I hope the answer is “Yes,” because Steve and I enjoyed a fun afternoon during the Spring Race Meet Season at Keeneland in Lexington, KY just last week. We both have our share of addictions and temptations. Don’t get me wrong. I, for instance, need to spend as little time as possible in a bakery. But, gambling and alcohol don’t tempt us. For those who struggle with those addictions, I would suggest staying far away. The Bible does address this in no uncertain terms.
James 1: 13-16 “When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters.”
1 Timothy 6:9 “Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.”
The weather was perfect. Mild temperatures, a gentle breeze. Parking was free, and a complimentary shuttle ran regularly to help navigate the uphill trek to the Racing Pavilion/Grandstand. Tickets to get in were less than $10 each, and that included admission and a seat in the grandstand — which meant seats with backs and armrests and being out of the bright sun. Here was the view from our seats — right in front of the finish line.
Oh my, those thoroughbreds are such gorgeous animals!! And just driving to Keeneland, we passed miles and miles of picture-perfect horse farms, fenced grounds and palatial barns. The horse-racing culture has obviously generated millions upon millions of dollars worth of revenue for Kentucky, its cities and its citizens. The owners, trainers and jockeys benefit directly, but also those who grow the hay the horses eat, those who muck out the stalls, and still others who teach riding lessons are helped by this industry, too.
There were OPPORTUNITIES to place bets everywhere, but the only money we spent during the races went for a program, 2 soft pretzels and some lemonade. Instead of betting money, we looked over the names of the horses in each race and picked our favorites. My goodness, who has the job of coming up with the names for these horses? They range “from the ridiculous to the sublime,” as the saying goes. I remember Race 5, in particular. Steve liked “Johnny Obvious,” and I was torn between “Keep Talking” and “Kiss the Toad.” In the final seconds, “Bound for Nowhere” came streaking from the middle of the pack and won by several lengths. There’s got to be a sermon in that, don’t you think? “Bound for Nowhere” running as fast as he could and winning the race . . . but why, if he has no destination in mind. Hmmmm.
But, anyway, we laughed and cheered and had a grand ol’ time. And we enjoyed chatting with the family sitting next to us. We observed the pageantry and the traditions. My favorite, of course, was the role of the bugler and the precision with which he did his job.
Now for a confession. I WAS tempted by the hats!! Or maybe I should say that I was lured by them?? We weren’t at the Kentucky Derby, mind you, and only a small percentage of the ladies were wearing great hats. But, there was a large display of gorgeous hats for sale near the entrance to the racetrack, and ladies were ENCOURAGED to try them on. The large pink one in the photo had a hefty price tag of over $500, so, nope, that was not going to go home with me. But, on the way out, with some nudging from Steve, I did buy one that makes me happy, and it was only 1/10 of the cost of the pink one. Whew. Our budget is still intact, and I have a memorable souvenir of an afternoon I never imagined experiencing before I became a travel writer.
And then there’s the whole subject of Christians being IN the world, but not OF the world. Something we’ll talk about on another day. Oh, and as we were walking back to our car, we saw a First Baptist Church bus parked among the dozens of tour buses. ?????