Derby 150 – Memories to Last a Lifetime

by Ed Meyer

posted on May 5, 2024 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Handicapping, Horse Racing, Kentucky Derby, | Comments Off on Derby 150 – Memories to Last a Lifetime

A good friend and I spoke on Oaks night as we chatted back and forth about the horses, the people involved, and the beauty of the sport. – I didn’t think he’d be going down this year as he has become a player from home catching all of the commentary about the event. – “Ed, I have to make this Derby. I was on hand for Kentucky Derby 100, and now I’m going to Derby 150.” I was so happy my friend was making the journey and experiencing the day. He is a true Renaissance man in every sense of the word. Taking incredible photos, writing, and working with people who have been going since Derby 100. I hope you had a great day my friend. Long may you snap the photo at the wire, write a compelling story, or just chat with old friends. Hope you had a winning day, John Engelhardt.

Two people came up and knocked on my window. I came around and greeted the two older fans who were dressed to the nines. “ Hello, we were just wondering if we could come up and watch you call a race. It seems so exciting.”  – My two new friends met at the Derby in the ’60s and always wanted to come up and see behind the curtain. It was my pleasure to allow a couple of new friends in my booth as I explained what was going on as the horses came to the paddock, let them look around through my binoculars, and talked about racing history. It was an enjoyable time meeting new friends; I was surprised when they asked kindly if they could stay for another race. Kind and gentle sitting next to each other holding hands. She only let go once as that was when I asked her to call the horses onto the track. – Meeting new friends, and enjoying the day was one of the best ways to usher in Kentucky Derby 150. I’ll remember this Derby with a smile for a long time.

Watching all of the doings of the day was terrific. The Winner’s Circle has now been named in honor of the 5th all-time leading rider in North American history, Perry Ouzts. The paddock was packed. It was amazing watching a gentleman who plied his trade 20 miles away from his front door. A family man from Lepanto, Arkansas who hails from a racing family and a man of few words. Perry prefers to do his talking on horseback on the lead. That’s his signature. Break them quick and go right to the lead. – His cousin Earlie Fires was one of the best speed riders to sit in the saddle, and Perry was right there in the same conversation. Both are listed in the top riders in North American riding history. Congratulations, Perry. Long may you ride!

Thoroughbred racing was alive and well this first Saturday in May. To me, the Oaks and Derby make horse racing fans of everyone for a couple of days. The apron was packed, lines for concessions filled, and fans from all walks enjoying the action. – Hearing the cheering crowd made me get chills as it took me back to any day I was with my Dad at the track. As the horses got closer, the cheers from the stands got louder. Great day to be at the races. – I look back on this day with fond memories. I could say that about all of them, but this one was special. I am grateful for the opportunity to work in racing doing what I enjoy, and to this day my favorite part of the track is the people you see. A melting pot of sorts, and one of the only places you’ll see the lawyer standing next to the plumber sharing a beer and talking about the day’s events. Yeah, it was a damn good day to be a racing fan.