14 June 2006

Bettin' blind from Baltimore

The King had surgery this week, so yes, we're a tad behind here at the Castle. Still, I feel the need to mention our trip to the Belmont Stakes, as it marks the anniversary of our first trip to the track.

We started by heading to Baltimore. It's a bit out of the way from Pittsburgh, but Baltimore has at least one bar that serves White Carnations in honor of the race. Really, though, we have to go to Baltimore because that's where we catch the bus.

T-shirt from 2005 Belmont Bus TripOrganized by two avid horseplayers, the Bettin' Blind from Baltimore bus trip is enough to make a racing fan out of anyone. The morning of the Belmont Stakes, fifty to sixty folks board the bus in South Baltimore at 6:30 sharp. Coffee and Danish start the trip, followed by Bloody Marys from Jersey to Long Island. There's a Cigar Contest for picking the most winners, and horses are touted by the group's turf expert, the Wizard of the Weeds (aka the Marquis de Sod), the Notebook Mafia (don't ask), and last year's Cigar Contest champion. All passengers receive a T-shirt featuring original artwork to commemorate the trip. The group is deposited at Belmont's doorstep. After the races, the return to Baltimore is highlighted by pizza from Umberto's and the traditional showing of Let It Ride.
It's a blast.

It's also one way racing can grow. In the roughly 25 years that the dynamic duo has been organizing this trip, they've created dozens of new fans for the sport, including the Quinella Queen. Using that oldest of advertising techniques, word of mouth, the two fill up a touring bus each year -- and still have a waiting list. No corporate sponsorship, no support staff or marketing team, nothing but a willingness to share their passion for ponies and parties.

Here at the Castle, we're trying our best to follow in their footsteps. So far, it looks like we can fill a Honda Element for the West Virginia Derby.


Baloo said...

I live in Baltimore and never heard of Mum's. Thanks to you, I will give it a try. Thanks!