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Winning and losing at Leopardstown: The Red Mills Irish Championship Stakes

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Dressed up for the races!
Dressed up for the races!
A college friend of Kev’s (also named Kev – why do all Irish Kevins discard the second syllable?) is big into horseracing, and asked us along last Saturday to Leopardstown, a track in south Dublin. It was one of their big days of the year – The Red Mills Irish Champion Stakes, to be specific – and it was also Ladies’ Day! I managed to wiggle my way out of a shift at work, dug out my string of pearls (because why not), and was good to go.
 
Sadly for us, but sadder for the jockeys, Saturday really felt like the first day of winter: it was cold and wet and cloudy and altogether dismal all day. That didn’t seem to stop any of the women competing for Best Dressed however! And, thinking back on it, the height of the heels and the hemlines of the skirts and the delicacy of the hats and fascinators did sprinkle a little bit more life into the grey day. Despite my very best efforts, I'm ashamed to say I did not win.
 
I’m not a good gambler. The Kevs pushed me to put down a fiver (or was it a tenner?) on the second race, and when I lost, I lost my nerve. A horse named Barack ran in the third race, so of course they were saying that I, the American, should bet on it. Its odds were pretty bad and I’d just been burned, so of course I didn’t and then of course he won and I would have made more than 10 times my money back. We had money in to win a jackpot if we predicted the winners of several races in a row, and that lost as well, so I stopped betting at that point and was officially grumpy!
A misty day at Leopardstown Racecourse
A misty day at Leopardstown Racecourse
 
I love watching horseracing though, and it’s great to go with someone who really understands what’s going on. In between races we wandered around and looked at the next race’s horses, got drinks and stared at the pretty dressed up ladies, and the two Kevs shouted at each other about statistics.
 
I dusted off my pride enough to put two euro on a horse (the favorite) in race six called The United States, and I think it was the only favorite of the day to actually win; I was thoroughly chuffed to collect my €3.50, let me tell you.
 
The Fugue winning the Irish Champion Stakes
The Fugue winning the Irish Champion Stakes
The big race was race seven. I was DONE spending and losing money, so I didn’t place any bets. Kev and Kev argued about who to back, and when the one who really knows racing said he wouldn’t bet on a horse called The Fugue simply because she was a female horse, and he didn’t like to bet on fillies in an otherwise male horse race, it crossed my feminist mind that “harRUMPH I ought to bet on her!” And I didn’t, and she won, big upset. Sigh.
 
 
I did end up leaving in good spirits, however, because outside the track there was a woman selling two big bars of Toblerone for only €5! Win!
Feeling luckier with my chocolate!
Feeling luckier with my chocolate!

 

 

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