Run For The Roses

It’s Derby Week, all leading up to the 133rd running of the Kentucky Derby this first Saturday in May. Twenty three year-old colts will enter the starting gate at Churchill Downs to “run for the roses.”

Although the Kentucky Derby is probably the most popular horse race of the year, the race certainly does not contain the best race horses out there. The Derby runners are three year old colts, the equivalent of teenage boys. Many are not yet completely developed, but asked to run 1.25 miles, farther than they’ve run before, and carry 126 pounds (jockey included), which is more than they’ve carried before. And then these 20 young colts leave the crowded paddock area, walk slowly through the tunnel under the stands, and then parade in front of the Churchill Downs grandstand, packed with 150,000 noisy people.

The horses don’t have a thought, obviously, but entering the starting gate for the Kentucky Derby is truly “the chance of a lifetime in a lifetime of chance…” as Dan Fogelberg sings in his beautiful song “Run for the Roses”, which previewed at the 1980 Kentucky Derby.


The video uses Fogelberg’s song as a backdrop to a tribute to Barbaro, the winner of the 2006 Kentucky Derby. Barbaro was the heroic young race horse who broke his leg in three places just after the gates opened last May 15 at the Preakness Stakes, the second jewel of the Triple Crown. Although he survived several surgeries, he was put down this January 29.

On May 2, is the post position draw, and sometime after that draw, I might add a few comments about my choices for the Kentucky Derby.


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