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There is a constant flow of traffic to and from the pari-mutuel windows outside in the wooden corridors.

well, that’s why the cops are so worried.” He sat for a moment, looking hurt and confused and not quite able to digest all this terrible news. Black waiters in white serving jackets move through the crowd with trays of drinks, while the experts ponder their racing forms and the hunch bettors pick lucky numbers or scan the lineup for right-sounding names.

In horse breeding, for instance, there is a definite risk in breeding two fast horses who are both a little crazy.

The FBI says busloads of white crazies are coming in from all over the country — to mix with the crowd and attack all at once, from every direction. Then, as post time nears, the crowd thins out as people go back to their boxes.

People who seem very pleasant at first might suddenly swing at you for no reason at all.” He nodded, staring straight ahead. “When you shot it at the headwaiter, don’t you remember? Steadman liked the Ptomaine Village because it had fish and chips. I tell you, Colonel, the world has gone mad, stone mad.

“You should keep in mind,” I said, “that almost everybody you talk to from now on will be drunk. and we were leaving, anyway.” “But it got all over us,” he said. The waitresses seemed to be suffering from shin splints; they moved around very slowly, moaning and cursing the “darkies” in the kitchen.

Send Thompson, still finding his distinctive voice in countercultural journalism, to his hometown of Louisville to cover the drunken, debauched scene at Churchill Downs for Scanlan‘s, the anti-establishment (some would say subversive) monthly magazine for which Hinckle was co-editor. ” In the air-conditioned lounge I met a man from Houston who said his name was something or other — “but just call me Jimbo” — and he was here to get it on. Consequently, he was regarded with fear and loathing by nearly everyone who’d seen or even heard about his work. But now, looking at the big red notebook I carried all through that scene, I see more or less that happened. By noon the sun burns, perfect day, not even humid. Somebody told him about the clubhouse catching on fire two years ago. The mob was thick for many blocks around the track; very slow going in the crowd, very hot. Probably very nervous; the place was teeming with cops and soldiers. Not much energy in these faces, not much curiosity. “They’ll usually have large brown whiskey stains on the fronts of their suits,” I said. Most of them manage to avoid vomiting on their own clothes, but they never miss their shoes.” In a box not far from ours was Colonel Anna Friedman Goldman, Chairman and Keeper of the Great Seal of the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels. When the crowd stood to face the flag and sing “My Old Kentucky Home,” Steadman faced the crowd and sketched frantically.

Hinckle agreed on the spot, booked Thompson a ticket, wired him expense money, and then set about finding an artist to provide illustrations for the story. The book itself is somewhat mangled and bent; some of the pages are torn, others are shriveled and stained by what appears to be whiskey, but taken as a whole, with sporadic memory flashes, the notes seem to tell the story. On the way to the press box elevator, just inside the clubhouse, we came on a row of soldiers all carrying long white riot sticks. A man walking next to us said they were waiting for the governor and his party. We pressed on through the crowd, through many gates, past the paddock where the jockeys bring the horses out and parade around for a while before each race so the bettors can get a good look. Suffering in silence, nowhere to go after thirty in this life, just hang on and humor the children. Not all the 76 million or so Kentucky Colonels could make it to the Derby this year, but many had kept the faith and several days prior to the Derby they gathered for their annual dinner at the Seelbach Hotel. ” He plunged ahead with his tiny camera, stepping over bodies, and I followed, trying to take notes. Somewhere up in the boxes a voice screeched, “Turn around, you hairy freak!

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