On their special day, moms race children to the track

May 14, 2007|By Nia-Malika Henderson | Nia-Malika Henderson,sun reporter

It was a picture-perfect day to celebrate motherhood, and what better place than ... the race track?

But for a few families in the thin crowd at Pimlico yesterday, the love was thick - even if the luck was so-so.

Lucille Huff, a self-described $2 bettor, came up from Washington - bringing her son, Keith Huff, 46 - and put $12 on the horses.

They dined on hot dogs and took in the races from a front bench, and they stepped a few feet over to the green rail at the edge of the track to cheer as the horses trampled by during the day of nine races.

Her strategy of betting on horses 2, 4 and 6, no matter the race, paid off - she came out all of $4.60 ahead.

"We are not gamblers; we are out here for adventures," Lucille Huff said as she eyed a betting slip. "Nobody knows us, so we can act foolish."

It wasn't the type of adventure the youngest of Huff's three sons had in mind when he arrived at her house yesterday.

"I got hoodwinked into bringing her. I thought we were just going to sit around and watch TV," he said. "She kind of sprung it on me after I got comfortable. You can't say no on Mother's Day."

Huff said she chose the track over dinner because she wanted to avoid the restaurant scene.

The Huffs weren't alone.

For Maxine Webb, the restaurant scene has been a Mother's Day tradition for almost 25 years - but not yesterday. Not exactly.

She was among a group of about 20 who gathered for gift-giving and good eating at a brunch in the Pimlico Clubhouse restaurant. They dined on shrimp, beef, grouper and baked chicken, with red velvet cake and virgin daiquiris.

"I'm not a mother, but I want to do something nice for my mom and my sisters and extended family," Webb said. "It's a wonderful time, the fellowship, and we find out what everyone is doing. Every year it's something different."

After brunch, Denise Corley, Webb's niece, put a little change on Storm Cousin in the seventh.

Though Corley refused to look at the race as it started, by the time her horse came close, she was shouting, "Come on 7! Come on 7! Bring it home! "

Storm Cousin finished fourth, so Corley ended up with bupkis.

But the races and the horses were incidental to their fun.

Corley's grandmother, Catherine Greene, 82, sat next to multicolored gift bags as the races blared on television monitors, and her great-greatgranddaughter, 16-month-old Nonie Downs, clapped nearby.

"Each year it's a new experience, and every mother gets a gift," Greene said. "It's money, flowers, a lot of love and hugs and kisses."

For David Corley, the 26-year-old son of Denise Corley, the visit to Pimlico was his first time at the races. But more importantly, it was the first time in a while that he had spent time with his mother on Mother's Day. He would always call but never took the time to do anything more, he said.

But there he was, rooting for his mom's horse and sharing her day.

"I'm just trying to show her I appreciate her. I love that woman. Every time I need her to be there, she's there," he said. "It's time to return the favor and be the son I'm supposed to be."


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