Media Day at the Track

The 92nd meet of Ellis Park Thoroughbred opens today with a 12:50 post time. On Tuesday owner Ron Geary and his staff — along with a dozen or managers and employees of the Evansville Ice Men (Geary’s team) — hosted their very nice, annual Media Day in the park’s Gardenia Room. Geary welcomed members of the media and noted the first meet was in 1922 and that the “annual Media Day seems to come around quicker than Secretariat.”

Dan Bork, director of racing, began his remarks by saying, “Yes, we are having ostriches and zebras. I’m going to worry about the horses and we are getting great horses again this year.” Bork noted that Preakness runner-up Ride on Curlin broke his maiden last year at Ellis Park. “We get excellent 2-year olds.”

Again this meet (29 race days, through Sept. 1), Ellis attracts the top trainers. Kenny McPeek and Dale Romans (who had 10 wins in 2013) have horses at Ellis. Jockeys at the meet include Calvin Borel, Corey Lanerie, Robert Morales, and Jon Court (though The Courier-Journal reported yesterday that Court was “sidelined.”)

Ellis Park is known for its fun promotions, and they’re changing it up this year. Indeed Weiner Dog trials and races are back this year. They’ll also have lots of instant racing machine promotions. After working with the exotic animal trainer, Joe Hedrick in Nickerson, Kansas, the park had contracted with for ostrich and camel races, zebras are replacing the camels this year. A few other racetracks have races zebras to great fun and success. Expect every local headline on the day’s races to read, “Horses, Ostriches, and Zebras, Oh my!”

After the presentations, Geary invited us to lunch where we were offered salmon or pork chops, vegetables, salad, and a dessert bar including homemade banana pudding. They’re proud of their food at Ellis Park, too, and they should be.


Besides me, the First Lady, and all of the tail-end Baby Boomers born in 1964, there many things turning 50 this year. I joined the club on Tuesday. Mental Floss, the cool magazine and website, curated this list of 50th birthdays. Here are a few.

The Beatles
We truly grew up with the Beatles; it was in 1964 that the U.S. finally met them, on The Ed Sullivan Show. The door was opened for the British invasion.

The Ford Mustang
The 1965 Mustang was introduced in April 1964, and was known as a “1964 ½” model.

8 Track Cartridge
This magnetic audio-tape system was the second in popularity to vinyl from the mid-1960s to the early 1980s, when CDs took over.

“You Really Got Me”
It’s impossible this classic pop song by the Kinks is 50 years old, but it is.

G.I. Joe
Hasbro gave little boys what Mattel gave the girls — a line of dolls. G.I. Joes were World War II themed.

Gilligan’s Island
This can’t be 50, either. The series lasted 98 episodes and became a pop culture icon.

Lucky Charms
My favorite cereal as a kid.

Gen-X kids studying computers in 1980s high schools learned this early computer language. BASIC was invented in 1964 by John George Kemeny and Tom Kurtz.

Smoking May Be Harmful
Surgeon General Luther Leonidas Terry released Smoking and Health: Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General of the United States detailing the risks of cigarette smoking.

Buffalo Wings
The spicy chicken wings were invented by a bar owner in Buffalo, New York.

My favorite James Bond movie was the third, and the best, even today, I think.

The U.S. Civil Rights Act
Lyndon B. Johnson was president in 1964 and, completing the work begun by John F. Kennedy, President Johnson signed the most far-reaching set of civil rights laws in American history.

1964 – I’ll say it was a good year.

▲ Me at 4 ½ months, with my mother, Mary Gladys Midgorden Reeder, at age 31.
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