Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A Tale of Two Derbys

This year I covered the 140th Kentucky Derby for Bloomberg News. It was an enjoyable change of pace to focus on the business side of things. As I wandered Churchill Downs for two days something struck me. From the ultra rich to the indebted gambling addict, all types turn out for the big day. It’s quintessential Kentucky. Horses, betting, big hats and bourbon. From the billionaires on the grandstand balcony, to the common man packed in the sweaty infield, there’s a place for everyone. Take a quick stroll under the grandstand on Derby morning and you’re sure to brush shoulders with horse lovers, socialites, racing fans, gamblers, millionaires, revelers, curious culture seekers, and drunk college students. Indeed, the Kentucky Derby is a curious cross-section of class and culture. Below are some photos from Derby weekend in diptych form.

Racegoers wear Derby hats at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.

From limousines to pickup trucks, attendees travel from around the state and around the world.

On the day of the Kentucky Derby, status determines your path of ingress.

The famous twin spires overlook Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.

From Mint Juleps to Bud Light Lime, drink is available for purchase and consumption.

Derby food.

Early birds arrive ahead of the inevitable Derby crowds.

Former MLB player Ken Griffey Jr. and the staff who mix drinks for the upper echelon.


Security at the Kentucky Derby is tight, whether you notice or not.

Bets are placed and the track takes a cut (no matter who you’re wearing)

Thoroughbreds gallop around the first turn.

Eyes are fixed on the races as trifectas hang in the balance.

Rosie Napravnik atop Untapable and Dan Schweickhardt of Alcoa, Tenn.

Betting slips and Bud Lite bottle aftermath.

Thanks for looking!

**Photos copyright Luke Sharrett and Bloomberg News**

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