Kentucky Derby Creates Lasting Memories

Sophomore+Faith+Stapleton+holds+her+Kentucky+Derby+tickets+at+Churchill+Downs+in+Louisville%2C+Kentucky+on+May+6%2C+2017.+%28Faith+Stapleton%2F+The+Talon+News%29
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Kentucky Derby Creates Lasting Memories

Sophomore Faith Stapleton holds her Kentucky Derby tickets at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky on May 6, 2017. (Faith Stapleton/ The Talon News)

Sophomore Faith Stapleton holds her Kentucky Derby tickets at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky on May 6, 2017. (Faith Stapleton/ The Talon News)

Sophomore Faith Stapleton holds her Kentucky Derby tickets at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky on May 6, 2017. (Faith Stapleton/ The Talon News)

Sophomore Faith Stapleton holds her Kentucky Derby tickets at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky on May 6, 2017. (Faith Stapleton/ The Talon News)

Faith Stapleton, Photography Editor

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The feeling of being in the crowd as the horses round the final turn for the home stretch in the Kentucky Derby can only be described as surreal.  

After the a thirteen hour drive to get to Louisville, seeing Churchill Downs in person for the first time was well worth the trip. My dad and I were watching the Kentucky Oaks our first day at Churchill Downs. Nicknamed the Twin Spires, Churchill Downs is a beautiful track, and was nearly breathtaking, even with the rain. That was the day we had planned on exploring around the Twin Spires, but due to the weather we stuck to only getting from our covered seats to get food or bet. Even with the unfortunate weather, my dad and I had a blast on our first day at the races.

The next day was the run for the roses (also known as the Kentucky Derby). Upon our arrival to Churchill Downs, the feeling excitement filled the stadium and hit me as soon as I walked in. I was immediately uplifted and ready to face the large crowd to our seats. The actual Kentucky Derby is one of the last races of the day, so we got to watch some of the races from the paddock where they saddle the horses. I loved seeing the horses get saddled for the races. I actually prefered to pick which horse I thought was going to win from seeing them in the paddock, because normally the ones that seem ready to go did the best. The experience of just being able to see races at the Twin Spires was unbelievable and it almost didn’t feel real to me.  

Finally the Kentucky Derby was ready to run. We sang the “National Anthem” and “My Old Kentucky Home”, a tradition to sing before the derby. Then the sweet sound of the call to post is played by the bugler, meaning the horses are headed from the paddock to be loaded in the starting gate. My dad and I got lucky, our grandstand seats were right in front of the starting gate and final turn for the Kentucky Derby. The only downside was that people had their phones up in the air so we couldn’t see anything. It was okay after the bell rang signaling the start of the shortest two minutes of my life. Just thinking back to it now I can only remember blurs of it, because I was too shocked in that I was really there and not at home watching it on TV to fully remember it all. What I can say though is that there is nothing that will replace the mixed feelings of anticipation and excitement that everyone at the Twin Spires and I felt as the twenty horses rounded the final turn for the home stretch. Nothing will ever take that feeling and those memories of the Kentucky Derby and they will stay close to my heart all my life.

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