Kentucky-born humorist Irvin S. Cobb said this about the Kentucky Derby: “Until you go to Kentucky and with your own eyes behold a Derby, you ain’t been nowhere and you ain’t seen nothing.”
All I can say, after attending about 25 derbies in the last 30 years, is — he’s right.
We just got back Monday night from “My Old Kentucky Home,” where we had a great time enjoying the sights and sounds of Derby Weekend and Derby Day at historic Churchill Downs.
On Derby morning, I managed to cobble together five first-floor clubhouse tickets by positioning myself outside a major track entrance and holding up a sign that said: “Need one or two…For me (Jim) and my wife (Patty).”
Usually I do need only one or two, but this year our 23-year-old daughter Brooks and 21-year-old son Charlie went with us, as did a buddy of Charlie’s from Tulsa University. So, naturally, I kept my sign aloft and continued buying after I got the first two. With a record-setting crowd of 165,000 people descending on the track, extra tickets were relatively scarce, and the prices were unusually high. To give you an idea, I paid $1,370 for the five tickets — about $400 over total face value.
It was a memorable day — as Derby Day always is — made more special because Brooks and Patty bet on the winner, Animal Kingdom, who went off at 20-1. Patty netted about $40 on the race, while Brooks made about $60. Both were thrilled, as they were entitled to be: Picking the winner out of 20 horses (19 this year because of a scratch) is a daunting challenge.
Here, then, are some of the images from Derby 137.