Virtual Kentucky Derby Museum

We've been working on bringing you a Virtual Museum experience on our website so you can enjoy the #MuseumfromHome and keep on celebrating #DerbyEveryDay with us! Each day we'll bring you featured artifacts, fun facts, Oral History videos, Educational Lessons, activities you can do at home, and more! 

We’d love to hear from you. Get in touch via email at [email protected] or any of our social media channels: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. To keep up-to-date on news about the Museum and our events, sign-up for our E-Newsletter.

Use #derbyeveryday to share your at-home Derby projects with us!


June 1, 2020:

Featured Video: Derby Academy Lesson 6

"International Horse Sense Comes to Kentucky" (Social Studies)

We know that Kentucky Thoroughbreds are shipped all over the world to compete in the most prestigious horse races. But did you know that horse exerts come from all over the world to work with these horses? On this episode of Derby Academy, filmed in 2018, we visit the farms of Godolphin Racing, to meet a dedicated and diverse team entrusted with one of Kentucky’s greatest assets – Thoroughbreds.

After watching the video, consider this writing prompt:

Horse experts from all over the world come to Kentucky to work on our world class Thoroughbreds farms. What are challenges that people face when moving to a different culture? Also, how does Kentucky benefit when others from different cultures settle here?

Share your student's responses with us at #derbyeveryday


Sunny’s Halo grave marker at Museum

Artifact Highlight:
Sunny’s Halo grave marker at Museum

One of two Canadian-bred Derby winners and one of four not born in the US, Sunny’s Halo won the 1983 Kentucky Derby as the second betting choice. He raced mostly in Canada as a two-year-old, winning four stakes races at Toronto’s Woodbine Racetrack on as his way to being named Canadian Champion Juvenile. Retired at the end of his three-year-old season, Sunny’s Halo was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 1986. He spent the final years of his life at Texas’ Double S Ranch, passing away at the age of 23. When that ranch was sold to developers, the Texas Thoroughbred community worked with the Kentucky Derby Museum to have his remains reinterred in 2006 at the Museum’s Walk of Champions.


Best Derby Moments:
Sunny’s Halo, 1983

Watch this 2 minute clip of the 1983 Kentucky Derby winners circle interview with Sunny's Halo 's jockey, trainer and owners. The owner's of Sunny's Halo celebrate only the second time a Canadian horse wins the Kentucky Derby.


May 29, 2020:

Storytime with Chami:

Chami, the Museum's Educational Assistant, reads the children's book Bluegrass Breeze. Story by Dan Rhema and illustrated by Michael Leonard. Published by Mesquite Tree Press.

Post Video Questions:

  1. Can you write a summary of this book?
  2. Write 2 things you loved about the story and 2 things you would change.
  3. If you had a fast horse, what would you name it? Write a short story about your fast horse.


1940 Backside with people on the roof

Talk about creative seating on the backside of the track! This certainly wouldn't fly today, but the guy at the top seems proud of his spot!

Photo credit Churchill Downs Racetrack


Educational Activity:

Coloring Sheet

We've made a coloring sheet of Patti Cooksey, fun for all ages to fill in! We'd love to see your finished art, so share it with us on instragram using #DerbyEveryDay.

Download Coloring Sheet >

Patti Cooksey Coloring Sheet


May 27, 2020:

Featured Blog:

The Poetry of Motion

What do The Matrix, a GIF, and Edgar Degas have in common? Believe it or not: horses. Even after the locomotive and “horseless carriage” essentially dethroned horses in the realm of transportation, our equine friends still played a central role in some of the most important technological advancements of the 20th century. One of these innovations—created by photographer Eadweard Muybridge—is widely credited as inspiration for a host of modern animation and cinematography techniques.

[Read full blog >]

Muybridge Animated Race Horse
First Photo Finish Camera

Artifact Highlight:
First Photo Finish Camera

Horse racing and photography had another important moment together in 1936 when Arthur Kuprion, Sr. of Kuprion Kamera in Louisville, Kentucky created the very first photo finish camera. The photo finish camera marked an extremely important step toward precision and fairness in American horse racing. Instead of strategically-placed stewards eyeballing a close race, the photo finish camera could definitively prove who won by a nose.

The Kentucky Derby Museum is proud to have that first photo finish camera in its permanent collection, pictured here. Installed at the Churchill Downs wire from 1936-1952, the camera has a shutter speed of 1/2000 a second and can capture 60 frames during that short span, fast enough to catch those flying Thoroughbreds on their way by.

Video Highlight:
Muybridge's Zoopraxiscope

A short 4-minute film produced by A Chocolate Films Production for Kingston Museum, this gives a brief history of the invention of Muybridge's Zoopraxiscope.


May 25, 2020:

Happy Memorial Day!


May 22, 2020:

Today we want to talk about the Eclipse Award, an American Thoroughbred horse racing award named after the 18th century British racehorse and sire, Eclipse. The National Thoroughbred Racing Association created the annual Eclipse Awards in 1971 in order to formally recognize excellence in the industry. While Horse of the Year is the NTRA's premiere Eclipse Award, coveted accolades are given each year in a number of other categories, including Outstanding Breeder, Owner, Jockey, and Trainer.

Oral History Clip: Maryjean Wall

Eclipse Awards aren't only for excellent horses and their outstanding horsemen and women; they are also awarded to the media that covers those engaging racetrack stories. In 1997, Maryjean Wall became the first female turf writer to win an Eclipse Award. She followed it up by winning again in 1999.

Maryjean was a trailblazer in the journalistic field, breaking into the profession in the late 1960s when women were still struggling to hold meaningful roles in many industries. Hear her describe one of the ways she always managed to get a great scoop.


Eclipse Award 1995 to Thunder Gulch

Artifact Highlight:
1995 Eclipse Award to Thunder Gulch

The Kentucky Derby Museum Permanent Collection includes over 30 of the iconic Eclipse Awards, mainly from the extensive D. Wayne Lukas Collection. Although Lukas is tied with Lazaro Barrera, Bob Baffert, and Chad Brown by receiving 4 career Outstanding Trainer awards, Lukas trained quite a few horses who were recognized as award winners, too, making him one of the most decorated trainers in the history of the Eclipse Awards.

This is the bronze and wood trophy given to D. Wayne Lukas in 1995 after Derby winner Thunder Gulch won Champion Three-Year-Old Colt or Gelding.


Video Highlight:
A Horse Named Eclipse

On August 21, 2017, students from across the United States donned their special “eclipse glasses” to see the moon orbit in front of the sun. In this episode of Derby Academy (released Oct. 2017), we explore the celestial event, as well as a horse named “Eclipse” that had so much influence on the Thoroughbred breed.

Consider this writing prompt after watching the video:
Today, we know that a solar eclipse is caused by the orbits of the earth and moon, and the alignments of which briefly block the sun. But in ancient times, cultures had no scientific knowledge of the eclipse phenomena. So they told stories that tried to explain what they were seeing. In ancient China, it was explained that a dragon devoured the sun. Native American cultures believed that a bear got into a fight with the sun and took a bite out of it. After viewing Derby Academy, write your own legend explaining a solar eclipse using information from the episode.


May 20, 2020:

The Role of the Auction

Selecting a champion Thoroughbred at public auction or private sale is not an easy task. When considering a purchase, buyers will likely look at the pedigree, or recorded ancestry, of the horse. Knowing the performance of a Thoroughbred’s sire and dam (father and mother) can answer critical questions. Will a Thoroughbred prefer a dirt or grass surface? Does he or she prefer shorter or longer distances? What kind of temperament will a horse have? If the buyer can clearly answer these questions about the sire or dam, it may be an indicator of what their sons and daughters prefer.

Buyers will also consider conformation when targeting the best runners. Conformation refers to the physical shape and structure of a horse, a potential indicator of success on the racetrack. For example, is a Thoroughbred’s back too long or too short, and not perfectly flat? Does he or she have a leg imperfection that could result in bowed tendons or similar ailments? Does the Thoroughbred have a narrow chest that could keep the lungs from expanding and lowering lung capacity? Answering yes to any of these could indicate that a Thoroughbred might not make the best athlete.

However, a sound pedigree assessment and good conformation are by no means a guarantee of success. Today’s virtual museum highlights Thoroughbreds that may have come up short in some of these areas and sold at lower prices. However, they went on to became great champions in the sport.

Featured Blog:

Thoroughbred Bargains

So you want to buy a Thoroughbred Racehorse and take a shot at winning the Kentucky Derby? Great! Time to get out the checkbook! As you’ll see, a horse doesn’t need perfect confirmation or sparkling pedigrees to win the Kentucky Derby. Sometimes what’s between the ears and the individual competitive drive – the heart - that each horse possesses can overcome any perceived shortcomings. Here are some of the greatest “steals” in Derby history.

[Read full blog >]

Dust Commander


Take a brief look into the sights of the Keeneland Yearling Auction.

Video by Keeneland


Education Spotlight:

Keeneland 5th Grade Field Trip

Keeneland welcomes approximately 2,900 fifth grade students from 33 area public and private schools for a two-hour interactive tour designed to expand their knowledge of Keeneland and the Thoroughbred industry in Central Kentucky. More than 23,000 fifth-grade students have participated in the program, now in its ninth year. The Education department at Kentucky Derby Museum participates in the educational programming.

This video shows a brief clip of the 5th graders participating in a "mock auction" experience in the Keeneland Sales Pavilion.


May 18, 2020:

Educational Activity: Storytime with Ronnie

For the kids, we have a story called "Mr. Vanderbilt's Racehorse", a true story of one of Thoroughbred racing's greatest superstars, Native Dancer - with a special appearance by Mr. Vanderbilt himself!


Native Dancer

Audio Powerpoint: The top 10 horses to lose in the Derby and go on to do great things

Sometimes it's just not your day. But if you're a three year old Thoroughbred, you don't want the First Saturday in May to be that day. The Kentucky Derby Museum is where we celebrate the traditions, the stories, and yes, the winners of this great race. But there have been many great Thoroughbreds who have fallen a little short in the Derby, only to go and have stellar racing careers.

Today, in our virtual museum, we'll celebrate ten of the best. Please note our list is subjective, so if you feel we've left someone out, let us know! Believe me, there were some really good ones left off the list.

Download Powerpoint "Top 10 Losers" >

(Photo: Native Dancer)


Video Highlight: Sham

Sham was Secretariat's greatest challenger during the 1973 race season, a year when two remarkable horses found themselves locked in a rivalry that would eventually see Secretariat win the first Triple Crown in twenty-five years. This interview is with Phil Dandrea, the author of Sham: Great Was Second Best.

Learn more about Sham >


May 15, 2020:

What is a Thoroughbred trainer?

The life of a Thoroughbred trainer can be difficult and unpredictable. It is a job that requires passion, persistence and intuition. A trainer’s first priority is to discover what type of motivation will help each individual horse perform its best on the racetrack. All trainers seek in their charges a fire to win and that immeasurable quality-heart. It is common for trainers to start each day in the early morning hours and work until sundown, seven days a week, with winters in one location and summers in another. Aspiring trainers must have both talent and determination to weather the highs and lows of this challenging career. Many will tell you it’s not a job, it’s a lifestyle-you have to really love it to succeed.

Trainers not only work with horses, they also must be good at managing people. Grooms, exercise riders, hot walkers, and assistant trainers all fall under the trainer’s supervision. They also schedule appointments with vets and farriers. All this amounts to a lot of responsibilities-the health and success of your horses, the management of your crew, and accountability to and communication with the owners. A trainer’s reputation and positive word of mouth are keys to acquiring horses in this competitive field, and it’s hard work to build a record of success.

Photo: Jockey Jose Valdivia, Jr. (left) and Trainer D. Wayne Lukas (right)

Jockey Garrett Gomez and Trainer D Wayne Lukas

Artifact Highlight:
D. Wayne Lukas Champion Rings

In 2006, Churchill Downs decided to begin the tradition of presenting champion rings to the owner, trainer and jockey of a Kentucky Derby winner. The inspiration for the ring came from similar jewelry for other major sporting events, such as the NFL’s Super Bowl. Wayne has four rings representing each of his Kentucky Derby winning horses. The top of the ring includes a horseshoe made of diamonds and a representation of the Kentucky Derby gold cup. One side of each ring features Churchill Downs’ iconic Twin Spires.


Trainer Spotlight:
Bob Baffert

Bob Baffert, five-time winning trainer of the Kentucky Derby, discusses the emotional impact of his 2015 Triple Crown sweep with American Pharoah.


Trainer Spotlight:
Bill Mott

Bill Mott, trainer of 2019 Derby winner Country House, discusses his early years in the Thoroughbred industry.


May 13, 2020:

Fun Fact:

The infield at Churchill Downs is almost as famous as the race itself. The colorful personalities, costumes, hats and outfits are a sight to see each year. The infield has always been the cheapest way to attend the Derby – and a $60 general admission ticket is all you need. The infield crowd swells to about 80,000 people – making it the third largest city in the state of Kentucky on Derby Day. Although, most of those people will never see a live horse on Derby day from their spot in the infield. Thanks to the addition of the world’s largest 4K television in 2014, they can at least now see the race on the big board. The jumbotron is bigger than three NBA basketball courts!

Infield Big Board


Infield ariel view

Getting to the infield is much easier nowadays. The main pedestrian tunnel was built in 1937 to accommodate the growing infield crowds. Before the tunnel was built, patrons had to run across the track in between races! Currently there are a total of three tunnels providing access to the infield.

Historic events in the infield:

  • 1910 – the first airplane flight in Kentucky took off from the infield
  • World War I – potatoes were planted and harvested with proceeds donated to the Red Cross
  • World War II – Fort Knox soldiers stationed here
  • The Kentucky State Fair was held in the infield five times, the first in 1902

Photo credit Churchill Downs Racetrack


From the Archive:

In 1985, Churchill Downs constructed a new tunnel to the infield under the Longfield Avenue corner of the track. Here's a picture of the construction with the beautiful grandstand and Twin Spires in the background.

Photo credit Churchill Downs Racetrack

Infield Tunnel Construction


From pirates, to the Wizard of Oz, and all the crazy hats inbetween, a walk around the infield will give you a full range of sights to see.


May 11, 2020:

Featured Blog:

Churchill and the Great Flood

During the month of January 1937, it rained. And rained. And rained. The lower Ohio River Valley received over 15 inches of rain in 12 days. The river—which generally spans a single mile in its widest sections—had ballooned to over 20 miles wide by the beginning of February. At the flood’s crest, 90% of the city of Clarksville, Indiana was underwater. Nearly 70% of Louisville, Kentucky felt the effects.

[Read full blog >]


From the Archive:

1937 flood waters at Churchill Downs Racetrack.

Photo credit Churchill Downs Racetrack

Flood water on the track


1937 flood

Louisville, Kentucky, being a river town, had experienced many floods throughout its history. But never like the one of 1937. Although Churchill Downs sat several miles from the river, the water backed up all the way to the neighborhoods surrounding the racetrack, and even into the Grandstand and racetrack itself.

Despite the flood happening in January, the Kentucky Derby was still able to run May of that year, the winner being War Admiral. War Admiral went on to be the 4th Triple Crown winner. His sire was Man o' War, widely regarded as the greatest American racehorse of his time.

Photo courtesy of Ekstrom Library Photographic Archives


Best Derby Moments:
War Admiral, 1937

Watch this brief clip (1:52) of the 1937 Kentucky Derby, produced by Pathé News. Pathé News was a producer of newsreels and documentaries from 1910 to 1970 in the United Kingdom. Its founder, Charles Pathé, was a pioneer of moving pictures in the silent era. The Pathé News archive is known today as British Pathé.



Artifact Highlight:
1937 Preakness trophy for jockey

Thankfully, the Great Flood of 1937 didn't cancel the Kentucky Derby that year. If it had, we would have only had 12 Triple Crown winners instead of 13. War Admiral, son of the great Man 'O War, won the Kentucky Derby that year to a jubilant crowd at Churchill Downs. He would then go on to sweep the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico and the Belmont Stakes in New York, becoming the third and last Triple Crown winner of the 1930s. This is the trophy awarded to his jockey, Louisville-native Charlie Kurtsinger, for the victory in the 1937 Preakness. Gift of Betty Graff.


May 8, 2020:

Continuing on with National Tourism Week, we want to continue to give a shout out to some of our team members who are on the front lines, welcoming visitors to the Museum - and even bringing the Museum out into the state on! #SpirtOfTravel, #KYDerbyAtHome

Video Highlight:
On the Road with Kentucky Derby Museum

In this episode of Derby Academy, filmed in 2017, we take a look at the Kentucky Derby Museum's Outreach Program, a program where our educators travel around the Commonwealth of Kentucky, bringing the Museum into the classroom and presenting a variety of educational lessons. Learn more about our Outreach Program here >

Consider this writing prompt after watching the video:
The Kentucky Derby Museum has taught programming in all 120 Kentucky counties. In that time, thousands of miles have been traveled and thousands of students have learned about our special horse race. Write a letter to a friend, describing your pretend visit to one of the geographical regions of Kentucky. Include information about the geography, places of interest, economic engines and any other information you find relevant.

Louisville Tourism Highlight:
Continuing Education Field Trip

Kentucky Derby Museum knows that our team members are our most valuable assests. Each year we provide a Continuing Education trip to our tour guides so they can experience and learn how other tourism partners around the state greet guests to their fascilities. In 2019, our tour guides got to visit Pin Oak Stud in Versailles, KY, where they got to learn more about early life on the farm for Thoroughbreds, and how a working stud farm operates. Afterwards, the team traveled to the Woodford Reserve Distillery. There, the team learned about the bourbon distilling process and got to take part in a tasting. Below is a photo gallery of that day's adventures:


Latonia Racetrack

Featured Blog:

Five Kentucky Racetracks From the Past

Churchill Downs Racetrack may be Kentucky's most famous racetrack, but it hasn't been the only track in Kentucky. Learn about five Kentucky racetracks from the past: The Kentucky Association Racetrack (Lexington), Sportsman’s Hill (Crab Orchard), Raceland (Raceland, formerly Chinnville, near Ashland), Latonia (Florence), and Douglas Park (Louisville).

Read blog >


Team Member Spotlight:

Evin Munson
Group Sales Coordinator for the Kentucky Derby Museum

Evin plays a key role in welcoming motorcoach groups from across the nation to the Museum. We asked her a couple questions on what Louisville tourism means to her:

What do you love most about working in the tourism industry?
Getting to meet people that are from all over the world. Hearing about the places that they have visited in Louisville and even giving them ideas that they hadn’t thought about.

What's your favorite thing about the Kentucky Derby that you like to share with guests?
EVERYTHING!!! I love to talk about it with tourists. Many think that its not affordable at all. I tell them about my experience when I attended for the first time in the infield. I know the infield isn’t for everyone and people have this idea that its crazy there but if you are in the right location its not bad and I got lucky with the weather.I always tell guests that everyone should experience the Kentucky Derby at least once in their lifetime. Getting to be there and see the horses run past you and over 150,000 people cheering and singing My Old Kentucky Home is such an amazing experience.

What do you think makes Louisville's tourism industry so unique?
I think what makes the tourism industry in Louisville so unique is that for a lot of the U.S. its about a days worth a drive so pretty centrally located and there are so many different attractions and things for people to do here. If you love history, horse racing, baseball, music, food. There is a little of everything for most anyone to enjoy and learn.

Evin Munson



Happy Mother's Day!

We want to send a big thank you to all the mothers out in the world! If not for mothers, none of us would be here. Including race horses! Our Membership Manager, Carla Grego, and Curator of Collections, Jessica Whitehead, had the chance to meet Zellda, daughter of 2010 Horse of the Year Zenyatta. This photo was taken at trainer John Shirreffs' barn at Santa Anita. Zellda has begun training there, and Shirreffs has said that she reminds him of her mother. Zellda is the daughter of Zenyatta by Medaglia d’Oro and shows great promise to be a champion just like her mom.


May 7, 2020:

In light of National Tourism Week, we want to give a shout out to some of our team members who are on the front lines, welcoming visitors and showing them why the Kentucky Derby is in the lifeblood of Louisville! #SpirtOfTravel, #KYDerbyAtHome

Video Highlight:
Barry leads tour of Churchill Downs on "Virtual" Derby Day

Live-streamed at 9 A.M. on the First Saturday in May, our beloved tour guide Barry Northern takes us on a virtual tour around the track. Thanks to Barry, more than 165,000 people (roughly the size of a typical Derby Day crowd) tuned in to experience Kentucky Derby from home.

View the #KYDerbyAtHome gallery to see how people around the world celebrated May 2.


Aveena Patel

Team Member Spotlight:

Aveena Patel
Senior Group Tour Coordinator for the Kentucky Derby Museum

Aveena plays a key role in welcoming motorcoach groups from across the nation to the Museum. We asked her a couple questions on what Louisville tourism means to her:

What do you love most about working in the tourism industry?
My favorite thing about the tourism industry is meeting and working with people from different places on a daily basis. There is so much to learn from each other and keeps the day-to-day exciting!

What's your favorite thing about the Kentucky Derby that you like to share with guests?
The fact that the infield becomes the third largest city in Kentucky on Derby Day. When guests see the infield in person and learn that fact, they are amazed at how impactful this day really is.

What do you think makes Louisville's tourism industry so unique?
The people! Those who work in the industry share their passion with visitors to Louisville every day, but what makes it truly outstanding is the support between tourism partners in the city. Everyone works together to share the beauty and hometown love that exists here.


Fun Fact:

Kentucky Derby Museum greeted 242,000 visitors through our doors in 2019. We look forward to opening our doors and greeting you all with a big smile again!

museum lobby


May 6, 2020:

This week is National Tourism Week! This year, the coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency is having an unprecedented impact on the travel industry and the entire economy. Now more than ever, the travel and tourism community must come together, support each other and remind our country that even through the most difficult times, the Spirit of Travel cannot be broken.

Video Highlight:
The Spirit of Travel

Produced by Go To Louisville and posted on their youtube channel, this video is a thank you to all the tourism workers (more than 27,000) throughout the city who spread the love of Louisville to all who visit. Thanks to these workers, tourism is Louisville's 3rd largest industry and provides an economic impact of 3.5 billion to the city. Our city wouldn't shine without them.

Louisville Tourism Highlight:
Kentucky Derby Festival

As the Kentucky Derby surged in popularity in the mid-20th century, members of the Louisville community actively worked to find a way for everyone to be involved in the city-wide celebration. So, in 1956, the Pegasus Parade was formed. Named after the winged horse of Greek mythology, organizers used this as a symbol of magic and wonderment that they hoped the event would capture.

This inaugural Pegasus Parade started one of the largest community festivals in the country. Now a two-week long lead-in to the Run for the Roses, the Festival consists of over 70 events and kicks-off with Thunder Over Louisville, one of the nation’s largest firework shows. Numerous unique events follow, such as the Fillies Derby Ball, the Great Steamboat Race, the full and miniMarathon, and the Pegasus Parade that started it all in 1956.

The Kentucky Derby Festival is a private, non-profit organization run by professional staff and thousands of community volunteers. It is the perfect complement to the first Saturday in May, helping make Louisville the place to be every spring.

Find out more about the Kentucky Derby Festival here >

Visit their virtual "Festival at Home" page to learn ways you can experience the Kentucky Derby Festival from home >


Video Highlight:
2019 Thunder of Louisville

One of the largest firework shows in the nation, thousands attend to watch 30 minutes of thunderous wonder. You can count of Louisville to throw a two-week party you'll never forget, all building up to “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports” - The Kentucky Derby.


KDF Exhibit Photo

Kentucky Derby Festival Exhibit Highlights:

A permanent installation at Kentucky Derby Museum, the Kentucky Derby Festival exhibition details the history of this annual community celebration that precedes Louisville’s landmark event. Highlights of the exhibit include:

  • Budget for the 1936 Kentucky Derby Festival: The current version of the Festival began in 1956. However, the community actually tried its hand at a Kentucky Derby Festival in 1935. Although the first attempt ended in 1937, it served as a catalyst for the current incarnation.
  • Set of Pegasus Pins dating back to 1973: Much like the Derby’s official mint julep glass, the Pegasus Pin is the pre-eminent collectible for the Kentucky Derby Festival. The pin first appeared in 1973, and the early years are very popular among fans and collectors.
  • Kentucky Derby Festival Queen’s Regalia: Each year, The Fillies, Inc., a partner organization of the Kentucky Derby Festival, selects a field of Kentucky Derby Festival Princesses from qualified student applicants. In the spring, the Queen is selected from a spin of the wheel at the Fillies Derby Ball. The members of the royal court serve as prominent community ambassadors and many have gone on to leadership positions in personal and professional life.
  • Derby Festival miniMarathon dress: This dress was made by Louisville native Peyton Froula when she attended duPont Manual High School. It’s made completely of medals from the Kentucky Derby Festival miniMarathon. The dress has been featured prominently in fashion and art events such as the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft’s Couture show in 2015.

May 5, 2020:

Get the inside scoop on what it takes to become a jockey.

Jockey group photo

Featured Blog:

Through the Goggles

No one experiences life quite like a Thoroughbred jockey. Read some stories from the Kentucky Derby Museum Oral History Collection that illustrate why being a jockey is so unique. Read quotes from jockey Laffit Pincay, Jr., Kent Desormeaux, John Velazquez, Patti “P.J.” Cooksey, Donna Barton Brothers, and Edgar Prado.

Read blog >


Video Highlight:
What Does It Take To Become A Jockey?

Produced by LEX18 News and posted on their youtube channel, this video gives a brief overview of what it takes to become a jockey and hopefully make it to the Kentucky Derby one day.


Toledo Jockey Scale

From the Archive:

Toledo Scale

Did you know? The average weight of a jockey is between 100-119 pounds. In order to ride in the Kentucky Derby, jockeys must weigh 126 lbs--no more, no less--including all of their tack.

Photo credit Churchill Downs Racetrack


Sights Around Churchill Downs:

Pat Day Statue in the Aristides Garden

A bronze statue of Hall of Fame jockey, Pat Day, stands in the Aristides Garden under the shadows of the Twin Spires. The statue depicts Pat Day with his arms raised in triumph. The sculpture, created by Louisville artist Raymond Graf, was inspired by Day's victory in the 1992 Kentucky Derby aboard Lil E. Tee. Lore has it that Pat Day, whose height is just short of 5ft tall, always wanted to be 5ft, so the artist made the statue 5ft for him.

Pat Day Statue


May 4, 2020:

Oral History Clip: Julie Krone

Julie Krone--who would eventually ride in the Kentucky Derby twice and become the first woman to win a Triple Crown race--started her career as a horsewoman working for Clarence Picou on the backside of Churchill Downs. Hear Julie describe her first gallop at the historic track, where she started imagining what it would be like to ride there on Derby Day.

Educational Activity:

Coloring Sheet

We've made a coloring sheet of Julie Krone, fun for all ages to fill in! We'd love to see your finished art, so share it with us on instragram using #DerbyEveryDay.

Download Coloring Sheet >

Julie Krone Coloring Sheet


Educational Activity:

Marshmallow & Spaghetti Structure

We've made a multi-disciplinary lesson on critical thinking, science, engineering, and design/building for Grades 3 - 12.

Download Lesson >


May 3, 2020:

Did you all enjoy Virtual Derby Day yesterday?

Nothing will top getting to be together on Oaks and Derby Day to enjoy our Commonwealth's most beloved traditions - but because we couldn't be together on the First Saturday in May, we came together and still enjoyed our favorite traditions from home! We hope you enjoyed the virtual tours, live crafts, and Triple Crown Showdown yesterday!

The last several years have certainly has been a wild streak of Derbys. Just when we thought things couldn't get any weirder in 2019 with the disqualification, 2020 continues the streak of landmark moments in the history of the race. Today we thought it'd be interesting to highlight the recent major moments in Derby history that happened over the last 6 years - 2015, 2018, 2019, and 2020.

2015 Kentucky Derby:
American Pharoah

Kentucky Derby 141 proved handicappers correct as pre-race favorite American Pharoah topped an elite field to capture the annual Run for the Roses™ in front of a record-breaking crowd of 170,513 at Churchill Downs, which still holds the record as the largest crowd today. American Pharoah etched his name among Thoroughbred immortals, winning the Belmont Stakes and becoming the 12th Triple Crown Champion. He was the first in 37 years to sweep all three races, dating back to Affirmed in 1978. Three generations of people were either very young or not even born when Affirmed won the Triple Crown Champion in 1978.

Video credit: NBC Sports

2018 Kentucky Derby:

In 2018, the Kentucky Derby had another monumental year with Justify becoming the 13th Triple Crown winner, only three years after American Pharoah. For a sporting event with such a long and storied tradition as the Kentucky Derby, it’s amazing that each year seems to bring new and fresh storylines. The dominant one for 2018 was the “Curse of Apollo,” named for the 1882 Kentucky Derby winner, the last horse that was unraced at the age of two that went on to claim the Run for the Roses. Until Justify came along - shattering the "Curse of Apollo" in 2018. The weather also makes this Derby memorable, as the most rain in the history of the race led to a sloppy track. But, that was not the only story for the history books. Bob Baffert, trainer of Justify, claimed his fifth Kentucky Derby win, placing him one win above D. Wayne Lukas and one shy of Ben Jones, who, with six Derby victories, sits atop the all-time trainer standings.

Video credit: NBC Sports

2019 Kentucky Derby:
Country House

At the conclusion of the race, objections were filed by Flavien Prat, jockey aboard Country House, and Jon Court, jockey aboard Long Range Toddy, regarding Maximum Security’s veering out in the final turn. After a review lasting just shy of 22 minutes, the stewards disqualified Maximum Security, making Country House the winner. For the first time in Kentucky Derby history, the horse that crossed the finish line first was disqualified due to interference. Additionally, Country House, at odds of 65-1, became the second longest shot to ever win the Kentucky Derby, just behind 1913 winner Donerail (odds of 91-1).

Video credit: NBC Sports

2020 "Virtual" Kentucky Derby:
Triple Crown Showdown

As we all know, yesterday would have been the 146th Running of the Kentucky Derby. But because of COVID-19, Kentucky Derby 146 will be held on September 5, making it the second time in the history of the race that the Derby has been postponed (the last time being in 1945 because of WW2). But to all Derby fans, the First Saturday in May is still something special. Through the hard work of many, May 2 was a "Virtual Derby Day" - with the day's highlight being the "Triple Crown Showdown." The 13 horses to ever win the Triple Crown, using state of the art simulations, faced-off under the Twin Spires. The winner of the Triple Crown Showdown turned out to be Secretariat!

Video credit: Kentucky Derby


May 2, 2020:

It's Virtual Kentucky Derby Day!

Join us as we celebrate the first Saturday in May with a day-long virtual #KyDerbyAtHome party and Churchill Downs matches UP TO $1 MILLION of COVID-19 relief donations. The day will feature the Kentucky Derby: Triple Crown Showdown as the 13 Triple Crown horses will face-off under the Twin Spires in a virtual race on NBC from 3-6pm ET.

The day is designed to encourage the perfect interactive Kentucky Derby party at home. Churchill Downs will join the Kentucky Derby Museum and other partners to offer virtual tours, Derby cocktail and fascinator-making instructions, ideas for party decorations, kids’ crafts, Derby-inspired recipes, an at-home Derby fashion contest and much more.

Visit for the full schedule of events and activities.

#KYDerbyAtHome Gallery

See how Derby fans from around the world are celebrating #KYDerbyAtHome! If you use the #KYDerbyAtHome hashtag on instagram, you may be included in this gallery, too!

View Gallery >

KYDerbyAtHome Gallery


Rickelle and American Pharoah

Featured Blog:

Derby Memories: Rickelle's American Pharoah Story

By Rickelle Nelson, the Museum’s Visitor Services Coordinator, Horse Photographer, and Horse Owner

Rickelle was lucky enough to be able to develop a special relationship with American Pharoah during his time on the Backside of Churchill Downs. “Remarkably, as much as that first encounter had drawn me in, that wasn’t what truly wowed me. That happened the first time he galloped over the sandy Churchill surface. The tandem made their way to the track, this time in the morning sun. They jogged off, headed to the frontside where they would turn and begin their first clip around the Downs. As I tracked him running through the turn, I noticed how he was running, he just looked like he was floating. When the shining bay passed in front of me, I was in awe. I had never seen a horse glide so effortlessly over the top of this track.”

Read blog >


May 1, 2020:

The Kentucky Oaks

The Kentucky Oaks - a day for three-year-old fillies! The race was established on May 19th, 1875, by the same founder of the Kentucky Derby, Colonel Meriwether Lewis Clark, and is modeled after the British Epsom Oaks. The Oaks has been run at various times during the Churchill Downs Spring Race Meet, with the Friday before the Derby settled into tradition in the 1940’s. In the past two decades, Oaks Day attendance has swelled over the 100,000 mark, making it the largest non-Triple Crown day of racing in the United States.

Over the years, the Oaks has developed its own time honored traditions: a garland of Stargazer lilies adorns the winning filly, the cranberry and vodka Oaks lily cocktail, and one of the most meaningful traditions in sports - a breast cancer survivors parade on the track before the race.

Today we want to honor these traditions virtually.

Oral History Collection:

Rosie Napravnik, the first female jockey to win the Kentucky Oaks, recalls that historic moment of her 2012 Kentucky Oaks win aboard Believe You Can, a very fitting name for a horse that carried Rosie across the finish line to stamp her place in history.


Video Highlight:
Derby Traditions - History of Oaks

Produced and posted on the official Kentucky Derby youtube channel, this video gives a brief overview of Kentucky Oaks traditions.


Bold n’ Determined 1980 Oaks winner

Featured Blog:

The Kentucky Oaks and its Champions

The Kentucky Oaks has the best of the best Thoroughbred fillies who go head to head for their one shot to win the coveted race. In Derby lore, the names Secretariat, Citation, Seattle Slew and American Pharoah all dominate discussions of Derby champions. So here are five top Oaks winners who deserve to be remembered for their incredible athletic careers.

Read blog >


One of the signature traditions on Kentucky Oaks Day is the Survivors Parade. For the 12th year, the Survivors Parade presented by Kroger will take place on Kentucky Oaks Day, Friday, September 4th, 2020! The Survivors Parade is a march of breast and ovarian cancer survivors, which takes place on Churchill Downs’ historic racetrack. 146 breast and ovarian cancer survivors will walk in the parade prior to the 146th running of the Longines Kentucky Oaks race.

Below is a gallery of the 2019 Kentucky Oaks Survivors Parade.


Kentucky Oaks Trophy

Fun Fact:

The Kentucky Oaks Trophy

The Kentucky Derby Museum is the caretaker for not only the Derby Gold Cup during the year, but also the perpetual Kentucky Oaks trophy. It stands nearly 26" high and is engraved with the names of each year's winning filly.


April 30, 2020:

We Wish You Were Here!

Normally the Kentucky Derby Museum and Churchill Downs would be greeting thousands of horseracing fans this week as we count down the days to the First Saturday in May. But since we can't greet all our guests in person, we are trying everything possible to celebrate with you from home. This Saturday, May 2, we will be having a Virtual Derby Day, a day full of live streamed activities and programming so that all Kentucky Derby fans can experience our favorite traditions from home. Learn more at

On the Virtual Museum today, we have put together a "Wish You Were Here!" collection of vintage postcards, and a digital postcard you can save and use to write your own postcard, so you can share with us what you are missing the most! Share your digital postcard with us on social with #KYDerbyAtHome.

Vintage postcards from the first half of the 20th century.


Digital Postcard

Digital Postcard:

Share with us how you're celebrating Derby from home!

We've made a digital postcard that you can download and use to share your thoughts, hopes, and memories with us. Any postcard shared on instagram with #KYDerbyAtHome will be added to our Virtual Derby Day gallery, where people from around the world are submitting how they are celebrating Derby from home. You can check out the #KYDerbyAtHome gallery here.

Download Digital Postcard >


Tatanka & Poppy at the Farm:

Our Resident Thoroughbred, Poppy, and Resident Companion Pony, Tatanka, are still staying safe and sound at Moserwood II Farm. We miss them very much! Tatanka always enjoys meeting new people and horses, so it doesn't surprise us that he is making friends with other horses on the farm! This photo shows Tatanka meeting his new neighbor! We miss you and can't wait to get you back to the Museum, Tatanka!

Tatanka meeting new horse


Storytime with Chami:

Chami, the Museum's Educational Assistant, reads the children's book The Wild Little Horse. Written by Rita Gray and illustrated by Ashley Wolff. Published by Dutton Children's Books.

Post Video Questions:

Use your imagination and creativity to change the ending of this story.
If you were asked to illustrate a book cover to this story, how would you design it?


April 29, 2020:

Today we learn about the famous Backside of Churchill Downs

Churchill Downs is the epicenter of Kentucky's equine heritage and the most storied racetrack in the world. More than a thousand workers come to the backside of Churchill Downs on any given day during a meet. Before sunrise, seven days a week, stable hands, hot walkers, grooms, outriders, jockeys, and more tend to the well-being of the horses and the track. There could be no Kentucky Derby without their contributions.

Typically at this time of year the Backside is buzzing with activity. But as we now know all too well, this year is different. We look forward to welcoming the horses and Backside Workers next week. Meanwhile we hope you enjoy today’s Virtual Museum.

Learn about the Backside:

Better Lucky Than Good

Better Lucky Than Good is the most caring, in-depth look into the lives and stories of equine workers ever published--and it was written by the people who live and work on the backside of Churchill Downs.

The book's 32 authors include grooms, hot walkers, exercise riders, a clocker, an outrider, assistant trainers, a jockey, a starting gate crew member, a pony person, a horticulturist, a silks seamstress, shedrow foremen, a tack and saddle man, a security guard, a horse tattooer, trainers, an alcohol and drug abuse counselor, a farm manager, a chaplaincy associate, and many more. Our very own Carla Grego is even featured!

Available in our gift shop online!

Read the stories from the Backside >

Better Lucky Than Good book cover


Roscoe Goose

Featured Blog:

The Goose Family: My Connection to the Kentucky Derby

Carla Grego, Membership Manager and Horseman Relations for the Kentucky Derby Museum and Backside Learning Center Board Member, shares her family's connection to the Kentucky Derby and her ties to Roscoe Goose, jockey aboard 1913 Kentucky Derby winner Donerail, who is known for being the biggest longshot to win the race.

Read blog >


Backside barn


How many horse stalls are on the Backside?

  • A. Approx. 750
  • B. Approx. 1400
  • C. Approx. 2100

B. Churchill Downs has just over 1400 stalls and 47 barns on the Backside as of early 2020.


Camp Highlight:

Art Camp for kids of Backside workers

In April 2019, Kentucky Derby Museum hosted an art camp for 25 students, all whose parents worked on the Backside of Churchill Downs. For one week, we learned about drawing, painting, photography, printmaking and architecture - as well as history, science and math. We did this all within the beautiful confines of the Derby Museum and Churchill Downs.

Roscoe Goose


April 28, 2020:

Virtual Historic Walking Tour, P6:

This is the 6th and final installment of the virtual Historic Walking Tour of Churchill Downs, featuring our very talented tour guide, Barry Northern!

The Historic Walking Tour comes free with a general admission ticket to the Kentucky Derby Museum. It is a 30 minute, guided walking tour of historic Churchill Downs Racetrack. Learn about past Derby winners and the rich history of this location. Visitors walk through the property to the paddock and out to the grandstand learning trivia and fun facts along the way.

Learn more about this tour >


Featured Blog:

Kentucky Derby Museum: Celebrating “The Greatest Race”

Learn the history behind the Kentucky Derby Museum and where it all got started, from the original museum that was run by Churchill Downs in 1962, the switch to a non-profit in 1985, to the expansion of 2000, through the flood of 2009, and to the newest expansion of 2018. The Museum has grown a lot over the years as we continue to pursue our goal in engaging, educating and exciting everyone about the extraordinary experience that is the Kentucky Derby.

Read blog >

Model of the Kentucky Derby Museum, circa 1983


Original Museum, 1960

From the Archive:

The former Churchill Downs Museum in the 1960s.

The current Kentucky Derby Museum opened to the public in 1985. Prior to that, Churchill Downs operated a small museum at the racetrack with some of the memorabilia and artifacts now part of the Kentucky Derby Museum Permanent Collection.

Photo credit Churchill Downs Racetrack


Artifact Highlight:

1891 silk purse

In a 2011 interview, original curator Mary Ann Cooper discussed the early years of that museum and the acquisition process. She recounts a meeting with Elizabeth Stone Greer, granddaughter of Kentucky Derby winning owner Kinzea Stone. On her way out after a visit, Ms. Cooper engaged Ms. Greer in conversation and asked if she enjoyed her time at the Museum. Ms. Greer was eager to tell Mary Ann about an “1880-something silk purse” from the Kentucky Derby given to her by her grandfather. The museum curator exclaimed, “You mean you have the silk purse that the money went in to go the winning horse?” That was indeed the case. This silk purse, presented to owner Kinzea Stone after Kingman won the Kentucky Derby in 1891, marked the final time the great jockey Isaac Murphy won the race. This significant artifact came to the new Kentucky Derby Museum in 1984 and still has a prominent place in the Jockey Stories exhibit.

1981 silk purse


April 27, 2020:

Today we learn about the Kentucky Derby gold trophy and other "Derby" horseracing trophies.

Repair of the 1988 Gold Trophy:

Kentucky Derby Museum commissioned Susanne Blackinton-Juaire, Chief Artisan of the Kentucky Derby Trophy, and her team to make repairs to the 1988 (Winning Colors) Gold Cup.


Featured Blog:

The Gold Cup

Learn the history behind the iconic design of the Kentucky Derby trophy and view a photo gallery of Kentucky Derby Trophy Presentations throughout the history of the trophy.

Read blog >

Original Graff illustration of Derby trophy blueprints


Angel Cordero, Jr. after winning the 1974 Kentucky Derby

From the Archive:

Angel Cordero, Jr. after winning the 1974 Kentucky Derby on Cannonade.

Did you know? Jockeys who win the Derby receive a smaller, Sterling Silver replica of the iconic gold cup presented to the winning owner. The trainer and breeder of the winner also receive one.

Photo credit Churchill Downs Racetrack


Kentucky Derby Trophies:
The Silver Jockey Trophy

Learn about the start of the Kentucky Derby jockey trophy. Highlighted in this clip is the first silver jockey Kentucky Derby trophy ever made, awarded in 1952 to Conn McCreary who won aboard Count Turf in 1951.


Fun Fact: Although the Kentucky Derby was the first 'Derby' held in the United States, it spawned a number of others. Here are some of the trophies in the permanent collection related to these other races:


April 26, 2020:

The famous Infield of Churchill Downs:

This video clip was produced for the Kentucky Derby Museum "Infield" exhibit in 2014 and shows how people claim their Infield spots on Derby Day. The video features local radio and TV personality Terry Meiners as he interviews some of the earlier arrivals as they race to get the best spot. The footage was provided to the Museum by WHAS 11 for the exhibit.

Fun Fact:
What is the track made of?

We've all seen the surface of the track, but what all is it composed of? Let's break it down by layers, from top to bottom:

  • 3” cushion of 75% sand, 23% silt, and 2% clay
  • 5” compacted pad of the same sand, silt and clay combo as above.
  • 12” base of 100% clay
  • 24” sub-base of 100% sandy loam

To care for this track, around 100,000 gallons of water are put on the track each day, depending on weather.

Churchill Downs Racetrack


1935 Churchill Downs Racetrack

From the Archive:

Three tractors harrowing the Churchill Downs Racetrack in 1935, loosening the surface and clearing away hoof and footprints in-between races.

Photo credit Churchill Downs Racetrack


April 25, 2020:

The Garland of Roses:

Take an inside look at what goes into the creation and presentation of the iconic Garland of Roses. This video was produced ca.2013 by Kroger, who took over the role of official florist of the Garland of Roses in 1987. Kroger is also a presenting sponsor of the Museum's 360° award-winning film, The Greatest Race.

Fun Fact:

Although floral presentations to Derby winners go back to 1896, the first official Garland of Roses was created for the 1932 Kentucky Derby.

Photo credit Churchill Downs Racetrack

1932 Kentucky Derby Winner Burgoo King


Garland of Roses

Fun Fact:

The Garland of Roses is made up of more than 400 red "Freedom roses", sewn into a green satin backing with the seal of the Commonwealth on one end and the current year's Derby logo on the other. The Freedom rose was named shortly after the events of 9/11 as a tribute to the victims and families, and to the men and women service members who protect the freedoms of our nation. Each garland is also adorned with a "crown" of roses, green fern and ribbon. The garland takes around 10 to 12 hours to fully assemble, is 122 inches long, 22 inches wide, and weighs approximately 40lbs.


Fun Fact:

Did you know that Churchill Downs Racetrack has its own amazing 12,000 square foot Horticultural Center? The Horticulture team is in charge of keeping the track’s gardens and surrounding property beautiful year-round and on Kentucky Derby Day -- that's approximately 200 acres of property. All of the flowers and plants are grown on-site. The current Horticultural Center is located right next to Churchill Downs and is in its 30th year of operation, but it's the third such greenhouse. Churchill Downs has had professional groundskeepers and a greenhouse for "well over 100 years," says Churchill Downs Horticultural Director Matt Bizzell.

Churchill Downs Greenhouse


April 24, 2020:

Oral History Clip:

Jockey Kent Desormeaux talks about his emotions after winning the Derby for a second time on Fusaichi Pegasus in 2000 (he also won in 1998 on Real Quiet and 2008 on Big Brown).

Fun Fact:

What was the most expensive horse sold at a yearling auction to ever win the Derby?

Fusaichi Pegasus, who’s owner Fuseo Sekiguchi paid $4 million for him in July 1998 at the Keeneland sales.

Photo credit Churchill Downs Racetrack

Fusaichi Pegasus crossing the finish line


Fusaichi Pegasus race-worn saddle cloth

Featured Artifact:
Race-worn Saddle Cloth

Saddlecloth worn by the 2000 Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus. Note the track dirt still staining the cloth.

Although his connections are from Japan, Fusaichi Pegasus is still a Kentucky Thoroughbred. Only five foreign-born horses have won the Kentucky Derby: Omar Khayyam (1917, England), Tomy Lee (1959, England), Northern Dancer (1964, Canada), and Sunny's Halo (1983, Canada).

Kentucky Derby Museum Permanent Collection


Featured Artifact:
Fusaichi Pegasus Parasol

Hand-painted Japanese parasol dedicated to Fusaichi Pegasus. The parasol is signed by Fusaichi Pegasus' owner Fasao Sekiguchi in red.

Kentucky Derby Museum Permanent Collection

Fusaichi Pegasus signed Japanese parasol


Geiko doll in glass case

Featured Artifact:
Geisha Figure

Geisha figure presented as a gift to former president of the Kentucky Derby Museum, Lynn Ashton, by winning owner of the 2000 Kentucky Derby Fusao Sekiguchi.

Kentucky Derby Museum Permanent Collection


April 23, 2020:

Today we learn about the man that saved the Churchill Downs Racetrack from going under in the early 1900s. In 1903, Louisville tailor Matt Winn was approached to buy the struggling Churchill Downs Racetrack. Through Matt Winn's leadership, he was able to turn the Derby fortune around and helped shape what the Kentucky Derby looks like today.

Featured Video: Derby Academy Lesson 6

"Matt Winn's Derby" (Social Studies)

In this episode of Derby Academy, filmed in 2017, we take a look into Winn’s decision on buying the struggling racetrack in 1903 and how he made the Derby – the Derby. “Derby Academy” was designed for teachers to supplement curriculum in a variety of subjects for grades 4-8, and ties to the Kentucky Derby, America’s longest continuous-running sporting event.

After watching the video, consider this writing prompt:

When Matt Winn and his group took over the Churchill Downs racetrack in 1902, the Kentucky Derby was struggling. What were some ways that Winn turned the Derby around and made it into an important American sporting event? What were some key aspects of his personality that helped him in this job?

Share your student's responses with us at #derbyeveryday


Derby Moments:
Matt Winn's Last Derby

The 1949 Kentucky Derby was Matt Winn's last Derby he attended before he passed later that year. It was the 75th running of the Kentucky Derby, also known as the Diamond Jubilee Derby. The winning horse was Ponder, owned by Calumet Farm, trained by Ben A. Jones, and jockeyed by Steve Brooks.

Watch this historical film of the 1949 Kentucky Derby, now a part of the Periscope Film LLC archive.


Matt Winn 1912

Matt Winn describes what it was like to attend his first Kentucky Derby in the book "Down The Stretch: The Story of Col. Matt J. Winn" published by Smith and Durrell in 1949.

It was 1875 and he was just 13-years-old.

“My father had promised to take me to see the opening of the new track, and the running of the Derby, provided I performed a few extra chores, which were completed in world’s record time.

I was up at dawn. It was clear, sunshiny and warm. Father hitched the horse to the wagon, which he generally used in hauling groceries from the wholesale houses, and we were off for my first Derby through the greatest traffic jam Louisville had known up to that time..."

Read the full excerpt of Matt Winn's memories of the first Derby >


Featured Artifact:
1949 Kentucky Derby Glass

Matt Winn's picture appeared on the official 1949 Kentucky Derby Mint Julep Glass with the caption "He Has Seen Them All." He had seen every Kentucky Derby run since the first derby in 1875 when he was just 13-years-old. The 1949 Kentucky Derby was the last Derby Matt Winn attended before he passed at 88-years-old.

Matt Winn 1949 Derby Glass


April 22, 2020:

Featured Video: Derby Academy Lesson 5

"You Are What You Eat?" (Food and Nutrition)

Today we are traveling back in time to Lesson 5 (Food and Nutrition) of our Derby Academy series, filmed in 2017. “Derby Academy” was designed for teachers to supplement curriculum in a variety of subjects for grades 4-8, and ties to the Kentucky Derby, America’s longest continuous-running sporting event.

After watching the video, consider this writing prompt:

You’re at the grocery store. It’s your job to fill the cart the healthy foods, essential for good health. What are you putting in your cart and why? (Don’t worry about the price!)

Share your student's responses with us at #derbyeveryday

Storytime with Chami:

Chami, the Museum's Educational Assistant, reads the children's book Gaston Goes to the Kentucky Derby. Written and Illustrated by James Rice. Published by Pelican Publishing Company.

Before watching the video, review these pre-lesson vocabulary words:

  • Bayou - A marshy outlet of a lake or river
  • Stallion - Adult male horse
  • Aquiver - Trembling
  • Poised - Balanced and grounded
  • Fillies - Young female horses
  • Bugler - Person who plays the Bugle
  • Strut - Walk with a proud gait
  • Steed - Horse used for riding

Post video Questions:

What is the difference between Fiction and Non-fiction?
Is this book Fiction or Non-fiction? Why?
Kentucky Derby is full of traditions. What are some Derby traditions you learned today?


1961 Carry Back feed bucket

Featured Artifact:

This is a feed bucket presented to Jack and Katherine Price--owners of 1961 Kentucky Derby winner Carry Back--by the officials at Hialeah Park for his "many contributions to Florida's Thoroughbred racing and breeding." Carry Back was foaled at Ocala Stud in Florida, starting his racing career there with auspicious pre-Derby wins in the Everglade Stakes, Flamingo Stakes, and Florida Derby. He continued to win in Florida races after his Triple Crown season in 1961 and eventually retired there to stud. Notice the decorative flamingos painted on the bucket, referencing the recognizable state bird of Florida.

Gift of Jack and Katherine Price as part of their extensive Carry Back collection, now housed at the Kentucky Derby Museum


April 21, 2020:

The Kentucky Derby has the best of the best Thoroughbred atheletes, the classic mint julep, the quintessential Derby hats - and the celebrities! Over the course of Kentucky Derby history, celebrities have shown up in Louisville to watch the race and grace the rails of Millionaires Row.


Bob Hope and Eddie Arcaro

Featured Blog:

Autograph Please

Animal sports are no stranger to celebrity. Since the age of gladiators and “bread and circuses” powerful leaders have called for grand spectacle for their people, but horse racing elevated crass blood sports to an elegant spectacle of athleticism and strategy fit for a king. In fact, racing has long been called the “Sport of Kings,” an homage to its age-old patronage by the leaders and influential movers and shakers of society.

Read blog >


Fun Fact:

In 1998, internationally-acclaimed actor Jack Nicholson attended the Kentucky Derby. Here he is taking a bow to the stands during the Post Parade.

Photo credit Churchill Downs Racetrack

Jack Nicholson on the Churchill Downs Racetrack


Helena Modrzejewska by Melecjusz Dutkiewicz

Fun Fact:

Legend has it that mint was planted outside the clubhouse of Churchill Downs in Louisville so that mint juleps could be served at the first Kentucky Derby, in 1875. Supposedly, founder Clark served one to Polish actress Helena Modjeska in 1877.

Portrait of Helena Modrzejewska by Melecjusz Dutkiewicz. Photo in collection of Biblioteka Narodowa (National Library) in Poland, F.3439


Photo gallery of celebrities attending the Kentucky Derby


April 20, 2020:

Today we feature the one and only Secretariat, 1973 Kentucky Derby/Triple Crown winner who was voted one of the greatest race horses of all time.

Oral History Clip:

Penny Chenery recalls what it was like winning the Kentucky Derby with Secretariat and dealing with the sudden fame that came with owning a Triple Crown champion and charismatic racehorse.

1973 Post Parade

Featured Blog:

Secretariat: The Icon of the Industry

A superior athlete with unmatched celebrity status, Secretariat is an icon of Thoroughbred racing history. Learn more about his start and what made him a legend in the industry.

Read blog >


Secretariat Exhibit Highlights:

  • 1972 Kentucky Derby Trophy
  • Horseshoe worn by Secretariat
  • Kentucky Derby win ticket on Secretariat

Along with items from the Kentucky Derby Museum Permanent Collection, the exhibit features artifacts generously loaned by the Chenery family, the Secretariat Trust,, and Lee Carmichael.

Secretariat Exhibit


Bekkie with Riva Way

Hear it from our team:

Kentucky Derby Museum has an amazing group of volunteers. Our volunteers, known as "The Outriders Society," help the Museum in many facets, by participating in research, greeting guests, helping staff with special events and administrative responsibilities and so much more. We greatly value our volunteers who are willing to share their time, expertise and experience.

One of our volunteers, Bekkie Siebel, is a big Secretariat fan. In honor of highlighting Secretariat today on the Virtual Museum, we interviewed Bekkie on what Secretariat means to her. The following is her response and photos she had to share with us.

Read interview >


Educational Lesson:

Secretariat: The Ultimate Thoroughbred Athlete

An educational lesson exploring what made Secretariat a champion.


April 19, 2020:

This weekend we are featuring back to back jockeys who will have their stories told in our upcoming exhibit "Right to Ride".


Oral History Clip:

Barbara Jo Rubin recalls the race day at Tropical Park in 1969 when she would have become the first woman to ride in a pari-mutuel race. A boycott from the male jockeys removed her from her mount, but that didn't stop her from pursuing her dreams of riding.


Featured Jockey Quote:

“I always loved horses. I always wanted to ride. That’s all I dreamed about, were horses.”

- Barbara Jo Rubin

Barbara Jo Rubin in the horse stables with gear


Carla Grego interviewing Barbara Jo Rubin

Note from the Curator:

It has been our pleasure to watch Carla Grego, Horsemen Relations Manager for the Kentucky Derby Museum, conduct our oral history interviews for our upcoming Right to Ride exhibit about female jockeys. Here are some of Carla's thoughts on interviewing Barbara Jo Rubin.

"Barbara Jo Rubin’s story brought such emotion in me. Fighting polio as a child and developing this idea of riding horses to get her through was her initial fantasy. This grew into her life’s ambition to become a jockey. Barbara Jo told her story of trials and tribulation with such grace and grit. As her story unfolded my heart strings were tugged at her tenacity to make her dreams come true, against all odds, with that ever-present smile on her face and twinkle in her eye. Many others, man or woman, couldn’t have maintained the level of optimism and passion and go through what she did to become a jockey and realize her dream."
- Carla Grego

Photo: Carla Grego (left) interviewing Barbara Jo Rubin (right).


Educational Activity:

Coloring Sheet

Jessica Whitehead, the Museum's Curator of Collections, is not only extremely talented at her job as a writer, researcher, and curator, but also a wonderful artist. She's made a coloring sheet of Barbara Jo Rubin fun for all ages to fill in!

Share a photo of your colored sheet on Facebook and Instragram with #derbyeveryday.

Download Coloring Sheet

Barbara Jo Rubin coloring sheet


April 18, 2020:

This weekend we are featuring back to back jockeys who will have their stories told in our upcoming exhibit "Right to Ride".


Oral History Clip:

Sandy Schleiffers was the first female jockey accepted to the Jockeys' Guild in 1970, as well as the first woman okayed to ride at Santa Anita Park in California and the first woman to ride in professional races in both Colorado and Arizona. Hear her explain why she believes women haven't gotten as many opportunities to ride and win major races like the Kentucky Derby.


Featured Jockey Quote:

“That’s a hell of a compliment for a woman jockey, that they can’t tell who the girl jockey is. Because if they can, then you’re not doing something right.”

- Sandy Schleiffers

Sandy Schleiffers aboard Majave Chief


Jessica Whitehead, Sandy Schleiffers and Carla Grego

Note from the Curator:

It has been our pleasure to watch Carla Grego, Horsemen Relations Manager for the Kentucky Derby Museum, conduct our oral history interviews for our upcoming Right to Ride exhibit about female jockeys. Here are some of Carla's thoughts on interviewing Sandy Schleiffers.

"Interviewing Sandy Schlieffers was such a tremendous treat. Sandy was more than willing to share her story and the big part she played as one of the first women jockeys in North America. Her story was of a passion for riding horses in races, being a jockey. As well as a testament of the courage it took for those first women. To be told that what you wanted most in life was unattainable solely because you were a woman. And then to persevere and to not only attain that goal, but the respect of those who had stood in the way."
- Carla Grego

Photo, pictured left to right: Jessica Whitehead, Sandy Schleiffers, and Carla Grego.


Educational Activity:

Coloring Sheet

Jessica Whitehead, the Museum's Curator of Collections, is not only extremely talented at her job as a writer, researcher, and curator, but also a wonderful artist. She's made a coloring sheet of Sandy Schlieffers fun for all ages to fill in!

Share a photo of your colored sheet on Facebook and Instragram with #derbyeveryday.

Download Coloring Sheet

Sandy Schlieffers coloring sheet


April 17, 2020:

Today we want to highlight the role of the 'track pony' - but what is a track pony? What makes them so essential to the horse racing industry? Learn about their daily routines and see some photos of them in action!


"Track Ponies" by KET:

This video, produced by KET (Kentucky Educational Television) in 2015, features narration by the late John Asher, who served as Vice President of Racing Communications at Churchill Downs. He was a great fan of the track ponies, particularly of former Resident Thoroughbred of the Kentucky Derby Museum, Perfect Drift, who went on to become a track pony. Though John Asher is no longer with us, his love for Churchill Downs will forever endure. We believe he'd want us to share this interview to continue to educate and inspire love for the horses in all of us.

Photo gallery of fashionable track ponies in action!


Harley is a fan favorite at Churchill Downs Racetrack! As a track pony, Harley safely leads Thoroughbreds to the starting gate at important races such as the Kentucky Derby! He's an American Sugarbush Harlequin Draft Horse and sports a black blanket appaloosa coat. You can read more about Harley in an article published in America's Best Racing.

So beloved is Harley that the popular horse figurine producer, Breyer®, made a Harley figurine! It is available in the Museum's online gift shop! Who doesn't want a Harley of their own? View in our gift shop >

Harley Breyer Figurine


Hear it from our team:

"There are so many amazing things to see when you work here at the Kentucky Derby Museum and being on the same site as Churchill Downs has many advantages. One of them is getting to see track ponies. They get used to seeing you and they know when you start to walk up to them, whether it’s at their stalls or alongside the track as they are waiting to lead the thoroughbreds to the starting gate, that they will be getting some love and some peppermints. They love their peppermints! They can make a bad start to the morning or a bad day just go away."

- Evin Munson, Group Sales Coordinator
(Picture of Evin with Lucky, one of the track ponies)

Evin petting a track pony railside


Horse Puppets

Educational Activity: Craft a Horse Puppet!

"Shapes and Colors Horse Puppet (PreK-3)": Horse Puppets are filled with shapes and colors. Can you identify the different shapes and colors you used to create the horse puppet?

Challenge: Use your imagination and creativity to write a short story about horses. When you are done with the story, act it out using the puppets you created.

Download Horse Puppet Instructions


April 16, 2020:

Virtual Historic Walking Tour, P5:

This is part five of the virtual Historic Walking Tour of Churchill Downs®, led by our very own Barry Northern!

The Historic Walking Tour comes free with a general admission ticket to the Kentucky Derby Museum. It is a 30 minute, guided walking tour of historic Churchill Downs Racetrack. Learn about past Derby winners and the rich history of this location. Visitors walk through the property to the paddock and out to the grandstand learning trivia and fun facts along the way.

Learn more about this tour >

Today we highlight some cool artifacts of times when other sports partnered up with the Kentucky Derby:


Featured Artifact:

In 2004, the Louisville Slugger Museum presented this commemorative bat to the Kentucky Derby Museum. Slugger bats, a recognizable symbol of the city of Louisville, can only become even more special when etched with the names of all of the winners of the Kentucky Derby from 1875-2004. This artifact resides in the Derby Museum's storage vault at the moment, but we thought we'd pull it out for you as we celebrate other sports and their connection to Kentucky horse racing!


Featured Artifact:
1936 Kentucky Derby Program signed by Babe Ruth

This 1936 Kentucky Derby program, signed by Major League Baseball legend Babe Ruth, was donated to the Museum by Lynn Raque of Louisville. In 1936, her husband, a senior at St. Xavier High School, worked as an usher. Assigned to boxes 1-44, he recognized Ruth and had the baseball great sign 10 programs. She donated this piece to the Museum in 1985.

Babe Ruth signed 1936 Kentucky Derby program.


Dan Fowler with Kentucky/Meadow Stable basketball jersey

Featured Artifact:
Kentucky/Meadow Stable basketball jersey

This gracious donor, Dan Fowler, drove 10+ hours all the way from Pennsylvania to gift this special jersey to Kentucky Derby Museum! It's a commemorative University of Kentucky/Meadow Stable basketball jersey from 2008, when #BBN used a Meadow Stable inspired checkerboard jersey that season. In honor of the partnership, UK presented this special Secretariat jersey to Secretariat's owner, Penny Chenery. Dan purchased it at auction a few years ago, and we are grateful he is making Kentucky Derby Museum its permanent home. He is a HUGE Secretariat fan and collector.


Photo Highlight

The Stanley Cup has been to several of the most recent Derbys since NBC uses it to promote their hockey coverage. This is a picture of 1994 Derby winner Go for Gin drinking from the Stanley Cup in his barn at Belmont Park. Eddie Olczyk, former NHL player and Stanley Cup winner with the NY Rangers (far right), is pictured with trainer Nick Zito and now serves as NBC’s lead handicapper for its Triple Crown coverage. Nyquist, winner of the 2016 Kentucky Derby, also drank from the Stanley Cup before he raced in the Derby for luck.

Photo credit Bob Coglianese

1994 Derby winner Go for Gin with Stanley Cup


April 15, 2020:

Steve Niemeier and his derby glass collection

Collect to Contribute:

Meet long time Kentucky Derby fan and glass collector, Steve Niemeier. He's been collecting Derby glasses for decades and knew that this year's glass, with the May 2nd date, would be essential to his collection. Thanks for sharing your collection with us Steve and for collecting to contribute!

Whether you're a seasoned collector or starting one for the very first time, this year is the perfect time to collect a piece of history and contribute to the community at the same time! Through your purchase of May 2nd merchandise, 20% of sales will be donated to Mayor Fischer's One Louisville: COVID-19 Response Fund and Governor Beshear's Team Kentucky Fund. Collect your May 2nd merchandise here!

Thank you all for your incredible response and support of our mission to give back. We're glad to do our part to support this community that has supported us for so many years.
#TeamKentucky #TogetherKY #LouisvilleLove


My Old Kentucky Home Sheet Music

Featured Blog:

Just What the Doctor Ordered

Kentucky’s hallowed spirit, Bourbon, is the foundation for her favorite potable, the mint julep. Like many traditions, the origins of the mint julep and its connection to the Kentucky Derby has been mythologized widely, but here are a few of our favorite fun facts about the history of Derby’s signature cocktail.

Read blog >


Fun Fact:

Each year, almost 120,000 mint juleps are served over the two-day period of the Oaks and Derby.

mint juleps


April 14, 2020:

Today we're highlighting Bill Shoemaker (1931-2003), an American jockey often cited as Thoroughbred racing’s last celebrity jockey.

Bill Shoemaker Exhibit

Bill Shoemaker: Larger than Life

Exhibit Highlights:

  • Artifacts documenting Shoemaker’s racing career, including his four Kentucky Derby wins: Swaps (1955), Tomy Lee (1959), Lucky Debonair (1965) and Ferdinand (1986).
  • A special 180 degree interactive that allows visitors to view riding a Thoroughbred from the perspective of a rider.
  • Scrapbooks from the Shoemaker collection that document his riding career, his interactions with fans and life with his family.


Chris Goodlett

Notes from the Curator

"In 2008, the Kentucky Derby Museum received the collection of champion jockey Bill Shoemaker from his daughter, Amanda Shoemaker Teal. The Museum houses many significant collections. But, this was a unique one, as Shoemaker’s career had made such an impact; and he had name recognition across generations. I’d like to share with you some of the highlights of this collection and how we chose to present it in the permanent exhibition, Bill Shoemaker: Larger than Life."
-Chris Goodlett

Read the full note from Chris Goodlett about the process of translating the Shoemaker collection into a Museum exhibit >


1957 Derby Finish

Story of the 1957 Kentucky Derby:

Ronnie, Manager of Education Services, tells the story of what made the 1957 Kentucky Derby a Derby that Bill Shoemaker would never forget - but not for the reasons you may think. Listen to how a dream foreshadowed what has been seen as one of the most inexplicable circumstances in Kentucky Derby history.

Download "The Strangest of Them All" Powerpoint with audio


Trophy, Spectacular Bid

Featured Artifact:

Trophy, Spectacular Bid. Jockey Bill Shoemaker received this trophy for his win aboard Spectacular Bid in the 1980 Woodward Stakes at Belmont Park. As a heavy favorite, Spectacular Bid won this race in a walkover, meaning no other horses entered the race. Shoemaker and his Thoroughbred still had to run the race to be deemed the winners.

Bill Shoemaker Collection


April 13, 2020:

Silks, silks, silks! Today we offer a complete lesson plan full of educational activities for teachers and parents to give to their students on the subject of jockey silk design.

Racing Silks: A Multi-Disciplinary Lesson on Design for K-12th

What are racing silks? Who decides what the silks look like? Are there rules in designing silks? What is the symbolism behind all the colors and shapes that are used? These are just a few questions we will be addressing in this lesson. We include prompts in brainstorming your own silk design and a writing challenge.

Download Racing Silks Lesson

QUIZ: Take a quiz on what you learned!

Jockey silks


Coloring Sheet

After you participate in the Racing Silks educational lesson, let's apply the silk symbolism to our own silk design. If you were a horse owner, what would your silks look like?

Share a photo of your colored silks sheet on Facebook and Instragram with #derbyeveryday.

Download Coloring Sheet

Jockey and silks coloring sheet


Jockey Silks Math Sheets

Let's do some silk mathematics! We've made two primary level jockey silks math worksheets on subtraction and addition.

Download Subtraction Worksheet

Download Addition Worksheet

Silks mathematics worksheet


Giacomo Silks

2005 Giacomo - Jerry & Anne Moss

  • The Moss family’s interest in meditation and Eastern spirituality led to their color selection
  • Teal=color of the heart chakra (green) + divinity (white)
  • Pink=color of protection (red) + divinity (white)
  • The pink band design represents a ring of protection for the jockey
Affirmed Silks

1978 Affirmed - Harbor View Farm

  • Owner Lou Wolfson’s farm was in Florida, a state known for its large population of coastal flamingoes
  • Silks colors reflect the natural colors of the flamingo: pink, white and black
  • Affirmed was the 1978 Triple Crown Winner
Citation Silks

1948 Citation - Calumet Farm

  • Warren Wright’s Calumet Farm silks were one of the most recognized in racing history: 8 Derby winners wore them and 2 of the 8 went on to win the Triple Crown (1941 Whirlaway & 1948 Citation)
  • Silks colors reflect the colors on the can of the baking powder that made the Wright family fortune
Street Sense Silks

2007 Street Sense - Jim Tafel

  • Owner Jim Tafel’s horse racing silks inspired his son to use the same colors for his car racing business

April 11, 2020:

1922 Morvich

Best Kentucky Derby Moments:


Morvich entered the 1922 Kentucky Derby on an 11-race win streak, which brought comparisons to the great Man o’ War by some. As a result, Morvich was a heavy favorite and won the race by 1 ½ lengths. It would be his final victory. The first California-bred to win the Derby, Morvich could not even compete for what would later be known as the Triple Crown as the Preakness and Derby were run on the same day that year. Scenes from the 1922 race appeared in the Universal film The Kentucky Derby, a silent-era picture starring noted British actor Reginald Denny.


Featured Clip:

Watch a brief clip of scenes from the 1922 Universal Jewel movie, "The Kentucky Derby."

Fun Fact:

Prior to 1924 when Churchill Downs commissioned the now-iconic Kentucky Derby gold cup, there was no standard design for the award given to the Derby-winning owners in the Winner's Circle. In 1922, Morvich's owner, Ben Bloch, received this engraved, solid gold souvenir service including: candlesticks, a loving cup, and two dishes. At the time, the service was valued at $7,000. With inflation, the same set would have cost over ten times as much in 2020.

1922 Trophys


Complementary Admission Pass for ladies

Featured Artifact:

Complementary Admission Pass for ladies, Fall Meet, 1922.

Kentucky Derby Museum Archives


April 10, 2020:

Happy National Siblings Day! There are a plethora of notable siblings who have left their mark throughout history. Today the Kentucky Derby Museum recognizes those brothers and sisters that contribute to the Thoroughbred industry, which is a way of life for many families across the world.

Irad Ortiz, Jr. and Jose L. Ortiz

Here are just a few siblings that have enriched the Thoroughbred industry:

  • Jose and Irad Ortiz, Jr.: Jockeys
  • Seth, Dell and Arthur Hancock, III: Owners and Breeders
  • Gary and Scott Stevens: Jockeys
  • Chris and Gregg McCarron: Jockeys
  • Keith and Kent Desormeaux: Trainer and Jockey
  • Steve and Cash Asmussen: Trainer and Jockey
  • Donna, Leah and Jerry Barton: Jockeys


Sibling Spotlight:

Seth, Dell and Arthur Hancock

We want to pay tribute to Seth, Dell and Arthur Hancock, the children of A.B. “Bull” Hancock. Seth and Dell represent Claiborne Farm, the Thoroughbred operation founded by their grandfather in 1910. Claiborne won the Kentucky Derby as an owner/breeder in 1984 with Swale and have been part of the nurturing of many other Kentucky Derby winners. Seth and Dell’s brother, Arthur Hancock, III, became the manager of Stone Farm in 1970 and has bred or owned three Kentucky Derby winners, including noted champion and stallion Sunday Silence in 1989.

Photo credit Churchill Downs Racetrack

Swale and Sunday Silence


Photos of Citation, Hill Gail and Iron Liege

Sibling Spotlight:

Citation, Hill Gail, Iron Liege, and Real Delight

We also want to give a shout out to the half-sibling Thoroughbreds who left a significant mark in the industry. To do that, we need to recognize one of the most prolific sires in Kentucky Derby history, Bull Lea. Owned by the legendary Calumet Farm, he had three sons win the Derby: Citation (1948), Hill Gail (1952) and Iron Liege (1957). Bull Lea also sired the winner of the 1952 Kentucky Oaks, Real Delight, giving him the winner of both races in the same year.

Photo credit Churchill Downs Racetrack


Best Kentucky Derby Moments:

Gallant Fox

Keeping it in the family! The clear favorite in 1930, Gallant Fox won the Kentucky Derby and went on to become the second-ever Triple Crown winner. He became the first, and only, Triple Crown winner to sire a Triple Crown winner. That horse was Omaha, winner of the classics in 1935.

Watch Gallant Fox's 1930 Triple Crown runs >

1930 Derby Winner & Triple Crown Champion Gallant Fox


April 9, 2020:

Today we want to talk about one of the signature traditions of the Kentucky Derby: the singing of “My Old Kentucky Home.” We will share memories, some historical background on the song, and highlight the musicians who perform the song to a crowd of more than 160,000 people every year.


See it in action - on Derby Day and in school!

For those of our fans who haven't witnessed the performance on Derby Day, we wanted to show "My Old Kentucky Home" in action! First, watch the youtube video posted by the Twinspires youtube channel - it showcases the horse parade and the UofL Marching Band performing to a massive crowd of 167,227 fans at the 142nd Kentucky Derby, May 7, 2016, at Churchill Downs.

Then watch the second video: a short clip of Heather Hill, the Museum's Outreach Education and Program Coordinator, singing "My Old Kentucky Home" on Outreach to a group of kids. Heather travels all over the state of Kentucky to schools, providing educational programs to students of all ages, all focused around the Kentucky Derby.



My Old Kentucky Home Sheet Music

Featured Blog:

We Will Sing One Song: Singing My Old Kentucky Home at the Derby

When the last stanza begins with “Weep No More My Lady…” a noticeable crescendo engulfs the racetrack and then, it seems that for a moment, all 160,000 or so people in the crowd – from the well-heeled in the posh clubhouse to the mass of humanity in the infield – are all Kentuckians, gathered on the first Saturday in May to celebrate one of Kentucky’s great historical, cultural and economic contributions – it’s horses.

But the song is so much more than that. Learn about this history of the song, written around 1852 by composer Stephen Foster.

Read blog >


Oral History Collection Featured Clip:

Patti Cooksey reflecting on her memory of the sights and sounds when she rode aboard So Vague in the 1984 Kentucky Derby.


Fun Fact: The University of Louisville Marching Band, in their snappy red, white and black uniforms, plays the soft opening of “My Old Kentucky Home,” a song that has been played at every Kentucky Derby since at least 1921. According to the Official Kentucky Derby Media Guide, the U of L Marching Band first played the song on Derby Day in 1936. They've played it almost every year since.


April 8, 2020:

In Louisville, April has become known as Mint Julep Month®. Louisville Tourism debuted Mint Julep Month® in 2013 as a way to draw attention to the city in the spring and to create excitement around the Kentucky Derby season. Even though the Kentucky Derby season has been pushed back this year to August/September, we want to give everyone something to look forward to post Covid-19.

Mint Julep infront of Historical Landmark plaque

Featured Tour: Bourbon and Bridles

This tour combines two of Kentucky’s most treasured icons: bourbon and Thoroughbreds. This tour begins with a visit next door at Churchill Downs and intertwines the history of bourbon and horse racing in Kentucky. You’ll pick up historical facts about the Mint Julep. It originated in the 18th century in connection with U.S. Senator of Kentucky, Henry Clay. Helena Modjeska, a famous actress of her time, attended the third running of the Kentucky Derby in 1877. She was impressed by the Derby, but even more impressed when she was introduced to the Mint Julep by the Derby's founder, Col. Meriwether Lewis Clark, Jr. In many large gatherings, the Julep was prepared in a large silver bowl and passed around to guests. However, Modjeska took a sip and rather than pass it on, she declared the drink to be supreme and asked Col. Clark to prepare one for her husband; she finished the bowl. The tour ends inside the Museum’s Derby Cafe Express, an official stop on Louisville’s Urban Bourbon Trail, where guests enjoy a bourbon tasting along with an interactive lesson on how to make and enjoy the famous Mint Julep.

Learn more >


Hat Contest Highlight:

The mint julep hat featured is a submission by Helen Overfield to the 2019 Hat Contest competition and is on display in the "It's My Derby" fashion exhibit.

The "It's My Derby" fashion exhibit takes entries from both professionals and amateurs to enter their hats for inclusion in the exhibit. The annual hat contest is a signature element of the exhibition which strives to capture the spirit associated with the landmark sport and cultural event that is the Kentucky Derby.

Learn more >

Mint Julep Derby Hat


Kentucky Derby, Fashion, and the Mint Jelup


1995 man in homemade Derby hat

Featured Blog:

Outlandish Designs and Dressing to the Nines: 146 Years of Derby Fashion
Part 3: You Ain’t Never Seen Nothin’

Post-1960 Derby celebrations saw an explosion of creativity and exuberance and personal expression. Derby Day will always be the best place to go big, or go home.

Read blog >


April 7, 2020:

Virtual Field Trip

"The Show Must Go On: 146 Years of Derby Resilience"

Learn about challenges the Kentucky Derby has had to overcome throughout its 146 years and how it has become the America’s longest continuously run sporting event. It is truly “The Greatest Race.”

This Social Studies-based Powerpoint mini-lesson is just one part of the overall Virtual Field Trip experience that our Education team has put together for teachers and parents to use with their students from home. Let us bring the Derby to you!

Learn more about the Virtual Field Trip >


Fun Fact:

Come rain or shine, crowds who gather for the Kentucky Derby don't let the weather get them down. It has rained noticeably on 32 of the 145 Derby Days in history. For a long time, Exterminator's 1918 Kentucky Derby held the record for the most rainfall in a 24 hour period, clocking in at 2.31". However, in 2018, Triple Crown winner Justify crossed the finish line on the sloppiest track: 3.15" of rain fell that day, and nearly 2" fell between the hours of 4 and 5 PM.

Watch the 2018 Kentucky Derby on Youtube >

Justify at 2018 Kentucky Derby
2018 Kentucky Derby: Rainy Memories


Photo from the Archive

In 1965 there was a small fire in a section of the Clubhouse at Churchill Downs on Derby Day. No one was hurt and damage was minimal, but track photographers managed to capture this awesome photo of the blaze before it was extinguished.

Photo credit Churchill Downs Racetrack

1965 Fire in the Clubhouse Seats


April 6, 2020:

Virtual Historic Walking Tour, P4:

This is part four of the virtual Historic Walking Tour of Churchill Downs®, led by our very own Barry Northern!

The Historic Walking Tour comes free with a general admission ticket to the Kentucky Derby Museum. It is a 30 minute, guided walking tour of historic Churchill Downs Racetrack. Learn about past Derby winners and the rich history of this location. Visitors walk through the property to the paddock and out to the grandstand learning trivia and fun facts along the way.

Learn more about this tour >


Steve Buttleman Churchill Downs Bugler

Featured Article:

Curious Louisville's "Curious Derby: 20(ish) Questions With Bugler Steve Buttleman"

Written by Laura Ellis. As part of Curious Louisville's "Curious Derby" series, they chatted with Churchill Downs’ official bugler, Steve Buttleman, about the origins of the Call to the Post that he plays before each race.

Read the full article >


Steve Buttleman is so beloved and iconic that he even appears in student art from our Horsing Around With Art competition


Linkin' Bridge Singing on Oaks Day

Fun Fact:

Every year the National Anthem is sung by a well-known musical artist or group at the Kentucky Derby before the race begins. Such artists have been Lady Antebellum, Mary J. Blige, Rascal Flatts, and Harry Connick Jr.

Watch a few of the National Anthem performances on Derby Day >


April 5, 2020:

Red Cross Nurses in Winners Circle 1942

Marcy's Photo Finds

Marcy Werner, the Museum's Digital Imaging Specialist, has curated a selection of images that she's uncovered in the photo archives of Churchill Downs' collection. We plan on sharing some of these photo finds over the next month.

"The photography, people, and history here are fascinating and when all those come together, I just have to share. I have the privilege (and the software) to really zoom in on these photos. Couple that with the fact I am a photo geek and I can find just about anything worth sharing in any photo. I hope you enjoy!"
- Marcy Werner

View "Photo Finds" PDF >

Photo credit Churchill Downs Racetrack


Kuprion Photo Finish Camera

Featured Artifact:

Original Kuprion Photo Finish Camera

This is the original Kuprion Photo Finish Camera with attached electric motor. The development of this camera was called one of the great progressive steps in horseracing during the first half of the 20th century from the date of its first use in 1936.

View on our online collection >


Amazon Prime Movie Recommendation:

50 to 1 (2014)

Directed by Jim Wilson
PG-13 | 1h 50min | Drama

Based on a true story of underdog Thoroughbred racehorse “Mine That Bird” who won the 2009 Kentucky Derby at 50 to 1 odds.

50 to 1 2014 Movie Poster


April 4, 2020:

Featured Video: Storytime with Chami

Chami reads Klippity Klop

Today the Kentucky Derby Museum's Educational Assistant, Chami Weeratunga, reads the children's book "Klippity Klop" by Ed Emberley. Published by Little Brown & Co. in 1974. When Prince Krispin goes adventuring he discovers one advantage of staying safe at home.

After watching the video, think about these questions: How does making the sounds help this story come alive? Can you think of other books where making sounds makes the story more fun?


146 Derby glass close-up

Featured Blog:

What was the slowest Derby ever run?

A lot of you probably wanted to say 1891, when Kingman crossed the wire at 2:52.25. Technically, you’d be right, but I’m here to tell you about the Kentucky Turtle Derby and a brave—but very slow—little terrapin named Broken Spring.

As we near 2020’s now-vacant Derby date of May 2nd, perhaps we can learn something from the intrepid wartime racing lovers of 1945. When everything seemed bleak, and a hallowed Louisville day on the calendar begged to be occupied with something to delight and entertain, the community came together and gave each other something to smile about. #TogetherKY

Read blog >


Educational Activity:

In light of the featured blog about the Kentucky Turtle Derby in 1945, we made a fun coloring sheet of a jockey riding a turtle. Sometimes slow and steady does win the race.

After reading the blog, answer these questions: What was a positive outcome of the turtle derby? Compare the 1945 Derby to 2020, what are some similarities? Differences? Since the 2020 Derby is postponed, how would you celebrate on May 2nd this year instead?

Share a photo of your colored sheet on Facebook and Instragram with #derbyeveryday.

Download Coloring Sheet

Turtle and Jockey Drawing


April 3, 2020:

Virtual Historic Walking Tour, P3:

This is part three of the virtual Historic Walking Tour of Churchill Downs®, led by our very own Barry Northern!

The Historic Walking Tour comes free with a general admission ticket to the Kentucky Derby Museum. It is a 30 minute, guided walking tour of historic Churchill Downs Racetrack. Learn about past Derby winners and the rich history of this location. Visitors walk through the property to the paddock and out to the grandstand learning trivia and fun facts along the way.

Learn more about this tour >

146 Derby glass close-up

Featured Blog:

The Twin Spires: The Iconic Symbol of Churchill Downs

The year 2020 will mark the 125th anniversary of the Twin Spires of Churchill Downs. Learn more about the origin and significance of the Spires.

Read blog >


Photo from the Archive

This 1905 photo of the first turn of the Kentucky Derby shows a view of the Grandstand, built 10 years earlier in 1895.

Photo credit Churchill Downs Racetrack

1905 Kentucky Derby First Turn on the Track


1918 Derby Winner Exterminator

Best Kentucky Derby Moments:

1919 through 1934 Kentucky Derby Races

Check out this early footage of the Kentucky Derby from 1919 to 1934. The video starts off as a silent film then progresses to sound over the course of that 15-year period of time.

Watch the Kentucky Derby from 1919-1934 >


April 2, 2020:

1937 Post Cover Hat

Featured Blog:

Outlandish Designs and Dressing to the Nines: 146 Years of Derby Fashion
Part 2: New Century, New Looks

Part two of our history of Derby ensembles takes a look at the rapidly-evolving frocks and trimmings for fashionable trackside ladies through the Jazz Age and into wartime.

Read blog >


Kentucky Derby Fashion 1900-1950


Trivia Question

Which hat did the Queen of England wear to the Kentucky Derby in 2007?

Queen of England in 3 hats

Answer A:

The Queen of England attended the Kentucky Derby in 2007, the 133rd running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. She traveled with her husband, Prince Philip. Kentucky Derby Museum has a replica of this hat on display in our fashion exhibit.

If you like this, check out the Daily Trivia questions on our Instagram Stories!


Hat Coloring Sheet

Educational Activity:

Today we put together a coloring sheet activity where you can design your own Derby hat. Express your style and then share a photo of your colored sheet online with us at #derbyeveryday.

Download Coloring Sheet


April 1, 2020:

Virtual Historic Walking Tour, P2:

This is part two of the virtual Historic Walking Tour of Churchill Downs®, led by our very own Barry Northern!

The Historic Walking Tour comes free with a general admission ticket to the Kentucky Derby Museum. It is a 30 minute, guided walking tour of historic Churchill Downs Racetrack. Learn about past Derby winners and the rich history of this location. Visitors walk through the property to the paddock and out to the grandstand learning trivia and fun facts along the way.

Learn more about this tour >


146 Derby glass close-up

Featured Blog:

The Official Mint Julep Glass: What Makes Something Collectible?

The Official Kentucky Derby Mint Julep Glass has been a popular collectible for many years. Limited production runs or mistakes can make these highly sought after at auctions and other places of public sale. With the Kentucky Derby being postponed, the 146th Kentucky Derby glass has the date of May 2nd. Will the date change increase the value to collectors?

Read blog >


Vintage Derby Glasses

Vintage Derby Glasses:

Are you a collector of Derby memorabilia? Did you know the Museum's gift shop has a vast collection of vintage Derby glasses, ranging from the year 1959 until today? If you're missing a year, maybe we have it! Help support the Kentucky Derby Museum and fill in your Derby glass collection all at the same time!

Browse our vintage Derby glass collection >


Tatanka & Poppy at the Farm

Tatanka sure seems to be enjoying his time in quarantine at Moserwood II Farm. We hope everyone is eating healthy and staying active at home!

Horses in field


March 31, 2020:

Have you ever wondered what the horse statue represented out front of the Museum? Today we want to talk about that immortalized horse, Barbaro. Barbaro will be remembered for his six, first-place finishes, including the 2006 Kentucky Derby which he dominated by 6 1/2 lengths. Two short weeks later, with whispers of Triple Crown possibilities at a full roar, he shattered his leg in the Preakness. The heroic struggle that followed created a swell of national attention and support for this racing champion. The memorial in front of the Museum celebrates Barbaro's courage in the face of a year-long struggle against his injury and resulting infections. Barbaro brought the passion for racing beyond the industry… igniting emotion in children and inspiring those who had never seen a race.


Barbaro Statue

Barbaro Memorial Statue

The bronze statue, created by Kentucky artist Alexa King, showcases Barbaro and jockey Edgar Prado in mid-flight between strides nearing the finish line in the 2006 Kentucky Derby. The statue is attached to a horizontal bronze rail that supports the 1,500-pound sculpture and creates an impression that Barbaro and his rider are suspended in air. It is the first time that an equine statue of this size and scope has been presented in this manner, with all four of the horse’s feet off the ground.

Barbaro’s ashes were interred beneath the memorial. The sculpture was dedicated on April 26, 2009.

Watch this 30 minute documentary about the creation of the Barbaro statue and the artist, Alexa King. Produced by Allison Pareis.


Educational Activities:

Today we bring you TWO educational activities, both in relation to the star of today, Barbaro!

Clay sculpture of horse head

Let's Make a Horse Head Sculpture!

Together let's make some homemade clay from common household ingredients and learn how to shape it into a horse head sculpture! We'll learn about design, balance, and engineering - techniques that Alexa King, artist of the Barbaro Memorial Statue, relied on when creating the statue. Share your own clay creations with us on social using #derbyeveryday!

Download Horse Sculpture Lesson >

Barbaro Coloring Sheet

Barbaro Coloring Sheet:

Color your own Barbaro! Share a photo of your colored sheet online with us at #derbyeveryday.

Download Barbaro Coloring Sheet >


Kid's artwork of Barbaro Statue

Art-Questrians: Summer Art Camp

At the end of July we are planning to host our Art-Questerians: Summer Art Camp. It will be a week of inspiration and education, as we learn, create and exhibit works from some of Louisville’s most creative and gifted artists – YOU!

Last year's camp attendees took part in a watercolor lesson in front of the Barbaro Statue.

Learn more >


Share your photos from out by the Barbaro Statue!


March 30, 2020:

1918 Derby Winner Exterminator

Best Kentucky Derby Moments:

1918: Exterminator

An example of a bygone era, 1918 Kentucky Derby winner Exterminator actively raced until the age of 9. During that time, he had a now unheard of 100 total starts. Due to his gangly appearance, many fans referred to him as “Old Bones.” In the 1945 book, Down the Stretch, Churchill Downs’ legendary Matt Winn stated, “Exterminator was the greatest all-round American thoroughbred I ever saw.”

Watch video footage from the 1918 Kentucky Derby >


Newspaper article of early fashion

Featured Blog:

Outlandish Designs and Dressing to the Nines: 146 Years of Derby Fashion
Part 1: Origins of the Derby Fashion Tradition

For those of you who thought fashion was just about the clothes we put on, think again. The history of fashion is the history of people: how we relate to each other, what our customs and values reveal about us, who we are.

Read blog >


Today's Derby Fashion

After reading the featured blog from today, compare some of the early fashion with what people are wearing today. What do you think Derby fashion will be like 50 years from now?

March 29, 2020:

Today is all about our horses and the Helen B. "Penny" Chenery Stable, named in honor of Helen B. "Penny" Chenery (January 27, 1922 – September 16, 2017), owner of Kentucky Derby winners Riva Ridge and Secretariat. The Museum's stable houses a permanent resident named Tatanka, a 5-year old, pinto-colored pony who serves as a companion to our Resident Thoroughbred. "Resident Thoroughbred" is a title we give to the visiting Thoroughbreds that stay in our stable for a few months at a time. The visiting Thoroughbreds often have ties to horseracing and share bloodlines with notable racehorses. Our current Resident Thoroughbred is Populist Politics, or "Poppy" for short. Due to the Museum being temporarily closed, we brought Poppy and Tatanka to Moserwood II Farm in Pleasureville, Kentucky. They are being well-taken care of and get to play with each other all day.

Populist Politics

Populist Politics

  • Bay Colt
  • Foaled: February 11, 2008
  • Bloodlines include: Mr. Prospector, Seattle Slew, Raise a Native, Northern Dancer and Secretariat
  • Career earnings: $653,396
  • Race record: 45 starts, 10 wins, 8 place, 8 show
  • Owner: Generously on loan from Robin Murphy, Poplar Creek Horse Center, Bethel, Ohio


  • Gelded Pinto-colored Pony
  • Foaled January 15, 2015
  • 39 inches tall and 380 lbs

As a companion pony, Tatanka provides support, friendship, and helps calm our Resident Thoroughbred

Tatanka & Poppy at the Farm

Tatanka may be small but he sure does love to play with Poppy, and Poppy is thankfully a sweetheart who doesn't mind. Tatanka, how did you get your hoofprint on Poppy's neck? Silly boys!

Horses in field


Oral History Collection Featured Clip:

Penny Chenery, owner of Derby winners Riva Ridge and Secretariat, discusses one of her favorite things about the racetrack.



We can't get over how adorable miss Lydia is coloring one of our coloring sheets at home! Today is extra special because it's her birthday! We wish you a happy birthday, Lydia!


Want to color the same sheet Lydia colored? Here it is!

Lydia and her artwork


March 28, 2020:

Happy Saturday everyone! After making it through another week of anxiety and uncertainty, we hope you can unwind and take it easy at home today. We've prepared a couple of activites that can keep you entertained during this time of quarantine.

Featured Video: Storytime with Ronnie

Ronnie reads I Rode the Red Horse: Secretariat's Belmont Race

Today we wanted to read to you about one of the all time greatest race horses, Secretariat, who won the Kentucky Derby in 1973. Ronnie Dreistadt, Manager of Education Services, reads I Rode the Red Horse: Secretariat's Belmont Race, written and illustrated by Barbara Libby and published by Blood-Horse Publications. Available on Amazon.

Before watching the video, review these pre-lesson vocabulary words:

  • Burnished - to polish
  • Glinting - to reflect small flashes of light
  • Sire - the male parent of an animal
  • Dam - the female parent of an animal
  • Roisterous - to revel noisily
  • Tele-Timer - An electronic device that measures time in a horse race

After watching the video, consider this writing prompt:

Throughout the story, Ron Turcotte, the jockey, described his special relationship with Secretariat. Write about how Turcotte respected and trusted his horse in the most important race of their careers.

Share your student's responses with us at #derbyeveryday


Reading List Blog

Recommended Reading:

Five Books to Prepare You for Derby Season

The Kentucky Derby may have been postponed due to the current health crisis, but the arrival of spring still will bring memories of Derby season for many race fans. In recognition of this, we want to share a list of five books to tide you over until September 5, 2020.

List of books and short bios >


Netflix Movie Recommendation:

War Horse (2011)

Directed by Steven Spielberg
PG-13 | 2h 26min | Action, Adventure, Drama

Young Albert enlists to serve in World War I after his beloved horse is sold to the cavalry. Albert's hopeful journey takes him out of England and to the front lines as the war rages on.

Educational Activity:

While watching the movie, fill out these viewing questions.


War Horse 2011 Movie Poster


March 27, 2020:

In honor of #WomensHistoryMonth, we are highlighting Donna Barton Brothers, the second-highest earning female rider in history!

Oral History Collection Featured Clip:

All three of trailblazing female jockey Patti Barton's children became jockeys. Although her son, Jerry, grew too tall to continue riding, and her daughter, Leah, chose to retire to start a family, her other daughter, Donna, has become one of the leading female jockeys in history, retiring as the second highest earner as a woman in the sport. Hear Donna Barton Brothers describe how growing up with her mother's example helped her win races.

Donna Barton Brothers

Featured Jockey: Donna Barton Brothers

"We were now in an era where jockeys were going to the gym and working out. In Mom’s era they didn’t. They got strong from farm work, from barn work, from getting on a lot of horses in the morning and riding as many races as they could. And so I would go to the gym and work out with a lot of the jockeys that I rode with, and they knew I was as strong as them because I could out-benchpress everybody at the gym that I lifted with besides Mike Smith. I could out-benchpress most of the other jockeys. And as far as legs go, they knew that I could kill them on legs, too, so none of the jockeys when I was riding could ever say that we weren’t as strong, cause they knew better.”
-Donna Barton Brothers

Learn more about our upcoming exhibit "Right to Ride" >


Fun Fact

Three fillies have won the Kentucky Derby: Regret (1915), Genuine Risk (1980) and Winning Colors (1988).


Diane Crump Coloring Sheet

Educational Activity:

Today we put together another coloring sheet, this time of Diane Crump! Diane was the first woman to ride in a professional horse race in the United States in 1969, and the first woman to ride in the Kentucky Derby in 1970. Share a photo of your colored sheet online with us at #derbyeveryday. Need inspiration? Look below at Cherish Lancaster's art!

Download Coloring Sheet


Check out this Horsing Around With Art piece of Diane Crump!

This artwork won the Employees' Choice Award, sponsored by Kentucky Derby Museum employees. The Employee's Choice Award is given to the artist whose work is “voted to be the overall favorite by the employees of the Kentucky Derby Museum.”

This year's winner was Cherish Lancaster, a sophomore at Christian Academy of Louisville

Diane Crump artwork


March 26, 2020:

Virtual Historic Walking Tour, P1:

This is part one of the virtual Historic Walking Tour of Churchill Downs®, led by our very own Barry Northern! Barry is a born and bred Louisvillian who has a genuine passion and decades of knowledge on the Kentucky Derby, so be sure to take one of his tours when the Museum opens back up. We're not the only ones who love Barry - just search "Barry" on our Trip Advisor reviews to see what our guests have said about him!

The Historic Walking Tour comes free with a general admission ticket to the Kentucky Derby Museum. It is a 30 minute, guided walking tour of historic Churchill Downs Racetrack. Learn about past Derby winners and the rich history of this location. Visitors walk through the property to the paddock and out to the grandstand learning trivia and fun facts along the way.

Learn more about this tour >


Horsing Around with Art Exhibit

Featured Exhibit:

Horsing Around With Art

To everyone who loves the Kentucky Derby, we hope this collection of children's Derby-inspired art brings you joy in a time when it's most needed. We hope to see you soon, but in the meantime, we want to see how you're celebrating #DerbyEveryDay. Tag us in photos of your derby-inspired art!

View winning art from the 2019 - 2020 competition >


Image of war tanks

Featured Blog:

The Kentucky Derby: An Enduring Tradition

Traditions provide an anchor for us in a constantly moving world. Since its inaugural running in 1875, the Kentucky Derby has served as such. This international sporting and cultural event brings people together at a specific place and time to share a unique experience with family and friends. As we move past a calamitous time, this tradition may become even more important, just as it did for those coming out of wartime in the 1940s. Read blog >


March 25, 2020:

Oral History Collection Featured Clip:

We've got another Oral History video for you on our Virtual Museum today! Watch D. Wayne Lukas, four-time winning trainer of the Kentucky Derby, tell us how he watched the 1988 Kentucky Derby from a janitor's closet!

D. Wayne Lukas Exhibit

Featured Exhibit:

D. Wayne Lukas: The Modern Trainer

D. Wayne Lukas: The Modern Trainer chronicles the life and career of one of the most significant trainers of the current era. The exhibit illustrates how this Wisconsin native combined a love of horses, a strong work ethic and an innovative mind to change and enhance modern Thoroughbred training.

Learn more about this exhibit! >

Notes from the Curator

"In April 2017, legendary trainer D. Wayne Lukas announced that the Kentucky Derby Museum would be the permanent home of the massive collection charting his still active career. That summer, the KDM team spent two weeks moving the over 1,300 piece collection to the Museum. It was both an exciting and intimidating task. However, I can honestly say that in my 20 plus years in the field, there have been few experiences that compare with having decades of history in front of you told through the lens of a single career. Finding a way to adequately share that story would be both an honor and a challenge."
-Chris Goodlett

Read the full note from Chris Goodlett about the process of translating Lukas's collection into a Museum exhibit >

Chris Goodlett


Horse Jockey Trophy coloring sheet

Educational Activity:

Today we put together another coloring sheet! While coloring, think of the following questions: If you owned a Derby horse, what would you name it? What color horse would you want? The Kentucky Derby trophy is made of gold. If you could design a trophy, what would you like it made out of? Share a photo of your colored sheet online with us at #derbyeveryday

Download Coloring Sheet


March 24, 2020:

Featured Video: Derby Academy Lesson 3

“Let’s Talk $$” (Economics)

Today we are traveling back in time to Lesson 3 (Economics) of our Derby Academy series, filmed in 2017. “Derby Academy” was designed for teachers to use to supplement curriculum in a variety of subjects for grades 4-8 and always tie to America’s longest, continuous, sporting event with curriculum you’re teaching in your classroom.

After watching the video, consider this writing prompt:

We know from this episode that the Kentucky Derby has about a half a billion economic impact on the regional economy in Kentucky. Think about your town. What events do you have where you live that attract people from other areas? Where do they spend money, and how does that money affect your community?

Share your student's responses with us at #derbyeveryday


The Greatest Race Movie in the Great Hall of the Museum

Featured Exhibit:

The Greatest Race

The Museum’s epic movie that puts you at the center of the Kentucky Derby experience has been edited to a 3 ½ minute video to give you a sneak peak.

Check out the exhibit! >


Photo from the Archive

Today we bring you a sweet moment between an unidentified horse and a handler from the 1940 Kentucky Derby. It's a good reminder to take care of each other and we'll get through this together.

Photo credit Churchill Downs Racetrack

Horse and Handler


Horse coloring sheet

Educational Activity:

We turned a photo of our Resident Thoroughbred into a coloring sheet, fun for all ages! Share a photo of your colored sheet online with us at #derbyeveryday

Download Coloring Sheet


March 23, 2020:

Featured Video: Derby Academy Lesson 1

Who Was Ansel Williamson? (Social Studies)

As a continuation of our featured video and fun fact from yesterday, we are traveling back in time to Lesson 1 of our Derby Academy series, filmed in 2017 for Black History Month. “Derby Academy” was designed for teachers to use to supplement curriculum in a variety of subjects for grades 4-8 and always tie to America’s longest, continuous, sporting event with curriculum you’re teaching in your classroom.

We hope that both teachers and parents can utilize our Derby Academy videos to engage their students/children at home.

After watching the video, consider this writing prompt:

Although Ansel Williamson trained the first Derby winner, why do you think that not much is known of his life? What are clues we have today that give us insight into Williamson’s life and character?

Share your student's responses with us at #derbyeveryday


Winning Colors Blanket of Roses

Featured Artifact:

1988 Garland of Roses won by Winning Colors

The Garland of Roses has become a coveted emblem of Kentucky Derby dreams. Made official by Churchill Downs in 1932, it has undergone many changes in its look. This 1988 garland won by Winning Colors, the most recent filly to win the Kentucky Derby, is one of the earliest examples of the garland being freeze-dried for preservation and made suitable for display in the home of the winning owner.

View on our online collection >


Ralph Steadman in front of his art

Featured Exhibit:

Ralph Steadman: The Art of Gonzo

Ralph Steadman: The Art of Gonzo commemorates the iconic artist’s historic 1970 visit to Churchill Downs to work with Kentucky journalist Hunter S. Thompson. In 2019, Churchill Downs invited Steadman to produce original work honoring his 1970 trip, which is a feature of this exhibition.

Learn more about this exhibit >

March 22, 2020:

Featured Video:

African Americans in Thoroughbred Racing

Learn about Oliver Lewis who won the first Kentucky Derby in 1875 on Aristides, along with two other significant African Americans in the horseracing industry (Jimmy Winkfield and Willie Simms).


Fun Fact:

Out of the 15 jockeys in that first Derby, 13 were ridden by black jockeys. Fifteen of the first 28 Derby winners were ridden by black jockeys.

Portrait of Oliver Lewis


At-Home Detective

Featured Blog:

What year was the Infield Tunnel built?

Here is what we are trying to validate: was the tunnel to the infield opened in 1939? While the photos in the Churchill Downs Racetrack photo collection appear to be dated correctly, a few times we’ve run across some discrepancies.

We challenge the at-home detective in you to help us figure out this mystery! Read blog to learn more >


March 21, 2020:

Featured Video:

Chief Artisans of the Kentucky Derby trophy

The Kentucky Derby Museum is incredibly excited to have an interview with Bill Juaire and Susanne Blackinton-Juaire. They create the coveted Kentucky Derby trophy every year. Watch as they tell their favorite stories about that famous trophy.


Photo of Eddie Arcaro Saddle

Featured Artifact:

Eddie Arcaro Saddle

This is the saddle used by Hall of Fame jockey Eddie Arcaro aboard Citation in the 1948 Kentucky Derby. Trained by the father/son team of Ben and Jimmy Jones and owned by the legendary Calumet Farm, Citation would go on to win the Preakness and Belmont Stakes on his way to sweeping the Triple Crown.

View on our online collection.


Fun Fact:

The trophy is made of 14 karat gold and it sits atop a jade base. It was introduced at the 1924 Kentucky Derby.

Trophy presentation of the 1924 Kentucky Derby


Derby Vocab Word Search

Educational Activity:

Learn some Derby vocabulary from home! Download our Derby Word Search, then learn about what each of those terms mean and how they are connected to horseracing. Share a photo of your completed word search sheet online with #derbyeveryday

Download Derby Vocabulary Word Search (includes definitions!)


March 20, 2020:

Oral History Collection Featured Video:

In honor of #WomensHistoryMonth we are featuring a clip from our interview with Diane Crump, the first female jockey to ride in a pari-mutuel race in the United States. Listen to Diane Crump herself talk about how she literally fought her way down the racetrack.

Learn more about our upcoming exhibit "Right to Ride" featuring female pioneers in the horseracing industry >

Tatanka & Poppy at the Farm:

Our Resident Thoroughbred (Populist Politics, aka "Poppy" for short) and companion pony (Tatanka) have been brought to Moserwood II Farm in Pleasureville, Kentucky, during the time the Museum is temporarily closed. They are being well-taken care of and get to play with each other all day. We plan on sharing more photos and videos of our beloved stablemates as we keep up with their shenanigans at the farm!

Populist Politics and Tatanka Tatanka playing with basketball

Featured Artifact:

Kentucky Derby Dice Game
Proof of the cultural significance of the Kentucky Derby can be seen in the many games produced over the years. This early 20th century Kentucky Derby Dice Game serves as only one example of the race’s enduring popularity.
This vintage item is a mechanical dice game. Along the top are pictures of horses numbered 2-12 with odds for each horse. In the center is a compartment that holds two dice that spin when the handle on the front is pulled. Along the top of the game are the words "Kentucky Derby/ patended and copyrighted". The bottom of the game is wood.

See more photos of this object by viewing our online collection

Kentucky Derby Dice Board Game


March 19, 2020:

Featured Blog: The Year There Almost Wasn't a Kentucky Derby

This will be the first time the Derby hasn’t run on the first Saturday in May since the end of World War II. Have you heard about the year there almost wasn’t a Kentucky Derby at all? Read our blog post about the 1945 Kentucky Derby >