Editoral Paddock- Making History
The 146th running of the Kentucky Derby is now history. I imagine it will be one that will go down in the history books for so many reasons.
This year's Run For Roses wasn't held on the first Saturday of May, which was the traditional date. The race was run on the last Saturday of August, coinciding with Labor Day. Why - the pandemic. The date wasn't the only thing that had changed. The stands were not filled with thousands of race fans. No parade of women wearing their " Derby Hats" or drinking of Mint Juleps. The infield of the track was not filled with people as it always is. It was empty, too.
When they led the horses to the saddling paddock no crowds cheered as they passed. It was eerily quiet as they made the call to the post and horses walked onto the track while they played " My Old Kentucky Home". When the horses broke from the gait there was no thunderous applause from the thousands in the stands. There were not thousands of people cheering for their favorite to win. When they came down to the wire and crossed the finish line there wasn't a roar from the crowd. You could hear the horses hooves and the chatter between the jockeys who were miked, but that was all you could hear.
Outside the gates of Churchill Downs protesters and counter-protesters filled the streets, prompting the track to increase security. Protesters called for justice for Breonna Taylor, 26, who was shot and killed by Louisville police in her home on March 13. The protests were, for the most part, peaceful. They spoke about the origins of the song " My Old Kentucky Home '' and asked for a moment of silence for those affected by injustice. The jockeys wore black armbands to show their support of Black Lives Matter.
With all that had changed, however, the one thing that remained for me were the horses themselves. Those beautiful magnificent animals who bring so much to our lives. Horses aren't aware of a pandemic, political issues or social injustice. For those few minutes those horses were running on that track, those watching (the trainers, the jockeys, the outriders, grooms and gate crew) thoughts were only on those horses galloping down the track. At that moment in time we were all horse people and we were united. Horses have a gift for bringing humans together.