|T O P I C R E V I E W
||Posted - 05/03/2011 : 04:36:55 AM
The Inside Track on the Kentucky Derby
The first Saturday in May marks my favorite holiday, the Kentucky Derby. Blasphemy you might say? Nah. Ask any Louisvillians and they will tell you it unifies the city more than Christmas. It is the one time of the year that celebrities, sheiks, sports fanatics, socialites and dignitaries flock to Louisville to admire fine thoroughbreds and drink the sweet bourbon-infused mint juleps. As a Kentucky native, it is a source of pride that connects me to the city like the Steelers do to Pittsburgh.
The derby is not just fancy hats and two weeks of fun. There is a culture behind it that goes deep into the roots of the community, with ritual pies and picnics that coincide with more than 70 events ranging from carnivals to competitive sports.
In Lexington, the Keeneland Race Track opens a month early for the well-heeled to begin the road to the derby, which is the first leg in the U.S. Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Stakes (it continues with the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore and Belmont Stakes in New York). A Triple Crown horse must win all three races. The last Triple Crown winner was Affirmed in 1978. The most famous one was Secretariat in 1973; my mom still has an un-cashed ticket for that race because it's more sentimental to her than the winnings. Since I hightailed out of Kentucky after high school, no matter how far I wandered, my heart would come home on Derby Day. The grass really is greener this time of year when driving down from the north. Nearly the entire population plus visitors, in excess of 1.5 million, come out for events like the largest fireworks and air show in the southeastern United States, aptly named "Thunder Over Louisville." Incidentally, the show includes a two-mile-long fireworks waterfall launched from a bridge that is produced by Pittsburgh's Zambelli Internationale.
In the days leading up to what is known as "the fastest two minutes in sports," there is a long list of events that are televised internationally to tempt early visitors to the city. A few big ones include the Pegasus Parade, marathon, Great Balloon Race, Great Steamboat Race and Great Bed Races. Good girls get to go to the Fillies Derby Ball, an event that awards a queen and her court scholarships based on merit. The Louisville school system lets kids miss school the Friday before the derby and often lets them out when events are taking place if the weather is nice. The schools also host a Derby Day where children re-enact races and events like decorated hat contests. I remember racing stick horses and drinking Sprite with mint sprigs as our faux mint juleps.
That sort of community excitement was exactly why the Kentucky Derby Festival, a nonprofit organization, was formed in 1956. They had a budget of $640 for the first Pegasus Parade, which also celebrated with Pegasus Pie. Now the rich, gooey chocolate concoction called Derby Pie is the reigning confection of the celebration. Today, derby-related festivities boast 4,000 volunteers and help earn more than $300,000 for local charities.
Michael Berry, CEO of the Kentucky Derby Festival, works with a $6 million budget, with $3 million coming from corporate sponsorship. The festival claims to generate $96.3 million annually for the local economy, which is separate from the $200 million generated by Derby weekend.
"The festival really draws international attention to Louisville for more than just two weeks," notes Mr. Berry. In fact, the festivities have won the award for Best Overall Festival six times from the International Festival & Events Association. In the '90s, there were little carnival-like events called Chow Wagons around the city and suburbs. Entrance required a Pegasus Pin that cost $1 (today it is $5). My mother always mails me my pin in advance because to her, it is a symbol of Kentucky pride. Since the downtown waterfront area has been turned into a park, there is now only one big Chow Wagon, or Kroger's Fest-a-Ville, as it is also called.
"The area is now a beautiful and pristine park, and we have been able to expand our footprint," says Mr. Berry. "It's more than just a festival. It is like the Magic Kingdom."
By Sarah Lolley
Comma to the Top
Master Of Hounds
Mucho Macho Man
Pants On Fire
Twice The Appeal
Watch Me Go
|2 L A T E S T R E P L I E S (Newest First)
||Posted - 05/08/2011 : 03:47:22 AM
PG# HORSE WIN PLACE SHOW
16 Animal Kingdom $43.80 $19.60 $13.00
19 Nehro $8.80 $6.40
13 Mucho Macho Man $7.00
||Posted - 05/07/2011 : 05:51:17 AM
Good Luck Today
2011 Kentucky Derby Live Odds
Last Updated: May 7, 2011 2:27am EST
Pool Total: $140,366.00
NUMBER NAME TRAINER JOCKEY MORNING LINE CURRENT ODDS
1 Archarcharch William Fires Jon Court 10 13
2 Brilliant Speed Thomas Albertrani Joel Rosario 30 30
3 Twice the Appeal Jeff Bonde Calvin Borel 20 7
4 Stay Thirsty Todd Pletcher Ramon Dominguez 20 16
5 Decisive Moment Juan Arias Kerwin Clark 30 37
6 Comma to the Top Peter Miller Patrick Valenzuela 30 42
7 Pants On Fire Kelly Breen Rosie Napravnik 20 9
8 Dialed In Nicholas Zito Julien Leparoux 4 5
9 Derby Kitten Michael Maker Javier Castellano 30 29
10 Twinspired Michael Maker Mike Smith 30 21
11 Master of Hounds Aidan O'Brien Garrett Gomez 30 19
12 Santiva Eddie Kenneally Shaun Bridgmohan 30 29
13 Mucho Macho Man Katherine Ritvo Rajiv Maragh 12 12
14 Shackleford Dale Romans Jesus Castanon 12 21
15 Midnight Interlude Bob Baffert Victor Espinoza 10 10
16 Animal Kingdom H. Motion Robby Albarado 30 23
17 Soldat Kiaran McLaughlin Alan Garcia 12 17
18 Uncle Mo Todd Pletcher John Velazquez SCR
19 Nehro Steven Asmussen Corey Nakatani 6 8
20 Watch Me Go Kathleen O'Connell Rafael Bejarano 50 26