Racing News

What Brings You to the Derby?

| Churchill Downs | 05/07/2012 #

The obsessive horse person

At the Derby from Palm Beach County, Florida, for her sister's bachelorette party. Joining them is a friend who's a New York City fashion designer and took the occasion to design all their hats.

"I'm an obsessive horse person, since I was seven years old. I used to work at a barn for free lessons. Scooping poop was fun for me. I am so happy to be here."

The reunion
Derek, Shawn, Ben, Brad

College and high school friends who use the Derby as the milieu for the occasional reunion. Why? Simple. "It's the Kentucky Derby."

Advice for first-timers? "Don't run on top of the infield porta-potties."

The infield crew
Kelly, Black Bear, Uncle Sam, Foster the People, Benedict Arnold
(Editor's note: some given names may be fabricated)

Have been traveling to the Derby from Cincinnati for over 5 years. What brings them back? "The hats." "The alcohol." "The people watching." "The horsies." "(Unintelligible)."

Advice for new Derby-goers? "$10 on red."
(Editor's note: is not liable for advice.)

The traveled
Karen, Allison, Sarah

Horse racing fans from Australia realizing a lifelong goal of attending the Kentucky Derby. "In Australia, horse racing is quite popular, so we've followed the Derby for years. Attending the Derby is a bit of a milestone if you're a racing fanatic."

The new best friends
Sharon, Elise

Sharon, a horse enthusiast from Florida joined at the paddock by Elise from Virginia. Why attend the Derby? Says Elise, "Why not? It's a bucket list item. Something one has to do."

The guide
Terry, Mario, Patrick

This is Mario and Patrick's first Derby. It is Terry's 32nd. Why come back to the Derby year after year? Because "It's the Derby. It's in the blood." His advice for people at their first? "Plan for everything. Walks. Lines. And have a great time."

The convert

Her first Derby was last year. After talking it up all year to her friends in Austin, she brought some new first-timers to show around this year. She's drawn not just to the Derby, but the entire area: "There's lots to do during the week. Come early, experience the city. We toured some horse farms in the area this week. It was amazing."


The Kentucky Derby is more than a race, and more than a single day. It's a multi-day event including Taste of Derby, the Kentucky Oaks and festivities throughout the Louisville area. If you can't make the Derby in person, you can follow the action at or wager online at

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