We were offered “party-bus” rides to the Belmont. We knew what we were getting into, or thought we did, and we were okay with that. As scheduled, we arrive at 11:30 Saturday morning at a rooftop bar in Murray Hill. There are the requisite young investment bankers, from the requisite smatter of Ivy League schools, dressed in the requisite popped pastel collars. There is talk of bets, of mixed drinks, of the two buses charted by Dartmouth-alum Deutsche Bankers. It is as expected.
Then the buses arrive late. And with insufficient capacity. We end up in black cars called by one of the bankers. It is a less-fun way to get to the track than we were anticipating. We arrive at Belmont and cannot find our fellow would-be bus riders. We convince a New York Racing official and several caterers to let us into the the UBS party tent. Lacking both name tag and the seemingly de-rigueur headgear, we have time for only one drink from the open bar before we are asked to leave. It is not as expected. We at least get our hand stamped for reentry to the clubhouse section.
Down now to just one friend, we place bets on the race. We go for a superfecta, because it sounds generally fabulous and because we decide the only way to rescue this bust of a day is to win a ridiculous sum of money. We head to a grassy knoll, where men from the United Arab Emirates box seats are throwing things at a guy in khakis passed out in the grass. Our friend, who works with money professionally, wins; we lose it all.
We once again fail to locate the Deutsche Bank party. A Boston-based group of Bank of America mutual-fund salesmen offer us a ride back to Union Square on a school bus. We presume it is the bus to date rape. The Bostonians take turns surfing across the seats, dunking their heads in a cooler of ice and beer, peeing on the floor of the bus, and cursing the amount of money they lost. At least we do not get date-raped. Back at Union Square, we get off the bus, leave behind our hat, and walk away. —Katie Van Syckle