The hats were more subdued, the infield was closed, and the breasts were bundled up (at least from my vantage point). But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t any decadence and depravity on display when Louisville’s Churchill Downs hosted the Breeders’ Cup, horse racing’s world championships, and billed as the richest event in sports, Nov. 4-5.
Festivities kicked off that Tuesday night with Jocktails hosted by Grey Goose at Prime Lounge. Rather than working the track’s inside rail, celebrity jockeys worked the bar rail, mixing drinks to a packed invitation-only crowd. All tips benefited the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.
Speaking of tips, here are my wagering ones for this Friday’s hip Downs After Dark at Churchill Downs, which are entirely based on the jockeys’ bartending skills. I’m 10 for 88 in cashing winning tickets this year (relax honey, I’m only down $399.17), so picking a horse based on its jockey’s mixological ability makes as much sense as whatever the hell my system is:
- Julien Leparoux poured a strong Grey Goose Zenyatta (1.25 oz. Grey Goose Le Citron, 2.5 oz. Simply Pink Lemonade, mint sprig garnish), named after the mare who was 19-0 before losing by a head last year in her attempt to repeat as Breeders’ Cup Classic champ. But more significantly, he gave my date a strong hug that left her raving about how ripped he was. Look for Leparoux to do well on a filly.
- James Graham said the most difficult drink to mix was the signature cocktail of the Breeders’ Cup, Down the Stretch (mix 1.5 parts Grey Goose Le Citron, 3 parts sweetened ice tea, 0.5 part lime juice, 1/3 part sugar syrup and 0.5 part Chambord Raspberry Liquor; shake; strain and serve in a highball glass with ice cubes and garnish with lemon, mint and raspberry). Naturally, that’s what I asked him to make. Don’t mess with a jockey. Graham returned with a strong yet delicious cocktail that had my date ready to call the bar veterinarian to put me down. Look for Graham to do well on a mouthy horse that needs tough love with the whip.
The Grey Goose Zenyatta was sold throughout the weekend in Louisville, with proceeds benefitting the V Foundation, which is helping find a cure for cancer.
Pictured: Jockey Rajiv Maragh shows off his work to an appreciative audience.