe just not much to burn in the first place. Not much energy in these faces, not much curiosity.
Total chaos, no way to see the race, not even the track … nobody cares. Big lines at the outdoor betting windows, then stand back to watch winning numbers flash on the big board, like a giant bingo game.
OK, so that was Hunter S. Thompson at the Kentucky Derby, not the Bitches at the Gold Cup. But the scene I encountered upon waddling from the bus to our tent on the track did conjure up a passage or two in my head from that infamous “The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved” article. After all, it was my first time at a horse race. So I had only Hunter’s imagery to go on.
The 85th annual steeplechase races were held at Great Meadow in The Plains, Virginia. The field was surrounded with white tents full of seersucker pants, flowery hats, and cases and cases of champagne. 50,000 spectators had staged a mass exodus of Washington, D.C. to enjoy the stunning weather and the hurdle and timber horse races. This, I thought as I toasted my first flute with my ladies, is going to be a grand day.
Cori Sue and I went to the event with the Capital Club, which is a group of successful young men who party together for good causes in the DC area. I have to say, those boys were so welcoming and fun. There were about four or five bus-loads of us carted from Glover Park to the races and back with the Whitney Houston song “How Will I Know” on repeat, full blast. I kid you not.
We sweet-talked our way into Members Hill (like you do) and enjoyed mint juleps, salmon, and a selection of cheeses in the Audi tent. We met some truly interesting people just meandering around the paddocks, including Miss Pamela Pressley, editor in chief of The Cotillion and a vintage-hat collector. I’m hoping she’ll be a guest bitch and regale us with her knowledge of vintage and consignment shopping in the DC area.
Oh, and while we’re on the topic of fabulous hats, did I mention what Cori Sue and I wore? I sported a black-and-white striped stunner with a big knot on the front. Cori Sue went with a lovely flowery white one. I was totally hat-smitten, chasing around the biggest, flashiest ones with my camera most of the afternoon. Just look at some of what I encountered, including this hand-made beauty …
It was a glorious day. It’s not very often you get to wander around a beautiful Virginia field, tent-hop, and drink champagne from 10 am to 6 pm—all in a beautiful dress and fabulous big hat. Apparently someone named Paddy Young rode a horse named Bubble Economy to win the day’s $75,000 purse, but I was too engrossed in our social activities to even notice. Woops!