Hell in the Hall – Louisville Sports Blog

Dedicated to the joyful noise of the Card faithful

The Derby… and What It All Still Means

Posted by frankpos on April 28, 2010

“This Kentucky Derby, whatever it is–a race, an emotion, a turbulence, an explosion–is one of the most beautiful and violent and satisfying things I have ever experienced.”

John Steinbeck

The Derby in 1902 appeared to be a festive and elegant affair, as shown in these two vintage postcards.

With horse racing as a sport continuing its decades old steep decline in the public imagination as well as in bottom-line ratings….does the Kentucky Derby truly still stand among the great, must see, sports events in this nation? Does it mean anything, to anybody, anymore?

I think the Derby unique among the major events — it embodies history as no other–even more so than the Masters. A thread of history runs through the Derby that ties the elegance and refinement of sporting for over 150 years through today.

And…unlike even boxing, it packs a knockout punch every year, condensed in a two minute explosion of power, emotion, and drama, fueled by the screams of over 100,000 people, as the cavalry charge of over 20 horses whips and pounds down the stretch to the wire.

Don’t believe me?  Here are some others who are willing to bear witness to the Derby’s greatness….

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/columns/story?columnist=forde_pat&id=2858706

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1129634/index.htm

http://www.chrudat.com/derby.html


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5 Responses to “The Derby… and What It All Still Means”

  1. Derby Fan said

    It’s funny. Over here in England the Grand National is the most famous horse race yet real sports fans prefer the Derby (the English version I mean). I think it’s like the Kentucky Derby – a great mix of sporting endeavour coupled with years of history. A great sports event, whatever side of the pond you’re on.

  2. frankpos said

    Roz,

    No, I don’t attend the Derby or Oaks anymore. I may again one day. Like many natives, I have been overwhelmed by the crowds, even on Oaks, formerly the day for the locals–now that’s become Thursday, or even Wednesday…

    I may go again one day, just for the color and pageantry. There is nothing quite like it for fashion at a sporting event– or for the mad dash of excitement in the mere minutes between “My Old Kentucky Home” and the scream of the crowd at the wire.

    The bugle sounds and the horses come onto the track; the crowd stands, some on their seats, craning for a view.

    You look out. The whole enormity of the track and crowd and event sweep over you as My Old Kentucky Home starts up. And you cry…yes, you will cry.

    Now that I’m old(er), I find I cry even more (er).

    As with you perhaps, tears welled as Borel screamed out in joy and sorrow and pride for his parents.

    And yes, the old jock made a Hall of Fame ride thru spots so narrow that Sports Illustrated pics make you wonder “How the Hell??!!…”

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