The Derby and Louisville, Kentucky

I have been a huge fan of race horses since I was a kid. One of my earliest memories is actually being taken to Churchill Downs for a late night kind of race. I still don’t know what sort of racing it was but I do recall that the horses had little carriages or buggies tied to them. This is a memory that has stuck with me forever, I can’t just vaguely recall the race itself being at night and some of the people around me. I don’t recall any impressions of the race other than the importance of it being stuck with me.

Growing up in Louisville, Kentucky is kind of like that, though. For the rest of the world they see Churchill Downs as being home of the Derby with nothing in-between. It’s like everything that happens i this city is nothing but a huge lead up for the Derby and then, nothing. We live in a world that is half real and half not. With so much money to be made from the massive amounts of consumerism that happens during those few weeks,it’s like everyone and everything is on display or for sale, especially the horses themselves.

I’ve been to the Derby and the Oaks nearly every year since I turned sixteen. Each and every year seems like the same. There are rarely any upsets that happen now. It’s like the horses are modeled so perfectly through artificial breeding programs while the training programs are very similar to each other, it doesn’t allow any room for natural mutations to occur – like Secretariat. We’ll never see another horse of his type for as long as we continue to allow this sort of training and breeding to happen and the race will always feel very much like the one before it.

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