Driving to Sullivan's Steak House at about quarter to 3:00 p.m.
My British friend Marc (now resident in Holland) who I must say has the most annoying sense of humour called me today to ask what I was doing: I said I was getting ready to go to Sullivan's Steak House here in Tucson to watch the Kentucky Derby with my meet up friends. He laughed out loud and immediately went "Americans are a funny people, for more than a century you have been entertained by the most ridiculous, bizarre sport ever devised, that horse thing is nothing but an excuse for the rich to play with their money and the rest is to shoe off a long lost southern elegance". Wow! I was speechless, how did he know so much about the history of the Derby? but it got me thinking, could this actually be true? well does it really matter? I would rather watch the horses race than humans trying to fall out of planes in the name of sky diving.
The Kentucky Derby is a Grade 1 stakes race for three year-old thorough bred horses, held annually in Louisville, Kentucky, on the first Saturday in May, capping the two week long Kentucky Derby Festival.
The race is one and a quarter miles at Churchill Downs. The race is known in the United States as “The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports" for its approximate duration, and is also called " he Run for the Roses" for the blanket of roses draped over the winner. It is the first leg of the United States Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing and is followed by the Preakness Stakes and then the Belmont Stakes.
Barbara, Marie, Margaret, Cindy and Me
The background of horse racing in Kentucky dates back to the seventeen hundreds when the very first race course was laid down in Lexington. But it seems that it was not until one hundred years later when Churchill Downs officially began the long standing tradition of the “Home of the Kentucky Derby” The roles played in history to keep this tradition alive and popular varies and includes the African-Americans and women in sports.
All the ladies that attended the meet up
African-American horsemen played a vital role in shaping early American turf history, and the Kentucky derby is no exception to it. The history of the Kentucky derby and African-American horsemen are mingled together. The derby and Churchill Downs owe a great deal to those men who helped shape America’s greatest race. Thirteen of the fifteen horse riders in the first derby were African-American, while African-American reins men won fifteen of the derby’s first twenty eight running’s. On June 25, 1980, the eleven African-American jockeys who rode a total of fifteen derby winners between 1875 and 1902, were honoured by the NAACP and the Lincoln Foundation. A plaque commemorating the occasion is now in the Kentucky Derby Museum’s collection
What I found intriguing is the fact that women have participated in this world famous sport and history records their role as significant: in 1904, Mrs.
Laska Durnell nominated Elwood to Kentucky Derby, unbeknownst to her husband, trainer Charles Durnell. The decision was a shrewd one and Elwood won as the longest price in the field of five. Elwood was the first starter and winner owned by a woman, and also the first winner bred by a woman, Mrs. J.B> Prather. Besides the role of owner, a total of ten women trainers have sent eleven starters post ward in the Kentucky Derby, and four women have ridden in the famed “Run for the Roses”
The 135th running of the Kentucky Derby is being held today May 2,2009 in Louisville, Kentucky. It is speculated that this year's Derby should be, race-wise a little more livelier as a competition because the favourite horse, I Want Revenge, has dropped out of the race. This will not necessarily open things up for the long odds entrants, but it might just set up a battle between the remaining three or four horses that have a legitimate shot at winning. Unfortunately, I Want Revenge's anscence from the race means there will be n tripple crown winner this year again.
The three year old colt was scratched in the morning after the trainer Jeff Mullins discovered a hot spot on the horse's left front ankle. It is said that with a wet track expected, Mullins and the owner David Lanzman didn't want to take any chances.
Margaret, Me and Jennifer
Okay, off to Sullivan's Steak House to join my SAAC meet up Derby enthusiasts. I will post some photos of what transpires (winner and loosers) always a treat. In the meantime, who is your winning horse?
PS: I was no tin Kenturky, all this took place in hot Tucson :)