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A Day at the Races
Photo by Jeff Griffith / Unsplash

A Day at the Races

馃悗 Horse races here and elsewhere 路聽Free money Mary Jane 路聽Wallen Effect 路聽St. George MIA 路 Much more!

Good afternoon, everyone.

Took a long hard look at a cicada Saturday. Those things look prehistoric, like horseshoe crabs. Unevolved. Primitive. It's a miracle they've survived this long.

In other off-putting insect news, ticks are starting to come out. Incidences of tickborne diseases have doubled over the past two decades. In Middle Tennessee, the most common disease is Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (ironic, given the name).

Relatedly, and to take this insectoid theme to its logical conclusion, here is an interesting read from IM鈥1776 on the origins of yet another tickborne disease, Lyme. The article speculates on the origins of the disease, including the theory that Lyme was created during the Cold War for use as a bioweapon.


Welcome to your Mondays with Miles. May is already off and running 鈥 literally. With a month jam-packed with races from this past weekend鈥檚 Kentucky Derby to the Iroquois Steeplechase to the Preakness Stakes to the Indy 500, May 2024 promises to be anything but boring and slow.

Today, we will take a look back at the 150th, and perhaps the most spectacular, Kentucky Derby before gearing up for Saturday鈥檚 Iroquois Steeplechase at Percy Warner Park.

Before every edition of the Kentucky Derby, my extended family has a tradition of placing minimal bets on a boxed trifecta with the ill-guided hopes of claiming enough off a $2 wager to retire. This year, however, I made a note to my father that he might as well scatter the thoroughbreds鈥 names on a dart board, put on a blindfold, toss the dart, and pray. 

Notably, this Kentucky Derby set a new record with $210.7 million in wagers, per Churchill Downs, which undoubtedly rocked the sports betting universe.

Unlike my decision to select Chasing Freedom as this race's winner, my prediction of a chaotic finish turned out to be spot on. In a year where the field was projected to be wide open, we could not have asked for a more sensational outcome. From the beginning, the 18 horses remained in a tight window until they reached the back stretch.

Underdog Mystik Dan, sitting at 16-1 odds, was coming off a lousy third-place finish at the Arkansas Derby. So, Louisiana native and jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. took a massive gamble. He chose to turn Mystik Dan loose early to pull out in front. The decision was risky knowing his thoroughbred would be gassed for the final furlough of the race. 

Sierra Leone and Forever Young approached from the outside on the final stretch and closed the gap. As the wire approached, the gap got smaller and smaller鈥 and smaller. What was seemingly a runaway victory turned into the first three-horse photo finish since 1947.

As all three studs crossed the wire, NBC broadcaster, Larry Collmus, lost his mind not knowing who the 150th champion was. The race stewards checked every angle of the replay and the results came into focus for the Churchill Downs鈥 audience of 156,710. 

Mystik Dan and Hernandez Jr. had held on by a flared nostril. Sierra Leone Placed and Forever Young would Show, followed by Chasing Freedom in fourth.

Despite over 2,300 career wins as a jockey, this was Brian Hernandez Jr.鈥檚 first Kentucky Derby and Triple Crown race victory. He could not have done it more theatrically after pulling off a Kentucky Oaks win the day before on the back of Thorpedo Anna and capturing the Derby鈥檚 first photo finish since Grindstone eeked out a victory in 1996.

The racing world will now turn its eyes to Nashville this weekend for the 83rd Iroquois Steeplechase. The six-race affair will add a seventh this year as weather conditions are predicted to fare better for the 30,000-plus attendees than last year's rainy event. Percy Warner Park tailgating commences at 8:30 a.m. with opening ceremonies at noon. Races will begin at 1 p.m. before concluding at 5:30 p.m. MILES HARRINGTON


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馃惁 Tweet of the Week Friday, CM Delishia Porterfield took to Twitter (I refuse to call it X) to express her displeasure over the treatment of a UCLA protestor. 鈥淩emoving someone's mask while COVID is still a real thing is beyond comprehension to me. This is so vile. The powers that be are more hostile towards students than they were to insurrectionists who tried to overthrow the damn government,鈥 she wrote. One user replied, 鈥淭his is satire, right?鈥 to which Porterfield replied, 鈥淣o.鈥 I can鈥檛 stop laughing, man. DAVIS HUNT

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馃 Mary Jane Enters the Chat, Again The DEA鈥檚 recent move to reclassify marijuana as a 鈥渓ess dangerous鈥 drug has revived conversations about legalization here in Tennessee. At the moment, the Volunteer state allows medical usage of the plant, albeit strictly, while recreational usage remains illegal. 鈥淭here are only a handful 鈥 I can probably count on one hand 鈥 how many people in this legislature are blocking legalized cannabis,鈥 Rep. John Ray Clemmons  (D-Nashville) told WKRN. Regardless of what happens at the federal level, Tennessee lawmakers seem more amenable to exploring medical marijuana versus legalizing it across the board. 

That being said, a law that protects a person鈥檚 disclosure of their possession or usage of marijuana to 鈥渓icensed health providers鈥 from being admissible evidence in court passed through both chambers with no opposition last year. Additionally, the governor signed a law three years back creating the Tennessee Medical Cannabis Commission. MEGAN PODSIEDLIK

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馃捀 Free Money This weekend, TSU President Glenda Glover gave the commencement speech to the university鈥檚 class of 2024 before stepping down from her role of eleven years. Glover announced her retirement in August of last year. Over the past few years, TSU has been beset by financial mismanagement鈥攕o much so that Governor Lee signed a bill this year vacating the entire board. But the mismanagement seems of little concern to Glover, who gifted all 552 graduates a $50 bill taped to the underside of their chairs 鈥 totaling more than $25,0000. Really makes you think. DAVIS HUNT

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馃帣锔 The Wallen Effect The media loves to hate Morgan Wallen, but that鈥檚 made no difference in the minds of his adoring fans. The crooner kicked off his three-night headliner at Nissan Stadium last Thursday, disrupting Music City鈥檚 traffic flow in the process. Signs in the crowd encouraged Wallen to throw a chair off stage, paying homage to his recent arrest for doing so from the rooftop of Chiefs, Eric Church鈥檚 Broadway bar.

Adding to the lore, Church has since put up a plaque in his honky tonk that reads: 鈥淒on鈥檛 even think about it, you are not Morgan Wallen.鈥 However, Wallen will soon have his own downtown establishment to raise Cain in: during his show on Saturday, he announced his new bar, 鈥淭his Bar & Tennessee Kitchen,鈥 will open over Memorial Day weekend. MEGAN PODSIEDLIK


  • Franklin restaurateur to open location at Nashville Yards (NBJ)
  • Shelby Commons moves forward with updates following first $1M gift (Post)
  • Local companies to undertake $2.2B development in Alabama (Post)
  • Wedgewood-Houston property eyed for project now for sale (Post)
  • Bellevue-area site eyed for townhomes (Post)


View our calendar for the week here and our weekly film rundown here.

馃搮 Visit our On The Radar list to find upcoming events around Nashville.

馃帶 On Spotify: Pamphleteer's Picks, a playlist of our favorite bands in town this week.

馃懆馃徎鈥嶐煂 Check out our Nashville farmer's market guide and yearly festival guide.


馃幐 Bronwyn Keith-Hynes @ Dee's Lounge, 6p, $10, Info

馃幐 The Bootstrap Boys Amazing Honky-Tonk Roadshow @ Dee's Lounge, 8:30p, $5, Info

馃幐 Open Mic Mondays @ Tennessee Brew Works, 6p, Free, Info

馃獣 Val Storey, Carl Jackson, Larry Cordle & New Monday @ Station Inn, 8p, $20, Info

馃拃 Grateful Monday @ Acme Feed & Seed, 8p, Free, Info

馃暫 Motown Monday @ The 5 Spot, 9p, $5, Info