Always having dreamed of going to the Kentucky Derby, I wanted to dress up and wear a floppy sunhat to the races at Canterbury Park.
I had on a dress until Nate informed me it was only supposed to be in the high 60s, so I dressed down and wore jeans to be warm instead of cute.
It was probably a good thing, because some people there were as casual as in athletic shorts, so I fit right in.
We saw the Budweiser Clydesdales in their pens and laughed at one brawny creature that would pick up his hay, bring it over to his water pail and dunk it before he ate it.
We found the paddock and listened to the announcer and analyst go over the day's races, deciding who was going to be our pick in each. As the first race mounted, I smiled at the beautiful horses just a few feet away.
Nate wanted to bet so we went up to a machine, but I was worried about missing the horses, so I left him there and went out to sit by the track. He didn't make it to me before the horses were off, and then crossed the finish line only 20 seconds later in the 400 yard quarter horse sprint.
I was excited because the horse that we picked was first, and I hoped that Nate had made the $2 bet before the race was completed.
He finally found me and informed me he had made a bet before the race, but he didn't understand the machine so he accidentally bet on a race in Albuquerque.
The next race we each had our own choice, Nate went for the favorite while I went for a longer shot named Irish Brew. He sounded like he could be a good bet, and his name was interesting.
Nate's horses flew past the finish line first. My pick came in almost limping after the entire field.
For the next seven races we picked a winner as well as tried to figure out the top three in order, known as a trifecta. Several times we had the right horses, just in the wrong order. All in all, we lost every single bet after Nate won about 40 cents on that second race.
It was so special to attend the horse races. I grew up reading the "Thoroughbred" series of books and have always been a lover of racehorses, even though I've never seen them in person. They're just so beautiful and regal and fast. It's incredible to watch them.
From the stands to watching one race with our eyes right at dirt level by the finish line, this was an amazing experience.
And the fact that we then concluded the day with a snack at White Castle --- for Nate not me, a trip to IKEA and an evening of appetizers at a local restaurant, it was yet another perfect day of our anniversary trip.
Next up: Our actual anniversary