Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Louisville KY - The Kentucky Derby Museum

While in Louisville we went to the Kentucky Derby Museum at Churchill Downs.  It has one of the best museums we have ever seen.  It was very well done.  That, along with a tour of the grounds, made for a great time.

In 1872, Meriwether Lewis, grandson of William Clark of Lewis and Clark fame, visited the Epsom Derby in England and the French Jockey Club in Paris.  Inspired, he returned to Louisville and raised money for the Louisville Jockey Club.  The Churchill family donated the land which became the home to what is now known as 'the fastest two minutes in sports'.
Our tickets included a guided tour of the grounds, access to the museum with very interesting displays, and the informative 20 minute film.
A lush blanket of 554 individual roses is draped over the winning horse.  The tradition of 'the run for the roses began in 1883.

Other displays show some examples of the hats ladies wear to the proceedings on the day of the Kentucky Derby.

The 30 minute guided tour took us under the viewing stands, over to the padduck, out to the track and over  to the place where a horse is retired and on display.
Just on the other side of the padduck is the stands the track.  During Race Day, the owners talk to the jockeys and horses before the race, and it is hard to get to their seats in the stands because of the mob of people.  They only have a few minutes to get from here to their seats.  Meanwhile the horses are being taken out to the track and placed into position into the starting gates.
A maximum of twenty horses run in the Kentucky Derby and one time in their life.  The Kentucky Derby is only for three year olds.  There is never a return winner.   Other interesting facts:

  • In the padduck, each horse moves from their stable to the infield and pass by a person who checks their identify.  Each horse has a tattoo on their gums for that purpose.
  • "My Old Kentucky Home", played when the horses enter the field, has been played by the University of Louisville Marching Band every year since 1936.
  • The fastest time (1:59:40) was run by Secretariat in 1973.
  • The track started out at 1 1/2 miles in length.  It was shortened to its present distance of 1 1/4 miles.
  • The infield will hold about 80,000 people, making it Kentucky's third largest "city" after Louisville and Lexington.
  • Since 1946, the Kentucky Derby is run on the first Saturday in May.
  • The traditional drink served at the Kentucky Derby is the 'Mint Julip' which consists of bourbon, syrup sugar and mint with lots of ice.
That is all for this edition of the Roadrunner Chronicles.  If you ever get a chance to see Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby Museum, I highly recommend it.  You will not be disappointed!

Thanks for joining us!


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