It's pretty tough to overshadow a facility as massive and grandiose as Meydan, but a small-town Kentucky boy did just that on Thursday as Hurricane Ramsey blew into town.
Batten down the hatches.
Full disclosure: I have a history with Mr. Ramsey as we first met and got to be friends during the week leading up to the 2005 Dubai World Cup (UAE-G1).
We spoke for a long time at the draw that year and met up again at the Thursday night Arabian Nights party, where we talked and laughed for hours as we ate, got henna tattoos (me, a scorpion on my upper arm; Ramsey ,a rose on his hand to represent his horse, Roses in May), smoked shisha, held falcons on our forearms, and had a great, great time.
As the night was winding down, we joked that we would pick up our conversation in the winner's circle on Saturday night.
Before the race, I found Mr. Ramsey in the paddock and asked how he was doing. He told me he usually didn't get too nervous before races but on this night, he felt like he was going to throw up.
I told him to relax and that I'd see him right back here (the Nad al Sheba paddock doubled as the winner's circle) in about two minutes.
And then, as fate would have it, Roses in May did win and Mr. Ramsey led his horse into the winner's circle high-fiving me and announcing to the international media that we had known all along. He did this with blood running down the side of his face from a cut he got when the horse reared up and smacked him in the head, digging his metal-rimmed glasses into his skin.
He didn't miss a beat, however, entertaining everyone there with his unique delivery and sense of humor. That continued into the airport on Sunday waiting for the flight home as he had the golden Dubai World Cup trophy out of its case and was having his picture taken with fans, who he let hold the trophy.
That snapshot is the essence of Ken Ramsey. The man is a traveling circus, bringing laughter and good times wherever he goes.
When we ran into each other at the Breakfast With the Stars, the first thing he did was make sure I would be at tonight's Arabian Nights party because he wanted the same mojo he had in 2005 for his horse this year, Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (G1) winner Furthest Land.
"Bailey," he said in his thick Kentucky accent, "we gotta meet up tonight because when you have something that works, you stick with it." Then he had me pose for a picture with his family and former Churchill Downs PR guy extraordinaire Tony Terry. Why? Because he felt like it.
"You know," he said. "If Furthest Land wins, that would put me and Sheikh Mohammed in exclusive company as the only two owners to win the Dubai World Cup twice. That has a pretty good ring to it, don't you think?
"I hope I get to use that line the day after tomorrow," he said with his typical cackle and a quick wink. Then he was off like a blur to do a BBC television interview. God save the Queen!
Can't wait till tonight, Mr. Ramsey. Hope you're thinking about what you're going to get when we get the henna tattoos done.
The scary thing, and the thing that makes him such a hoot and so good for the sport, is that he probably is thinking about it.