Louisville Magazine

APR 2012

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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138 REASONS WE LOVE DERBY No. 74: "They're in the gate...and they're off in the Kentucky Derby!" My first Derby was Alysheba, the start of a run of five I covered as a sportswriter. I was in my early 20s then, naturally too cool for any- thing but skepticism and a practiced jadedness I decided made me seem older and more experienced. Te Derby? Just another horse race, another assignment for ol' Scoop here. But a funny thing happened on the way to playing it cool. In the seconds before the gates crashed open and the horses charged past the grandstand for the first time, my hands shook so violently I couldn't hold my bin- oculars. As I grew older, more experienced and less jaded, I looked forward to that moment utterly beyond my control. It seemed a perfect metaphor for something. I think it's called life. — KW No. 78: Waving to the Pegasus Parade grand marshal. William Shatner in 1992 (below) was a hoot on a horse, although Ned Beatty in '87 was our favorite. No. 75: Tacky jackets. Derby Festival staffers proudly wear these fashion don'ts, which are so ugly they're almost chic. (Hey, GQ magazine once featured them.) Te jackets are "an unusual badge of honor," says Mike Berry, Derby Festival president and CEO. "Often maligned, but more often sought." Word is that one former board member left his jacket in his car and returned to find his vehicle broken into and the jacket stolen. When we first heard the beginning of that story, we thought it would end with the car broken into and the vandal having left a second jacket. No. 76: Even tackier hats. No. 79: Money can't buy a Derby winner. Of the 21 Kentucky Derby winners since 1970 who were originally purchased at auction (homebreds and private sales account for the other 20), the consensus huge bargain was Triple Crown champion Seattle Slew, who earned $1.2 million in his racing career and millions more in the breeding shed, but whose outward-curving right front foot made him worth just $17,500 to the buying public at a 1975 Fasig-Tipton yearling sale. He wasn't the cheapest of the auctioned future Derby win- ners, however. Dust Commander went for $6,500 as a yearling in 1968; a small and scrawny Mine Tat Bird brought $9,500 in 2007; and Real Quiet and his crooked knees drew a tepid bid of $17,000 in 1996. Te lowest of the low bids, though, was for 1971 Derby and Preak- ness champ Canonero II at the Keeneland September yearling sale in 1969: the opening — and only — bid of $1,200. — JW No. 80: We've been horse crazy forever. In 1871, four years before the first Derby, Louisville was home to eight racetracks. According to Churchill Downs: A Documentary History of America's Most Legendary Race Track, by Sam Tomas, the Louisville Jockey Club held a three-day meet as early as 1822 at Peter Funk's track, near where today's Hurstbourne Parkway meets Taylorsville Road. [28] LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 4.12 DERBY FESTIVAL PHOTO PHOTO BY DANNY DEMPSTER DERBY FESTIVAL PHOTO No. 77: Hot-air balloons dot the sky.

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