ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Friday marked opening day at Arlington International Racecourse. And before the horses can race, before onlookers' bets can be won-or lost-a tradition occurs: the "Call to Post."
Bugler Monica Benson, now in her fourth season at Arlington, raises her Herald Trumpet to the sky while horses trot around the Paddock, signaling to all that the races are about to begin.
Sounding the call is no easy feat, as I learned first-hand. The melody is traditionally played on a bugle-which has no valves. Monica and I jammed on a Herald Trumpet. It has valves, but I wanted to be authentic.
"The higher you go, the tighter your lips have to be," Benson explains, adding that speeding up your air also counts for hitting those higher notes.
I managed to produce most of the recognizable melody, but in super slow-motion. If you attend the Kentucky Derby on Saturday-and yes, they'll play the "Call to Post"- be sure to tip your hat to the bugler, who has an admirable job!