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CONNING THE CON MEN OF KENTUCKY
Joe McGinniss
May 05, 1969
Two college boys hitchhiked 1,000 miles to Louisville, drank freely (and free), sneaked into the Derby—and even got to see the race
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May 05, 1969

Conning The Con Men Of Kentucky

Two college boys hitchhiked 1,000 miles to Louisville, drank freely (and free), sneaked into the Derby—and even got to see the race

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The sun shines bright in the old Kentucky home...

I could hear Larry singing above me. And I was singing myself.

...By'n by hard times comes a knocking at the door, then my old Kentucky home, Good-night!

"Weep no more, my lady, Oh! weep no more today! We will sing one song for the old Kentucky home,

For the old Kentucky home, far away. "Jesus," Larry said, "you're crying!"

The horses galloped by us in their warm-up, and I picked out Chateaugay. Baeza was wearing silks that the program called "fawn." Chateaugay looked fine but, then, so did they all.

They moved far away, to the starting gate at the opposite end of the homestretch. We could not see them enter but we could tell by the absence of noise. Then in the distance there was a flash of motion as the metal doors sprang open all at once and a terrible roar from everyone and the horses were running toward us from very far away.

There was too much noise to hear the call, but when they came around our turn, a quarter of a mile into the mile-and-a-quarter race, we could hear the noise of their hooves and see their colors and numbers.

Chateaugay appeared to be sixth. I said "damn" out loud but no one heard me. Larry was screaming. No Robbery was near the front.

Then the horses disappeared. I could make out nothing in the distance. The noise kept up as they moved in a pack through the backstretch and around the final turn. Then even more noise as they straightened to attempt the final, brutal quarter mile.

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