The Derby 2020


Masks and social distancing did not dampen the enthusiasm for the Kentucky Derby, run in September this year.

Although the 146th Kentucky Derby was postponed from its usual run on the first Saturday in May this year, it was brought back Saturday September 5th.  Like so much in life during the global pandemic, it was a very different way of having the Derby. Only the owners of the horses running could attend. As a result, the stands and infield, which are usually filled to capacity, were virtually empty. Those who could attend practiced social distancing and wore masks along with their finest derby attire.

The COVID restrictions were disappointing to many for whom the Derby is a cherished tradition.  Sophomore Laurel Setzer and her family have always been into horse racing and her parents have been to the Derby for years. For her, watching the race on television was not the same. “For me, personally, I would much rather see a race in person!! When you watch it on TV you’re only seeing one angle/perspective when there’s so many to take into consideration. When you’re in person you can see things such as the condition of the track, the weather conditions and many more. It’s always good to see the horses before the race it gives you a better look at their physical appearance and their behaviors before the race. These can largely play into how they’ll perform in the race. Lastly the energy!! Horse racing is something people put money into sometimes small amount and sometimes very large; they’re invested in a way and have a strong desire to win. This creates a crazy and fun atmosphere filled with adrenaline, excitement, and when your horse wins the best feeling of achievement!!”

Evelyn Parrish was one of the few to be able to attend, as she is an owner of the 2020 Derby winner Authentic. She explained how thrilling it was for her to be at Churchill Downs this year. “My favorite thing about the Derby is it’s beauty – beautiful clothes and hats, beautiful horses, beautiful racing silks, and that it showcases our beautiful state to the world! This one was special because I was able to own a small piece of the winning horse, Authentic!” Along with Evelyn Parish.  Fellow part-owner of Authentic Karen Butler agreed. “My favorite part of the Derby includes the history and traditions – hats, mint juleps, roses, celebrities, and beautiful horses. This was the best Kentucky Derby because I own part of the winner Authentic who is a product of the great breeding program at Spendthrift Farm in Lexington KY.”

Even though the Derby was extremely different everyone made the most of it. Onto the next race!