I can hear it now. Tightly packed, shoulder to shoulder, pink seersucker shuffling through crowds. The Buglehorn beckons our attention to finish Bourbon-infused-Bets as horses are called to the post. Millionaires gather along rows above high schoolers smuggling sips and cigars in the infield. Two-year-olds jockey around ten furlongs of historic dirt beneath hundred-year-old twin spires.
This year fans in the grandstands, paddocks, and grounds have been scratched. Across the board, the “decadent and depraved” are deprived of the chance to saddle up with 200,000 of their closest friends. In the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby, masks now replace silks and hats, and at-home extravaganzas are now just extra-ordinary. While beautiful weather is in the forecast, for yet another year, our emotions are drenched.
As a life-long Louisvillian, it is hard to imagine a year without attending the Derby. But it is easier to manage than this year of dueling pandemics-racism and coronavirus. This year, hard times have knocked upon our closed business and home-isolated doors. For over 100 days, people have wept for our local lady–Breonna Taylor–who died in her Kentucky home. This year, the sun does not seem as bright as it once shined.
Yet, like every Derby longshot, there is hope along the homestretch. It is still too close to call, but along each turn, we have seen that we can get through this together.
No handicap is needed. For this 146th Kentucky Derby, my bet is on the people of My Old Kentucky Home.