You may find it impossible to believe there’s anything of importance going on in these parts besides that big horse race on Saturday. We understand. But there is — it’s called the gubernatorial primary, and it’s a 10-horse race across two parties.
Got your Derby on and ready to muddle through stacks of speed ratings, dosage numbers, databases and diatribes? Again with the mundane search for prescient visions of lucky numbers, memorable monikers or catchy-colored saddle clothes?
There’s a phrase trainers will sometimes use after their horse wins the Kentucky Derby. They’ll thank their lucky stars and note the horse “didn’t find a straw in his path.” Which means the trainer pointed for months at the Derby, and found that everything fell perfectly into place. Everything went right and nothing went wrong — not a straw in his path.
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Trainer Carl Nafzger understands that the Kentucky Derby extends beyond Barn 26.
Nine years ago, I wrote a column about my dad and his older brother that attempted to examine, and glorify, their annual Kentucky Derby ritual, which I learned, after asking questions for the piece, dated at least to the early 1950s. Specifically, I was out to document their streak of consecutive years attending the Derby together, which they agreed began in 1954, and to poke some gentle fun at their habits, which I had observed every year of my life like clockwork.
From the outside looking infield: Face it, folks: Derby means more to us than those Churchill Downers
Many moons have phased in and out since I last walked the streets of Louisville, but the Ville is where my thoughts turn when Derby is around the corner.I have always known the race as a celebration of national-holiday magnitude. As a child I was groomed to appreciate the various pleasures of Derbytime, the zenith of a spirited season initiated by Thunder Over Louisville. Throughout my elementary school years, it was customary for children to be dismissed on the first Friday of May — naturally — for Oaks Day.
From Aristides to Barbaro, 132 years of shimmering, muscular horseflesh has drawn the world to Louisville and held crowds in various states of awe. But the intensity of the celebration, including the sweat, danger and money, extends beyond the realm of thoroughbreds.
To paraphrase Gertrude Stein, if “a horse is a horse is a horse,” wouldn’t all those visual interpretations of the animal be repetitive? But after visiting the various Derby-related art exhibitions around Louisville, I quickly realized there is no definitive horse image — nor should there be.
Nancy Hanson: Photo by Angela Shoemaker Nancy Hanson buys a cinnamon roll from Bill and Teresa Dickey of Natureâ€™s Dream Farm. The Dickeys prepare their food offsite; with the passage of a new law during the most recent General Assembly session, the pair can start cook