Part II: The Bugler Diversion
mission (noun) errand; commission; an assignment one is sent to carry out with unwavering zeal the morning after imbibing too many vodka martinis.
The mission at the Lone Star Derby was to have my picture taken with Bob Baffert. It was noted that he was in North Texas to race Samba Rooster in the Lone Star Derby (Gr. III) and to eat a couple of Whataburgers.
As the afternoon progressed and I enjoyed a second frozen margarita, I began to think that the Bob Baffert Mission, as I began to refer to it, was becoming somewhat silly. Surely, one could conclude that this strange “obsession”, all for the purpose of contributing to a "humor" blog, could be interpreted as the beginnings of some kind of Weirdo-Paparazzi-Groupie Syndrome. Besides, what’s so interesting, much less funny, about having my picture taken with the renowned trainer, Bob Baffert?
As I sipped my frozen margarita, I noticed Curlin’s prominent trainer / area resident, Steve Asmussen, ambling through the railfolk, making his way to his usual observation post at the top of the stretch, prior to the start of the 7th race.
I was struck by a sudden thought: Wouldn’t it be funny if I asked Steve Asmussen to take my picture with Bob Baffert? Oh no, wait, … even funnier … Steve Asmussen taking my picture with Bob Baffert as he’s holding a Steve Asmussen bobblehead??
I laughed so hard, I let out a loud snort, startling an older gentleman who just happened to be standing next to me.
We looked at each other with surprise. Then I heard him mutter something about, “women” and “liquor” and "handicapping expertise of a stale loaf of bread" as he marched off to a nearby pari-mutuel clerk. I could not determine if, per chance, the phrases were relative.
Realistically, the Bob Baffert Mission was downright absurd. I shook my head in disgust, trying to squash the objective and concentrate on something more important: the Pick-5, a new wager offered by Lone Star Park with only a 12% take-out for all of you multi-race bettors reading this tripe.
As I sifted through my racing program, I caught sight of a woman. There was something very recognizable about her. Perhaps it was her blonde hair. Maybe it was her red coat. Or, it might have been the black top hat she wore. But most likely, it was that rather unusually elongated trumpet she was holding. And, given the fact, she was standing in the Winner’s Circle prior to the Call to Post.
I trembled with excitement. I know her, I know her, I know her, I thought. That’s Whatshername! Umm … Barbie … Bobbie … Billie … Beverly … Bootie …B …B… B..B..B.BBBBBBBBBBBBB …
“Hey, Bonny!” I called, hopefully.
The attractive bugler turned to me with a gracious smile. (Whew). “What brings you to Texas?” I inquired.
Bonny Brown, the famed woman bugler of Arlington Park, gave me a girlish chuckle, “I moved here. My husband got a job here*.”
*(Author’s note: Unsure as to whether “here” means “Lone Star Park” or “Texas” or “Any other place on the planet that is neither Chicago nor Canberra”).
“Welcome to Texas. I hope you like it.”
“Well, I certainly love this wonderful weather! It’s so pleasant and warm. Not like Chicago this time of year.”
Heh, heh, I thought. Just wait until August.
I snapped her photo. If I was unable to take a photo of Bob Baffert this day, then surely Bonny Brown would suffice; sort of like being Miss Congeniality.
But post time for the Lone Star Derby was rapidly approaching. And was I really going to give up the Bob Baffert Mission?