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Kentucky Derby Museum

Kentucky Derby Museum shows fun side of Derby with new Horse Play Exhibit

Posted: April 9th, 2014

Opening April 14th, Horse Play will highlight the playful side of the Kentucky Derby featuring nearly 60 historic equine toys, digital interactives and music created exclusively for the museum. Drawing from over 140 years of history, Horse Play uses artifacts, games, photographs and videos to capture the engaging, curious and exciting event the Derby is today through the use of toys.

Created as a hands-on game experience, Horse Play will explore the sense of play that is a true part of the world’s greatest racing event. Visitors will activate the sights and sounds around them progressing from a history of horse toys and games to oversized versions of the artifacts themselves. As a ‘you can touch’ museum, guests are invited to engage their senses and play in the space while listening to the original music compositions created by the local musicians of Whistle Peak.

The museum has purchased a circa-1970’s, coin-operated, Kentucky Derby-themed carousel ride to become a permanent mainstay of the museum for this exhibit. Additional artifacts displayed in the exhibit range from bobbleheads, dolls and racing games to wooden horses and board games. Many of the featured items are on loan from collaborating partners including the Indianapolis Children’s Museum and the Ken Grayson Collection. Additional digital displays are contributed by KET and The Courier-Journal.

The exhibit is included in general admission and will be open to the public every day from Monday, April 14th through December 31, 2014 on the museum’s second floor in the Matt Winn Gallery.

Media images can be found here courtesy of Kentucky Derby Museum:

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2009 Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird returns to the Kentucky Derby Museum

Posted: March 5th, 2014



135th Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird will return to greet fans at the Kentucky Derby Museum this spring. The 2009 longshot will return to the museum for about three weeks in promotion of the upcoming film “50 to 1” which is based on the eight-year-old gelding’s shocking upset victory in the Derby five years ago.

On Thursday, April 17th at 10:00 a.m., a press event for the “50 to 1” movie will take place in the museum’s Great Hall (museum guests are invited to watch with paid admission) followed by media photo-ops with the movie team, real Derby winning team and Mine That Bird in the museum’s stable area.

“50 to 1” opens in Kentucky theaters on April 18th, directed by Jim Wilson with key roles of trainer and owner played by actors Skeet Ulrich (As Good As It Gets, The Newton Boys and Chill Factor) and Christian Kane (Taxi and Friday Night Lights) respectively. Jockey Calvin Borel plays himself in the film.

At 11:30 that morning, the museum will host a free poster signing and meet and greet with fans in the museum’s back garden tent. Mine that Bird will be available for guests to see at the same time until 4:00 p.m. that day.

On Friday, April 18th, Mine That Bird will ship to Keeneland for an appearance at the track before the races and he will be available for fans to see at the Kentucky Derby Museum’s “It’s My Derby” event hosted at Keeneland that evening, along with 2003 winner Funny Cide.

Mine That Bird will return to the Kentucky Derby Museum’s garden area on Saturday, April 19th and remain until May 10th. He will be available to guests with paid, museum admission. His appearance is made possible only with the help and generosity of his owner Mark Allen of Double Eagle Ranch in Roswell, New Mexico and Dr. Leonard Blach of Buena Suerte Equine. Bird earned $2,228,637 during his career with a second place finish in the Preakness Stakes behind champion filly Rachel Alexandra and a third place effort behind Summer Bird and Dunkirk in the Belmont Stakes.

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Posted: January 29th, 2014


Feature film about Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird, an inspiring underdog tale of misfit cowboys and their long shot racehorse, starring Skeet Ulrich, Christian Kane, William Devane, Madelyn Deutch, Todd Lowe and jockey Calvin Borel.

Hollywood, Calif. (Jan. 29, 2014) — The cast and filmmakers of ‘50 to 1’ will hit the road rock-star style on a cross-country tour beginning March 17 to promote the major motion picture’s release, says the film’s producer, director and co-writer Jim Wilson, Oscar®-winning producer of ‘Dances with Wolves.’

“We’re bringing ‘50 to 1’ to the people of America,” Wilson says. “The group will travel in a tour bus from New Mexico to Kentucky, making stops in cities and towns along the way, mirroring the trip racehorse Mine That Bird took on his way to the 2009 Kentucky Derby.

Cast members joining the tour will be Skeet Ulrich (Jericho, ‘Scream,’ ‘As Good As It Gets’), Christian Kane (Leverage, ‘Friday Night Lights,’ ‘Secondhand Lions,’ ‘Just Married’), Todd Lowe (True Blood, ‘The Princess Diaries,’ Gilmore Girls) and Hugo Perez (‘Machete,’ ‘The Longshots,’ ‘Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay’). Also on tour will be Wilson and co-producer, co-writer Faith Conroy. The real Mine That Bird will make special appearances along the tour.

“When was the last time Hollywood’s leading men hopped on a bus and toured the country from town to town, introducing their film to the people of America?” Wilson says. “It’s unprecedented.”
Read more »

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Horsing Around with Art Award Winners

Posted: January 22nd, 2014


Abby Moore • Mercy Academy • Grade 11

“It is really surreal that I won. I was literally shocked that I placed better than some of my other classmates! It is an honor to win, and I am happy with how my piece turned out! I am really excited to take some of my family and friends to the derby this year, I have always wanted to go! Derby is one of my favorite times of year, because every seven years my birthday falls on the same day, and because I love horses! It will definitely be a different experience in person compared to just watching it on tv. I am really excited to pick out a dress and a unique hat! I did not expect to win, but it definitely made me happy when you told me I did. Thank you so much for seeing such potential in my piece!! -Abby Moore ”

Anna Hennis • Assumption High School • Grade 12

Bethany Wethington • Breckinridge-Franklin Elementary • Grade 4

Taylor O’Neil • Mercy Academy • Grade 11

Victoria Horn • Carter Traditional Elementary • Grade 5

Winner will be notified at the end of the exhibition.


Primary Winners
1st Place - Lydia Elmore • Rangeland Elementary • Grade 3
2nd Place - Lilly Glazier • Friends Schoo • Grade 2
3rd Place - Sunghoon Go • Wilkerson Traditional Elementary • Grade 3

Intermediate Winners
1st Place - Grace Medley • St. Nicholas Academy • Grade 5
2nd Place - Trace Schamel • Stonestreet Elementary • Grade 5
3rd Place - Haley Fitz • Breckinridge-Franklin Elementary • Grade 4

Middle School Winners
1st Place - Maggie Michael • Barret Traditional Middle School • Grade 8
2nd Place - Brenna Schoenbachler • St. Bernard • Grade 8
3rd Place - Julie Nguyen • St. Nicholas Academy • Grade 8

High School Winners
1st Place - Matthew Sherman • Christian Academy of Louisville • Grade 12
2nd Place - John Faughender • Butler Traditional High School • Grade 12
3rd Place - Romello Henderson • Pleasure Ridge Park High School • Grade 12

Sculpture Award Winners
Grades 1-8 - Alex Dossett • Stonestreet Elementary • Grade 5
Grades 9-12 - Ashley Crouch • Christian Academy of Louisville • Grade 12


Primary Division
Alexander Gottfried • Breckinridge-Franklin Elementary • Grade 3
Charles Taylor III • Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary • Grade 3
Darcy Diaz • Rangeland Elementary • Grade 3
Dionna Young • Breckinridge-Franklin Elementary • Grade 3
Emily Kulp • St. Nicholas Academy • Grade 2
Erin Jacobs • Rangeland Elementary • Grade 1
Jack Christensen • Friends School • Grade 2
Jerimiah Collins • Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary • Grade 3
Kaylynn Berry • St. Nicholas Academy • Grade 2
Madilyn McCarthy • Wilkerson Traditional Elementary • Grade 3
Paris Lowery • Price Elementary • Grade 3
Sarah Breslin • Breckinridge-Franklin Elementary • Grade 3

Intermediate Division
Bethany Wethington • Breckinridge-Franklin Elementary • Grade 4
Caleb Snadon • Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary • Grade 5
David Surface • Carter Traditional Elementary • Grade 5
Jamarion Smith • Rangeland Elementary • Grade 4
Jayden Wickliffe • Stonestreet Elementary • Grade 5
Jordyn Coyle • Rangeland Elementary • Grade 4
Kennedy Hardison • Breckinridge-Franklin Elementary • Grade 5
Madison Glover • Breckinridge-Franklin Elementary • Grade 4
Re’anna Calloway • Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary • Grade 5
Santasia Mason • Wheatley Elementary • Grade 5
Tyler Brown • Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary • Grade 5
Victoria Horn • Carter Traditional Elementary • Grade 5

Middle School Division
Cameryn Oswald • St. Bernard • Grade 7
Chas Pemberton • St. Gabriel School • Grade 7
Darren Hollenkamp • Holy Family Catholic School • Grade 6
Emily Spicer • St. Nicholas Academy • Grade 8
Hannah Price • St. Bernard • Grade 8
Jason Higdon • St. Nicholas Academy • Grade 6
Kadie Fahnbulleh • Holy Family Catholic School • Grade 6
Katie Kimery • St. Bernard • Grade 7
Matthew Caldwell • St. Bernard • Grade 8
May Willcox • St. Nicholas Academy • Grade 6
Rachel Barber • St. Agnes • Grade 6
Sarah Rhodes • St. Francis of Assisi • Grade 7

High School Division
Andea Compton • Pleasure Ridge Park High School • Grade 11
Andria Meyers • Christian Academy of Louisville • Grade 11
Carsen Bryant • Mercy Academy • Grade 11
Clara Ruplinger • Louisville Male High School • Grade 12
Elijah Goesmann • Pleasure Ridge Park High School • Grade 11
Emma Goble • Atherton High School • Grade 12
Kelsey Goodman • Mercy Academy • Grade 11
Melanie Kaelin • Pleasure Ridge Park High School • Grade 11
Raquel Masterson • Atherton High School • Grade 9
Rena • Maryhurst Academy • Grade 10
Sarah Kinslow • Pleasure Ridge Park High School • Grade 12
Shaley Cochran • Ballard High School • Grade 9

If your student’s name is not stated on this list, he or she has received a Certificate of Participation for entering in the contest. This will be presented when the artwork is returned to the school this spring.

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Kentucky Derby Museum Opens Research Library and Shares Digital Collections

Posted: December 4th, 2013

The Kentucky Derby Museum announces a new opportunity for researchers to access more than 10,000 collection items as they relate to Kentucky Derby history. The Colonel Clark Library houses items dating back to the mid-19th century providing extensive resources through books, newspapers, magazines and manuscripts and it will now be open for the first time as a publicly accessible research center.

The centerpiece of the Colonel Clark Library is the collection of Jim Bolus, long-time sports writer, historian and renowned expert on the Kentucky Derby. The Bolus Collection consists of thousands of research files, printed materials and recorded interviews covering the sport of Thoroughbred racing from 1875 to 1995. The Library also houses primary documents on the history of Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby since its inaugural running in 1875 and approximately 3,000 published volumes which include noted Thoroughbred industry publications such as The Blood-Horse, Thoroughbred Times and the Daily Racing Form.

In addition to the new library, the museum has begun digitizing pieces of the artifact collection. Interested researchers can now access a searchable database by clicking on the “collections” tab under “about us” on our website, then clicking “search our collection”. More than 2500 items archival and research items have been added to the online database to date and this resource is updated regularly with additional images and content. More than 10,000 artifacts are housed in the Kentucky Derby Museum’s collection in addition to the more than 10,000 research items.

The library is open on Tuesdays during the museum’s normal operating hours, free of charge and also available by appointment. The library is staffed by museum research personnel. Research items are readily accessible but may not leave the premises as this is not a ‘lending’ library.

For research inquiries, members of the public may contact the museum’s curator of collections, Chris Goodlett at 502-637-1111, ext. 259 or

Read Chris Goodlett’s blog entry: “On What a Curator Does: Helping You Find Your Story

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2013 Kentucky Derby Winner, Orb will stand at stud at Claiborne farm in 2014

Posted: November 5th, 2013

Announced the morning of November 5, 2013, this year’s Kentucky Derby Winner has been retired from racing and will enter stud at Claiborne Farm in 2014.

According to a news release from Claiborne Farm, “The decision to retire Orb was made with mixed emotions,” said co-owner Stuart S. Janney III. “While I believe he would have had a very successful 4-year-old campaign, and Phipps Stable and I would have loved being a part of that, Orb is a wonderful stallion prospect. We look forward to supporting him and to racing his offspring.”

2013 Derby Winning trainer, Claude R. (Shug) McGaughey said, “I was quietly very confident on Derby day, and he proved without a doubt what kind of a horse he was in a race of great magnitude. He is retiring completely sound, and while I’m sorry to see him move on, it seems like an opportune time for him to begin his next career.”

The Derby winner and multiple Grade 1 winner will stand for $25,000. Orb was foaled and raised at Claiborne Farm fro owner/breeders Janney and Phipps. Orb earned $2,612,516 with five wins and three placings from 12 starts.

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FFA By the numbers:

Posted: October 29th, 2013

The Kentucky Derby Museum began welcoming FFA students on Monday, October 28th. With more than 579, 678 members to the national FFA organization, the city of Louisville expects to see close to 60,000 of these talented and engaged youth in our city! Largely centered at the Kentucky Expo Center which showcases more than 1.2 million square feet of space and 19,000 parking spots, the iconic ‘blue jackets’ will have a huge economic impact on the city of Louisville for the next three years of this convention.

The Kentucky Derby Museum has booked more than 12,000 FFA teens for museum visits already and will see a steady flow from the convention through Saturday, November 2nd. With 21 tour guides armed with extensive knowledge of horse racing and historic Churchill Downs, we will share the love of the Kentucky Derby and the “Sport of Kings” with each one of these guests. Our team of ambassadors is ready to provide walking tours of Churchill Downs to 640 kids every half an hour! On top of that, some of these youth will get to experience tours of the barn areas, an educational program or a meal in the track kitchen seated in the heart of Derby history.

To see some of the action, follow us on twitter or instagram @derbymuseum. We’ll be sharing our favorite pics of the day from the convention on all of our social media channels. Welcome FFA!!

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Derby Museum Announces Exclusive Partnership with Whiskey Expert, Fred Minnick

Posted: October 1st, 2013

On the heels of Bourbon Heritage Month, the Kentucky Derby Museum has developed a range of new bourbon experiences to add to its private events and public offerings. These new events will be headlined by “Bourbon Authority” Fred Minnick. Minnick is a Wall Street Journal best-selling author and award-winning whiskey writer who resides in Louisville, KY.

“Fred brings credibility and authenticity of bourbon expertise to the Derby Museum. Fred’s knowledge, respect and relationships within the bourbon industry are a great asset to our audiences. Our goal is to provide events the bourbon ‘splash’ they are looking for along with a historic location that can accommodate any size group,” says Erik Brown, Director of Sales and Special Events at the Kentucky Derby Museum.

Minnick will offer a personalized touch for private events by serving as a bourbon host at the bar, or through a variety of themed offerings. (Bourbon Basics, Value Bourbons, Cocktail class, Kentucky Bourbons and more.) For additional information:

Minnick writes the “American Whiskey” column for Tasting Panel Magazine, “Toasting the Hunt” for Covey Rise and is a regular contributor to The Bourbon Review, Whisky Advocate and Whisky Magazine. He authored Whiskey Women: The Untold Story of How Women Saved Bourbon, Scotch & Irish Whiskey (Potomac Books), the first book written on the importance of women in whiskey.

As a participant on Louisville’s Urban Bourbon Trail passport program, the Kentucky Derby Museum has paired the local, cultural icons of horse racing and bourbon since 2011.

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2011 Tony Award Winner War Horse to Benefit the Kentucky Derby Museum

Posted: August 28th, 2013

November 19-24, 2013 The Kentucky Center

“Sweeping drama of extraordinary power… Its sheer skill and invention are simply awe-inspiring.”
-The New York Times


Broadway in Louisville and The Kentucky Derby Museum are pleased to partner together to offer you an opportunity to see the extraordinary production War Horse. Through this special offer you have the chance to purchase discount seats to War Horse plus, with each seat sold, Broadway in Louisville will donate $5 to The Derby Museum to help fund educational initiatives. For more information and to purchase your seats please visit: Password: DERBYMUSEUM

Click the link above to visit Type the code: DERBYMUSEUM into the Login box. You will be directed to a special page for the Derby Museum discounted ticket. Scroll down and click the War Horse logo to see the ticket options.

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1970 Derby Winner, Dust Commander, to be honored at Kentucky Derby Museum with reinterment ceremony

Posted: July 8th, 2013

On Monday, July 8, 2013 at 10:30 a.m. connections of the 1970 Kentucky Derby will gather in the Derby Museum’s garden to honor Dust Commander after his death nearly twenty two years ago. The Derby winning trainer (Don Combs), jockey (Mike Manganello) and owner (Verna Lehmann) will be in attendance for a short ceremony before the burial.

The Kentucky Derby Museum and the newly organized Thoroughbred Breeders Museum, Inc (TBM) in Paris, KY, in a joint collaborative effort, located the original burial site of 1970 Kentucky Derby Winner, Dust Commander. Both museums worked with Sparks Enterprise landscaping to exhume and transport his remains to his final resting place. The remains of Dust Commander were buried in an unmarked location on a Paris, KY farm that later changed ownership and the property was divided. Family members of the winning owner have been searching for Dust Commander’s burial site for many years and uncovered his remains on Friday, July 5th at Woodline Farm.

The husband of Verna Lehmann’s granddaughter, Hardy Dungan, a local veterinarian and forensic scientist has been assisting Lehmann in her quest to find Dust Commander’s remains. Dr. Hardy and Cristal Dungan are the co-Founders of the newly developing Thoroughbred Breeders Museum located in Paris, Ky.

Lehmann says, “myself and the entire Lehmann family are sincerely grateful to all those involved in locating the lost remains of Dust Commander. It gives all of us and all of the fans who loved this horse, final closure and peace, knowing that his final resting place will be at the Derby Museum.”

The skeleton of Dust Commander was placed in a handcrafted box and brought to the Kentucky Derby Museum. Dust Commander will be buried next to four other Derby winners honored on the Museum’s property: Carry Back (1961), Swaps (1955), Brokers Tip (1933), and Sunny’s Halo (1983).

“Dust Commander’s Kentucky Derby victory will now be celebrated with daily visits through the Museum’s garden area as our guests visit the gravesites of these tremendous athletes,” said Lynn Ashton, the Museum’s executive director.

After being retired, Dust Commander stood at stud at Golden Chance Farm, owned by Robert Lehmann. He later stood at stud in Japan, at Gainesway Farm and finally at Springland Farm where he died on October 7, 1991. Dust Commander sired a total of 15 stakes winners. His most notable progeny was the 1975 Preakness winner Master Derby and multiple graded stakes winner Run Dusty Run.

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

Watch Dust Commander’s Kentucky Derby Win:

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