Spring Break conjures up images of frenzy college fun on some sunny beach far away from school and any sort of responsibilities. My daughters are not immune to this notion of taking a road trip during this week, although being in 1st and 5th grade doesn’t exactly lend well to a South Padre destination. Although I strongly encouraged the girls to consider spending the week at home, cleaning their rooms and helping me with chores, they were most persuasive, “Let’s go to Grandpa’s and drink his liquor!” Okay, they didn’t exactly say that, but they wanted to visit my Dad who lives in Arkansas.
Originally, I coaxed them into a side trip to Hot Springs but mutiny ensued when they discovered that Hot Springs was not the Taj Mahal of waterparks but in fact, home to Oaklawn Park and horse racing - not their idea of Spring Break fun. Needless to say, we ended up settling on a trip to Tulsa, Oklahoma, spending the night at the Embassy Suites along with 27,944 other kids who, by sheer coincidence, were all in the pool at the same time.
However, it’s noteworthy that Tulsa has a connection to Florida Derby winner and serious Kentucky Derby contender, Quality Road. Richard Linihan of the Tulsa World alerted horse racing fans that Quality Road’s trainer, Jimmy Jerkens, is the brother of KJRH’s Sports Director, Big Al Jerkens.
Serendipity! Once again I find myself closely linked to a potential Derby winner! I’ve been to Tulsa. Jimmy Jerkens’ brother lives in Tulsa. And Oklahoma and Texas are kind of close on a map, if you are lucky enough to have a map according to Miss South Carolina Teen.
Seizing the opportunity to learn more information about Jimmy Jerkens, I fired off an email to Big Al, anticipating a response or anecdote, like “Jimmy’s a phenomenal horseman; he was practically born in a barn (no offense, Mom),” or “Nobody could pull off the classic Flaming Bag of Horse Poop prank better than Jimmy,” or “Jimmy and I do not enjoy a close relationship since the summer of ’74 when he swiped my Thurman Munson rookie card and stuck it in the spokes of his bicycle tires to make a motor sound. It chewed up the card and I’m still mad.”
Unfortunately, Big Al has not responded to my email. One can theorize that perhaps my email ended up in Big Al’s spam folder or Big Al, being a New York Ranger’s fanatic, is busy interviewing the new Ranger’s Superfan.
Anyway, Quality Road is Jimmy Jerkens’ first Derby starter and today he’s been installed as the favorite in the final Kentucky Derby Future Wagers pool.