Kentucky Derby with Friends   2 comments

Kentucky Derby with Friends

April 29 – May 4, 2015


Don’t let it ever be said that this Altoona bunch hasn’t made it to the Kentucky Derby, Louisville, Kentucky.  Not only were we there, but we were there in style.  Please note all the awesome hats!  (Hats by Cindy of Olathe.)  The race is known as one of the oldest sporting events in America and also as “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports.” 


We decided to all board the coach and go to the Derby with “Village Tours & Travel, Wichita KS.”  It was a good stress-free way to go to the Derby, and great fun along the way with our friends!  As per my google map it was about 1,400 miles round-trip.  On the way to Louisville we stayed one night in Columbia MO.  We stayed outside of Louisville in Elizabethtown for three nights, and then one night in Springfield MO on our return home. 

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American Pharoah won the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby.  We had the privilege of watching American Pharoah win the first race of his run for the triple crown.  He has become only the 12th horse in history to win the Triple Crown and the first in 37 years.  



 On the way to Louisville we stopped for a nice lunch.  It was family style all you could eat, until they said “okay, that’s all you can eat.”  Just kidding!


We stayed at Stone Creek Hotel in Columbia.  A very nice hotel. 


We boarded the Spirit of Jefferson for a sightseeing cruise on one of America’s last true Mississippi river steamboats still in operation.  Back in the day goods and passengers were ferried along the Ohio River.  Today, it’s tourist day. Sailing we did go, but the first order of business was lunch on the riverboat. 


After lunch we had our first experience at Churchill Downs.   Directly in front of Gate 1 at Churchill Downs is the grave and the life-sized statue of Barbaro with his rider, Edgar Prado.  He won the 2006 Derby and two weeks later was injured in the Preakness and died several months after that. 

May I please point out that it is suggested to wear PINK to this race.  The Altoona bunch was certainly all decked out in our pink!


We entered Churchill Downs and got to watch several races, but the race of the day was the “Kentucky Oaks” race. The Oaks is one of the biggest races for three year old fillies in this country.  We joined the thousands in the sea of pink. 


Churchill Downs & lots of pink & lots of people in hats.


Fun looking at all the pink hats.  It was the highest Oaks attendance in history…..123,763. 


Yep, we know those people.  Our seats were located on the third row from the racing track.  The official drink for the Oaks Race is the Grey Goose Oaks Lilly.  The $9 drink is appropriately done in pink so of course it was a must to have a pink blouse, pink hat and a pink drink.  Karen has a much larger lemonade! 


On the big screen….singing of “My Old Kentucky Home.”    And, the call to post by the bugler which has gone on for well over a century. 


The horses parading by on their way to the starting gates.   The race is on and we are watching the back side of the track on the big screen. 


And they race right by in front of us. Lovely Maria was the winner of the Kentucky Oaks Race!  The media reported that Lovely Maria netted herself a 2.5-length victory with a time of 1:50.45 and the lion’s share of the $1 million purse.  And lastly I have collected my winnings!


We started Kentucky Derby Day by driving from Elizabethtown to Lexington to visit the Kentucky Horse Park.  We saw beautiful farms along the way.


Kentucky Horse Park:  It’s a working horse farm and an educational theme park opened in 1978 in Lexington, Kentucky.  At the entrance of the park is a life size statue of the 1973 U.S. Triple Crown winner Secretariat with jockey Ron Turcotte aboard and being led by groom Eddie Sweat.   Secretariet is also buried at this spot. 


Lovely statues are located all around the park.


Inside the Farrier Shop.


Beautiful barns and grounds


The Kentucky Horse Park is home to some of the world’s greatest competition horses.  They brought these famous horses into a small area and at the same time showed video’s of their most famous race. 


We watched the “Horses of the World Show.”  It showcases both common and rare horses from around the globe.  The horses are ridden in authentic costume. 


After a delicious lunch at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, we boarded our coach and drove to Churchill Downs in Louisville to watch the Kentucky Derby.  We were about to experienced the sights, sounds and pageantry of the most prestigious event for thoroughbred racing—the Kentucky Derby.

The Kentucky Derby has been held annually since 1875 on the first Saturday of May at Churchill Downs Racetrack in Louisville, Kentucky.    It’s the grade 1 stakes race for 3 year old thoroughbred horses.  The race distance is one and one-quarter miles long, and it is run on the dirt race track at Churchill Downs.  The colts and geldings in the race carry 126 pounds.  20 horses compete in the Kentucky Derby.  These 20 horses racing in the Kentucky Derby must first travel along the Road to the Kentucky Derby, which is a series of 35 races taking place at tracks across the country and the world.  Points are awarded to the top 4 horses that finish in each of those 35 races, and the 20 horses with the most points earn a spot in the starting gate in the Kentucky Derby race.  The winning purse is $2 Million.

The Altoona group is ready for the Kentucky Derby.  Is the Kentucky Derby ready for the Altoona group? 



Our seats for the Kentucky Derby, were higher up than the seats we had for Oaks Race the day before.  We arrived with plenty of time to see several races before the actual big highlight of the day…the run for the roses!


The Mint Julip has been the traditional beverage of Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby for nearly a century.   Each year almost 120,000 bourdon based Mint Juleps are served over the two-day period of Kentucky Oaks & Kentucky Derby.  This feat requires more than 10,000 bottles of Old Forester Mint Julip Ready-to-Serve Cocktail, 1,000 pounds of freshly harvested mint and 60,000 pounds of ice. 


The 2015 Kentucky Derby posted a new attendance record of 170,513. 


The Bugler bugles, the Kentucky Derby post parade ensues, the band strikes up “My Old Kentucky Home” and 170,000 + people sing along!  A report indicates that 1930 may have been the first year the song was played as the horses were led in the post parade.


It was time for the Post Parade. One could see the big screen with a close-up and statistics on each horse.  Then looking carefully down at the track, and over all the people & hats one could see the parade to the post. 


And the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby was on!


And there they go!  Thus we witnessed “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports.” 


Over $150 million is won by bettors wagering on the Kentucky Derby.  Of course there must be a final picture of this person in red after collecting her winnings.  Please note:  there was plenty of money left for all the other people who bet on the Derby!


American Pharoah was the winner of the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby.  After winning the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes he has become the 12th Triple Crown winner, and first in 37 years.

{I copied the following photo & stats from}

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Thus ends a fun trip for eight friends from Altoona, who each checked another exciting adventure from their bucket lists. 


Posted August 3, 2015 by marilynfarmer in Travel

2 responses to “Kentucky Derby with Friends

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  1. Glad you decided to add this trip to your blog. This “Group from Altoona” look very classy decked out in their attire for both race days!

  2. Do you suppose that the group from Altoona are just flat “classy” folks? Oops, maybe not! I’m afraid too many know us and might disagree. However, maybe they’d agree that we clean up pretty good. haha

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