This post continues the Top Ten Things Not to Do against a historical background. In March of 1665, the establishment of the Newmarket course in Salisbury, New York, a section of what is now known as the Hempstead Plains of Long Island is recognized as the start of thoroughbred horse racing in the United States.
If you plan to travel back to witness this event the following is a list that may help guide your appropriate behavior.
Top Ten Things Not to Do at the First Horse Race in America in 1665
10 If you are at the first horse race, do not ask about the missing bugle First Call to the post. If you do, at best no one will know what you are asking. At worst, someone will hand you a bugle and demand you play it. (Since the First Call was used beginning in the 1860s to signal that the race is ten minutes away, it doesn’t matter what you play, Gavin. Just know that whatever it is will be used throughout history. I think I would hand the bugle back and tell them you don’t play it.)
9 If you are at the first horse race, do not try to get close to the favorite if Tiny the WWF champ is the groom. If you do, at best Tiny will just push you away. At worst, Tiny just left the owner’s office with the instructions to keep everyone away at all costs. (What you should know about Tiny, Gavril is “at all costs.” does not include considering your welfare as precious. I would begin moving toward the door and for heaven’s sake don’t make eye contact with Tiny.)
8 If you are at the first horse race, do not ask for a program or schedule of races. If you do, at best you will be laughed out of the track. At worse the track owner might think you are going to start your own racetrack and are nothing but a spy. (The fact that the track owner is the national bull wrestling champ and is known for his lack of sense of humor means you should probably begin to find a route of escape, Gaylin.)
7 If you are at the first horse race, do not ask for special seats in the clubhouse. If you do, at best you will be shown a stool in the barn. At worst, you’ll give some entrepreneur a bright idea on how to make money without a horse. (Even today, thanks to you, Gearoid, the racetracks have figured out how to charge for deluxe seats while making those who pay through the nose feel special.)
6 If you are at the first horse race, do not dress like you were going to the Ascot in coat and tails. If you do, at best someone will ask you for a drink order. At worst you might be mistaken for the town crier and be asked to repeat the latest news. (Now how are you going to explain what is going on around here, Gelasius? You just arrived twenty minutes ago.)
5 If you are at the first horse race, do not order a mint julep. If you do, at best the barkeeper will think you are drunk. At worst, you’ll get all involved in trying to explain Kentucky whiskey, mint and Ice. (Now everyone is asking questions about where you are from and how you know anything about Kentucky whiskey, Geoffroy. They also want to know what Kentucky whiskey is anyway.)
4 If you are at the first horse race, do not ask where you can find the two dollar window. If you do, at best you will be directed to Seth the carpenter. At worse, when they figure out you intend to bet on the race you will become the first bookie in American history. (Too bad you don’t know anything about betting, Geralt. When you gave twenty to one odds on old Paint you never expected him to win, did you? I think I would push the “home,” button on that fancy time traveler of yours.)
3 If you are at the first horse race, do not accuse the jockey of your losing horse of throwing the race. If you do, at best he won’t hear your accusation. At worst, he will slap you with a glove. (Now the glove didn’t hurt, but you have come to realize, Gergo, you have been invited to a sword party known as a duel. Sorry, Tiny is not interested in being your second or stand-in. Let’s hope those fencing classes in college come in handy.)
2 If you are at the first horse race, do not believe those who tell you that “The Kings Ride.” is a sure thing. If you do, at best you only lost two dollars. At worst, you bet the farm. (What is funny, Germanus, you don’t own the farm. Look over there. See that big guy with the red face. It’s his farm and now wants a piece of you.)
1 If you are at the first horse race, do not bet on a horse because it has a funny name. If you do, at best you might win. At worst, Mymotherinlaw’sunderwear decides to finish last. (Yes it was a funny name, and it is a good thing you didn’t bet a lot, Gerrell. I hope you know that you now own the horse since you were the only one to claim it in the claiming race. Hope time travel is possible for a horse.)