Friday, May 30, 2008

My Square Foot Garden

My parents are coming to Madison tomorrow morning to help me build my very own square foot garden. A square foot garden is essentially a raised bed garden for fruits, vegetables, or flowers, in which seeds are plated in 1x1 square foot plots. Last week, my parents built two 4x8 gardens in their yard, and I remember growing up with similar gardens.

My parents recently became very interested in pursuing a plant-based diet after reading the book, the China Study, which examines the relationship between the consumption of animal products and illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, coronary heart disease, obesity, and osteoporosis. For the last several months, my parents have stuck to a mostly vegetarian diet, and just the other week, my dad went to the doctor and found that his cholesterol has dropped so low, he needs to get it up a little higher. I think this just goes to show that incorporating more plants and less meat in your diet can truly offer dramatic results.

I became fascinated with the concept of my own square foot garden after my parents showed me pictures of their new garden and all of the great herb and vegetables they had planted. Suddenly it dawned on me that I wanted my very own square foot garden and a true chance to put my green thumb to the test! Not to mention all of the amazing vegetables and herbs for summer salads and grilled veggies.

So we’ll see how it goes tomorrow. I’ve selected what I think is a good, sunny plot in our backyard, and my dad has helped me to put together the excel sheet above with my garden layout. Dad is heading out today to pick up the lumber and seeds/plants so we can get right to work after a morning stroll around the downtown farmer’s market. Should be a great weekend and summer project.

And I’m obviously so thankful to my mom and dad for helping me to make this possible. When I asked if they would help, I thought they would be like, ewww, we just planted two of those, and are not so interested in spending our Saturday digging in the mud. But they sounded truly excited to help, and my dad was so generous to offer to get the supplies ready today. That’s just so cool. And by the end of the day tomorrow, I'll have my very own square foot garden!

The Second Coming

Sex and the City. On the big screen. This weekend. My favorite TV show of all times, back for one last hurrah. Great review in the LA Times this morning. Here's some quick inserts to wet your appetite. My review will come next week. Because I, unlike Carina Chocano, Times Movie critic, do not have a press pass to the pre-release screening.

"Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), Charlotte (Kristin Davis) and Samantha (Kim Cattrall), now in their 40s and 50s, continue to navigate the choppy waters of urban life, negotiating relationships, work, fertility and friendship, only now the stakes are higher, the risks are bigger and decisions feel more permanent.

For a film that delights in indulging in frivolity at every possible turn, it examines subjects that most movies don't dare graze for their terrifying seriousness. And when it does, the movie handles them with surprising grace, wit and maturity.

One of the best things about the movie is how it manages to confound expectations while satisfying them, an achievement for a movie based on material that had already plumbed every aspect of its characters' lives and tied up its narrative loose ends. But some, of course, remained, and that's where the movie takes off -- will Carrie and Big get married, will Charlotte have a baby, will Miranda and Steve live happily ever after, will Samantha be satisfied with just one man?

King answers all of these with unexpected twists, posing a good deal of bigger, more interesting questions along the way. How should women live their lives in a society that constantly limits them while pretending not to? What is the function of forgiveness, and why is it necessary for living?

The clothes, the restaurants, the apartments, the shoes -- they're also all there, of course, but then, even on the show, they were always the fantasy element, the sugar that helped the sometimes harsh emotional reality go down. The movie is no different, except that the personal upheavals are bigger, more life-altering and take on nearly tragic dimensions."

Madison Mallard's Season Opener

Kim and Kristin

Season Opener

Matt, Kim, and Kristin

Karen's Aquathon #1

Last night was a very busy evening. After working late, Karen and I sped to Warner Park to catch the start of her aquathon race (1000 meter swim/5000 meter run). I usually partake in the monthly events, but opted out of this one, the series opener, because of unseasonably cold lake temperatures. I think I made the right decision since several swimmers swam back to shore just minutes after starting. They said it was too painful. Karen persevered and did very well. I was proud of her swimming skills out there, and it was fun to cheer her on as a spectator this time.

Afterwards, we headed to the Madison Mallard's (a summer collegiate baseball team) season opener to meet up with our friends Kim and Matt. We were an hour late to the game by the time the aquathon finished. It was pretty much pouring the whole time, although we were safe and dry under cover. I honestly can't tell you the name of the opposing team, nor who won the game. But baseball games are rarely about that for me. And I did have a wonderful time hanging out with Kim, Matt, and Karen, and of course enjoyed my concession treats (a "Chicago" hot dog and popcorn). It was a good night, but I sure am hoping for better weather this weekend.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

High School Rivalries Revisited

I ran the Madison half-marathon over the weekend, and it was certainly no walk in the park. Apparently I was feeling over confident coming out of last month’s Boston Marathon, and made a whole slue of mistakes both before and during the race, which made for a pretty miserable half-marathon, and immediately dashed my hopes and dreams of becoming a professional runner (totally just kidding).

I made two obvious mistakes. First, I ate breakfast too close to race time (bagel with peanut butter and coffee less than an hour beforehand), which caused much gastronomic discomfort from mile 4 until the finish. I’ll save you the details. And second, I took off from the starting line like an Olympic sprinter. I was running close to 7 minute miles until mile 4 or 5, when my stomach discomfort truly set in. From that point on, I was beyond repair and struggling to continue forward momentum.

Approximately two miles before the finish, Karen ran up behind me and shouted encouragingly, “Come on BFF, let’s go” (we often joke and call each other BFF=best friend forever). Definitely brought a smile to me face but still, I couldn’t hang with her quick pace. I watched Karen fade into the distance. Then, only one mile from the finish, I was suddenly so motivated by a familiar face passing me, that I immediately started an all out sprint to the finish. There was no way in hell this particular cheerleader from high school was going to beat me in a half-marathon. No way. I know how completely pathetic that sounds, but apparently high school rivalries never fade. But at that point, it was just what I needed, someone to rise my competitive spirit and get me to the finish line! And that it did. I finished, beat the cheerleader, and managed to catch up with Karen. Kar still beat me, but I’m nothing but proud when that happens. She, of course, was never a high school cheerleader.

Stockpiling for the Summer

UW-Madison Selects New Chancellor

Biddy Martin, who has served as the provost at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. since 2000, has been selected by a special Board of Regents committee to become UW–Madison’s next chancellor. If confirmed by the full Board of Regents in early June, Martin will succeed Chancellor Wiley, who will be stepping down in September. Martin has explained that her focus as the leader of UW–Madison will be on access and affordability, the quality and retention of the faculty, and the contribution of our research to the state and nation’s greatest challenges.

Governor Jim Doyle, and several members of the search committee have expressed their great enthusiasm for Martin. William Cronon, a UW-Madison professor of history, geography and environmental studies, and member of the 23-person hiring committee, stated that, "All the evidence from Cornell University indicates that Dr. Martin has been a very wise and visionary leader of that institution. She brings a breadth of understanding that ranges from the natural sciences to the arts and humanities, and is someone I hope will lead this institution into the next decade and what we need to accomplish in the 21st century.”

Before serving as Cornell’s provost, Martin spent four years as senior associate dean in Cornell’s Colleges of Arts and Sciences. She was also a professor of German studies and women’s studies, and served as the chair of German studies from 1994-97. Also a plus is that Martin has ties to UW–Madison, having earned her doctorate in German literature here in 1985.

Martin seems to me like an excellent choice for our next campus leader. She obviously has a very clear understanding of the challenges and issues that face UW–Madison and higher education in general. Her experience and leadership thus far (at an Ivy league institution no less) have prepared to do great work on our campus. I look forward to meeting her and seeing what she can do for the future of our university and state.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Goblets for the High Life

These classy "Beer Bottle Goblets" are also very cool. They're uniquely crafted from reclaimed Sol and Grolsch bottles. Essentially, glass artisans cut off the bottom of the bottles, polish the edges, and bond it to the bottle neck to form a base. "The result is a gloriously green or crystal clear, satisfyingly sturdy goblet that makes regular beer glasses look about as appealing as an ashtray filled with flat ale and soggy cigarette butts." Perfect for alcohol aficionados, art enthusiasts, and "green" people alike. $25 for a set of two.

Rugged Yet Refined

I found the perfect summer shoes while I was in Boston last month. At a large shoe store in Cambridge, I fell in love with the hot, strappy numbers pictured left. I chose the "Aquarius" in brown/pistachio. I had seen them pictured in a Garnet Hill catalog earlier in the spring, but when I actually had the chance to try them on and confirm that they are, indeed perfect, the opportunity was just too good to pass up.

And so I must admit that I've rarely taken them off the past two months. They're sporty and feminine, strappy and practical, colorful and simple, rugged yet refined. And SO comfortable. I would recommend them to anyone.

The shoe brand is called J-41 Footwear. More product information is available here. The Web site offers the following product description: "Combining a highly-functional design with exceptional style, J-41™ Footwear sets a pace well above the crowd. From leisurely outings to more intensive activities, J-41™ is a high performance “go anywhere” shoe that looks and feels great. A roadmap — gently embedded in our soles — symbolizes the unique and very special adventure that each of us embarks upon."

So please, go get your own strappy number. You won't be disappointed. You also won't be able to take them off. I've seen the shoes being sold at Zappo's, REI, etc. Should you chose to accept your mission, good luck.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Brats Per Minute (BPM)

Madison again served host to the World’s Largest Brat Fest over the Memorial Day weekend (Friday through Monday). The past world record, set in Madison on May 28-31, 2004, at 189,432 Johnsonville Brats consumed in 4 days, equated to 98.7 BPM (Brats per minute). This year, organizers again hoped to break the record and reach a goal of 200,000 brats.

After Day 2 of the festival, Madison had already consumed 107,672 brats, putting us on pace for a record breaking year. Organizers were feeling confident, but a little nervous that the supply of buns and brats might not last through the remaining two days. But Sunday’s overcast weather put a damper on brat spirits everywhere, dramatically slowing consumption and promising suspense for the coming day.

Thankfully (or not so thankfully), Madison came through with hordes of last minute brat eaters on Sunday evening to set a new world record of 191,712 brats. Last night, Karen and I placed a little wager on whether we would break the record. Unfortunately, and obviously not thinking clearly, I bet against the big eaters of Madison. Feeling confident, I went high stakes and put dinner at Jade Garden on the line. Obviously, I lost the bet. And Karen is now happily gloating, dreaming of Jade Garden's Chicken and Broccoli, compliments of Kristin. Karen might as well enjoy it while it lasts, because she never wins!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Frozen Peanut Butter Pie

I don’t think most people realize how easy it is to make a pie. Many varieties don’t require fruit-slicing, baking, nor much time spent slaving away in the kitchen.

My favorite pie cookbook is Betty’s Pies Favorite Recipes, which I purchased in Duluth, Minnesota, when I ran the Grandma’s Marathon there last Spring. Betty’s Pies is a Duluth landmark, and I’ve been fascinated with making pies ever since vising and reading Betty’s cookbook, which contains many of her little stories and tips from a lifetime of pie-making.

I made the following pie from Betty’s cookbook this past weekend, and it’s one of my new favorites. It’s very quick and simple, not to mention fanstasically delicious, and the nice thing is that you can keep it in the freezer until you find yourself needing to pop out a treat for unexpected visitors or attend a potluck. This one’s definitely a keeper and will certainly be a summertime favorite. Enjoy!

Frozen Peanut Butter Pie
1 chocolate pie crust (purchased)
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
1 cup peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream, whipped

Blend sugar, peanut butter, cream cheese and vanilla until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl. In a separate bowl, beat whipping cream to form soft peaks. Fold half the peanut butter mixture into the cream–then fold in the other half. Pour into pie shell and freeze 3 hours or more. Let stand at room temperature 20 minutes before serving.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

No Monkey Milk for Me

Apparently all posts this week will be about food. I guess you can tell what is on my mind. This past weekend, I made several new recipes, including a great peanut butter frozen pie and a banana/honey smoothie. Lately, I've been on quite a smoothie kick.

I'll share the smoothie recipe today, and save the peanut butter pie for tomorrow. I found this quick and very basic smoothie recipe in a recent Williams Sonoma catalog. Named "Monkey Milk," I think it's actually intended for younger audiences, but I'm still a kid at heart. And "money milk" sounds disgusting, so I have renamed the recipe accordingly. Hope you enjoy! I loved the simple banana/honey combo.

Kristin's Kid-Friendly, Non-Monkey Milk, Banana Smoothie
In a blender, combine 2 ripe bananas, cut into 1/2 inch pieces, with 1 cup vanilla yogurt, 1 cup milk, 2 tbs. honey and 1 cup ice cubes. Blend on high speed until mixture is smooth, about 1 minute. Pour into glasses; serve immediately. Serves 4 adults or 8 children (or just 1 Kristin).

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

My Apriplum Delight

Who ever knew there was a fruit called an “Apriplum,” a sweet hybrid, as the name suggests, of an "apricot" and "plum". I found these little treasures at Trader Joe’s over the weekend and have been addicted since. Where did these things come from? Genetically modified fruit? Have we entered an era of Frankenfruit?

In typical Trader Joe’s fashion, a cheerful TJ employee offered small cups of apriplums, coupled with blackberries and mascarpone cheese, at the sample counter this past Saturday. I’d like to digress for a moment and just say that I could never be the person who mans the sample counter. I think it would make me sick observing the masses greedily gobble samples all day. So now you know where I stand on that. But anyways, this TJ sample was particularly delightful. So much so, that I decided to purchase the apriplums, blackberries, AND mascarpone cheese. And if that’s not successful marketing results, I’m not sure what is!

And so, I have made myself this simple dessert for the last several nights. It is an amazing and delicate blend of flavors that play together so well. You must try this perfect summer dessert. Simple, colorful, fruity, cheesy, sweet, and refreshing. What more could a girl want?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

My Apprenticeship with a Southern Cook

I talked a bit about the fabulous meals I had in Louisville during Derby weekend. We were so lucky to have the most amazing local hosts, who were just thrilled to cook for the Derby Dozen all weekend. Each and every spread was amazing. The first night, for example, we enjoyed 3-4 appetizers, grilled beef tenderloin, mashed potatoes, green peas, Bourbon slush, mint juleps, and pineapple cake with white icing for dessert. Breakfast the next day was an egg/sausage/cheese casserole, fresh fruit, raisin bran muffins, coffee, and mimosas. Other meals throughout the weekend included regional specialties like Derby pie, Bourbon chocolate balls, and country ham. As you can imagine, I was pretty much in heaven all weekend.

Luckily our hostess shared many of her wonderful recipes and cooking tips. I find so much pleasure in sharing cooking and recipes with other people who enjoy cooking as much as I do. We all have so much to learn from each other. And I particularly enjoy learning more about regional cooking, so what an amazing opportunity to learn from and work with a Southern cook all weekend!

Two of my favorite recipes that Mrs. Koetter’s made during the weekend were appetizers. She shared the recipes with me and I made both for my mom for her mother's day feast. My mom has been begging me to post them on my blog for days, so I'm guessing she enjoyed them as much as I did the first time! Enjoy!

Black Olive and French Bread
1 loaf French bread, slices
8 tbsp. butter, softened
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup grated cheese (white--possibilities are endless, but I like to do two parts Pecorino Romano and one part Parmesan)
¼ cup fresh chives
1 small can sliced black olives, drained and chopped

Mix together butter through olives and spread on French bread rounds and cook for short time at 375 degrees (8-10 minutes). Can be frozen. Makes 24 servings.

Italian Pesto Dip
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
½ cup Miracle Whip dressing
¼ cup basil pesto sauce
¼ cup chopped artichokes
1 cup chopped roasted peppers
1 cup finely shredded Italian style five cheese blend

Mix the cream cheese and dressing until well blended. Spread on dinner plate or serving platter. Layer toppings over cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle with cheese. Serve with crackers and fresh vegetables. Makes 24 servings.

Friday, May 16, 2008

A Year of Mad City Girl

Today is the one year anniversary of my blog. I entered my first post on May 16, 2007, a review of Monroe Street's New Orleans Take-Out, and haven't stopped since. 370 posts to date. I've certainly become an addict, and find myself agitated when I can't find time to post. It's become such a part of my routine, that my day just doesn't seem complete when my blog is left neglected. Luckily the summer months tend to be a little lighter work wise, so you can expect some decent blogging action ahead.

Thank you for taking the time to read. I very much enjoy your comments. One of my goals for the coming months will be to better organize my posts into appropriate topics so when, for example, you decide you'd like to try one of my favorite recipes, you can locate it much quicker.

A whole year seems like a momentous occasion, especially when my brother bet me I couldn't keep it up for a month! Thanks again for reading.

Son of Rambow Comes to Madison

Some of you have heard me recount my experience at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival more than a few times. I'm warning you that you're about to be subjected again. Sundance was an incredibly unique experience, at which I had the opportunity to see four phenomenal film premieres. Away from Her was picked up and released at theaters worldwide almost immediately. For the others, the process has been a bit slower. I think that finally all four have been picked up, with the possible exception of David Stenn's documentary "Girl 27." I have no idea where that one ended up. Even The Go-Getter, which underground fans worried they'd never have the chance to see, is coming to NY, LA, and Toronto in June.

But this post is about Rambow's son. Or something like that. So just last night, I was paging through the Isthmus weekly Madison newspaper, when I saw a huge ad for tonight's release of Son of Rambow at Westgate Arts Cinema. I was overjoyed. Although Garth Jenning's film sounds like some crazy war movie on steroids, it's actually funny and touching, and one of the best film's I've ever seen. Apparently, the film was released in the UK on April 4, and opened in limited release in the United States on May 2. Here's a synopsis of the plot:

Set in "a long, hot summer in the early '80s", the film is a coming-of-age comedy. It tells the story of two schoolboys who are inspired by the film First Blood to make their own action adventure film, which they hope will win them a young film-maker competition. Neglected youngster Lee Carter (Will Poulter) — the worst-behaved boy in school — has access to the home video equipment used by his bullying elder brother's video pirating enterprise.

Will (Bill Milner) couldn't be more different; quiet and shy he comes from a family that belongs to the strict Plymouth Brethren religious sect. Will is forbidden to watch films or television and is made to leave his classroom when the teacher puts on a documentary film. In the corridor he meets Lee, thrown out of another class for bad behavior. At first, Lee sees Will as an easily manipulated lackey but after Will sees a pirated copy of First Blood and throws himself into the film making experience, the two realize how much they each need a best friend.

Their movie takes on a chaotic life of its own, as they fight to keep control of it, and also to keep it secret from Will's family. Ultimately it changes the lives of both boys, and their relationships with their friends and families.

I loved this film, and will likely attempt to relive my Sundance glory days by dragging some friends along with me to see it again. I hope you will check it out if the film comes to a theater near you! Son of Rambow. Now there's a movie title you won't forget.

A Visit From Bucky!

Kristin, Bucky, and KarenBucky takes over my office!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Contributing to Wisconsin's Cheese Production

As part of our ongoing preparation for the Big Ten Admissions Directors Conference invite (detailed in 5/9 post), we went to the Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research in Babcock Hall on Tuesday to take pictures of our director “making” cheese. Karen, Rob, and I were all required to sport the lovely hair nets and lab coats pictured above. Watching Rob help out on the cheese production line (making white cheddar) was almost an entertaining as watching him milk a cow last week!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Mother's Day Run and Fun

A not so pleasant 11-mile run to the Milwaukee lakefront on Mother's Day

Followed by a warm and pleasant coffee stop at Alterra with Mom!

On Saturday night, Karen and I headed to Brookfield to join up with my family to celebrate Mother's day. Upon arrival, we immediately got to work preparing for the night's feast. We made several appetizers, pasta salad, steak and salmon on the grill, and enjoyed chocolate bars and Suzy's cheesecake for dessert. It was fun to have my brother's best friend, Ben, and Karen there, too, who are both like part of the family. We laughed, and talked, and celebrated my mom, who later claimed it was her best mother's day yet. Mission accomplished.

Despite the fact that I woke up the next morning to pouring rain and an awful cold, Karen and I set out on a 11-mile run from my parent's house in Brookfield to the downtown lakefront. It was very windy and unpleasant, but we actually felt pretty good and made decent time. I'm certainly paying for it this week, however, as my darn cold just won't go away. My mom met us downtown and snapped many flattering pics (like the one above) as we ran down Wisconsin Avenue. As soon as we reached the lake, we hopped in the car and drove to the downtown Alterra coffee house, which is just gorgeous. There we enjoyed Carmel Royales (my mom's favorite Alterra drink) before heading to my grandma's apartment for a quick visit. It was a great time celebrating with my mom and I'm glad she enjoyed her special day!

Web Boys Head South

My brother seriously lives in Texas now. His roommate, Ben, and he bought one-way tickets to Austin just last week, and after Monday's flight, have already secured a sublease near UT-Austin. While I haven't talked to Kelly myself yet, he seems upbeat, yet is apparently already complaining about the heat and humidity. Hmm...pretty sure it's going to get much worse over the next few months. Anyways, I think it's a good move for Kelly and Ben. They need a little change of pace after crashing at my parent's house in Brookfield for the past 6 months (while my parents were in Nevada), and an active/vibrant community in which to live and work. And they're almost ready to launch their new Web site, which is very exciting. Anyone have some good Austin tips (eats, parks, recreation, shopping, etc.)?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Derby Day

Kristin and Jose

Group pic

The ladies of the Derby

Kristin and Aaron

Greg and Kristin

Kristin and the boys heading to the infield

Kristin and Greg picking winners

The traditional 35-pound blanket of 564 red roses (which were interestingly never placed on Big Brown's back, as he "freaked out" at the Florida Derby when they put flowers on him)

Beautiful Derby horse

Court Vision (4th position)

Big Brown, Winner of 2008 Kentucky Derby

Luckily, derby day graced us with plenty of sunshine, great racing, entertaining people watching, and plenty of mint julep induced debauchery. We started the day with another homemade breakfast feast a la chez de Koetter’s, complete with regional specialties and mimosas. We were certainly living the life in Louisville.

We made our way to the track just after the third race of the day, where we enjoyed our newly established “infielder” status. Although not quite rolling like at Friday’s Kentucky Oaks, it was a nice change of scenery and offered a nice balance of infield craziness and paddock sophistication. We spent most of our time in the crowded paddock area, which is an area behind the grandstand where the horses and jockeys are staged before heading out onto the track. It’s a great place to admire the horses, and if you really know what you’re doing, observe each horse’s pre-race condition and preparation and make bets accordingly. Of course, I don’t know what the hell I’m doing, so I study the program and local newspapers, but mostly bet on horses with what I deem to be the coolest names.

We watched the big race, the 134th running of the Kentucky Derby (post time 6:04pm), from the Paddock area on a very big jumbotron. There was a full field of 20 horses. Big Brown was the favorite at 3-1, but his 20th post position provided some doubt. Essentially, he would need to cut over from the furthest outfield position and risk getting tangled up in a mess of horses all vying for an inside position. My bet was on Pyro in post #9, an early season favorite who disappointed with a 10th place finish at the Blue Grass Derby, his last race prior to the Kentucky Derby. However, the Blue Grass was run on a synthetic track, so some believed Pyro would come back strong for the Derby. And he was in a fabulous post position.

Big Brown, of course, won the race by 4 ¾ lengths and is now focused on the Preakness, the second jewel of the Triple Crown, which will be run in Baltimore on May 17. Interestingly, Big Brown became just the second horse in the history of the derby to win after breaking from post position 20. Pyro made a mild rally from 18th to finish 8th. So no big money won here. And of course the whole race was overshadowed by the heartbreaking fate of second place filly, Eight Belles, who shattered both ankles just after crossing the fish line, and was immediately euthanized on the track. Eight Belles had been the first filly to compete in the Kentucky Derby since 1999.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Rainy Day at the Kentucky Oaks

Kristin and Michelle

Look, it's Tom Cruise! Oh wait, it's just Eric...

Let the racing begin!

Cooling off.

Kristin and Jose

Mmm...tasty mint juleps!

Our fabulous hosts--Mr. and Mrs. Koetters, and Regina

Michelle, Kristin, Regina, and Sheila

And then it started to pour.... :(

But the race must go on! Here is Proud Spell, winner of the Kentucky Oaks

Winning jockey Gabriel Saez

Aaron, Jason, Jose, and Greg

No amount of rain could stop us!

The 134the Kentucky Oaks was held the Friday before the Kentucky Derby. There were 12 races throughout the day, the first of which took place at 11am. The second to the last race of the day was the famed Kentucky Oaks at 6pm, which featured a field of ten 3-year-old fillies, all competing for $500,000.

Our seats for the day were PHENOMENAL. We had two boxes of seats that were front row, center, directly in front of the winner's circle. A big thank you to Mr. and Mrs. Koetters for hooking us up with a great local ticket broker.

For the first few races, we enjoyed our fabulous seats and took in the entire experience. The horses were breathtakingly beautiful and fast. Of course, the hats and people watching were also great. Unfortunately, the showers came all too soon, soaking the track and making for very sloppy race and spectating conditions. Despite the rain, we sported ponchos, and enjoyed the afternoon.

Proud Spell and jockey Gabriel Saez won the Kentucky Oaks (the 3-1 favorite despite finishing third in the Ashland in her final prep). It was pretty awesome to see the garland of lillies (which is what the winner of the filly's race is awarded) draped on Proud Spell following the race. Gabriel Saez and the owners watched proudly.

I made only a few bets throughout the day, most notably on "Wisconsin Girl" and "Forward Wisconsin," which both sounded like winners to me! My "Wisconsin Girl" did come in second place in the final race of the day, which won me $10 in a side bet with my friend, Jason, and ended up being my biggest win of the weekend.