No, I’m not talking about Russ Steele losing his “privilege” to write a column for The Union (using George Rebane’s definition). That decision was a “no brainer” once the suits at Swift decided to step up and preserve what is left of “The Onion” (again, George’s word, not mine). I suppose more shoes will drop before it’s over.
Instead, I’m talking about our Easter break vacation. Though I’m no fan of “negotiating” with children, I cut this deal with my son: You can go to Disenyland if I can go to the Santa Anita Derby.
I’ve been going out to Santa Anita near Los Angeles since childhood – more to watch the thoroughbreds race than to bet. My friend and I used to ride our bikes to the track for the 9th race, when admission was free. It is a happy childhood memory. (This longtime experience is why I’m so interested in the battle to honor the famous racehorse “Noor,” who is buried at Loma Rica Ranch).
This weekend, one of my favorite horses, a 3-year-old colt named “Sidney’s Candy” was running in the Derby – a prep race for the Kentucky Derby on May 1. The sire, “Candy Ride,” won the $1 million Pacific Classic at Del Mar in 2003, breaking the track record before he was retired to stud.
The horse belongs to the stable of Jenny Craig and her late husband Sid, who are horse owners, entrepreneurs and philanthropists. We’re not that kind of horse people, mind you, but I’ve run into Sid over the years at Del Mar, and he was always gracious and friendly. Sid died of cancer last year.
In Saturday’s race at Santa Anita, “Sidney’s Candy” went wire-to-wire to win and is now going to the Kentucky Derby. It was an exciting race. I bet $5 and collected enough to pay our admission and parking for the day. The art-deco-designed track has been magnificantly restored, with flowers and statues.
My son is becoming a decent handicapper himself, having picked two winners – one because he had a “2″ next to his name (his favorite number) and the other because his name sounded like a cartoon character (“Giganticus”). Picking horses is no different than picking stocks or politicans – luck also prevails.
On Sunday, we’re headed to the church where I went as a child for Easter Sunday – Church of our Savior in San Gabriel. It’s where George Patton was baptized and his family is buried. My son will receive his first Holy Communion soon, so we’re getting “warmed up.”
Then we’re off to Disneyland before heading home. We notice the economy is doing much better down here – more jobs I suppose. Lots of traffic, though.
We hope you have a happy and relaxing Easter Sunday and a decent break, too, if you can.
Here’s the race from an L.A. Times video: