Churchill Downs!

In an effort to finish our study of Secretariat, I thought a nice wrap up would be to come to Churchill Downs.  The Kentucky Derby Museum was worth the trip!  You get to go right down on the race track!  The tour was great, and the museum was very informative.  Kids can answer all the questions on the brochure can get a free book!  Malena was the only one of mine to complete it! 

Outside, was a huge statue of Barbaro.  The museum did not disappoint, they even had the dress that Penny wore in 1973!  (below) A huge assortment of hats took up two walls, including the hat Queen Elizabeth wore to the Derby in the early 2000’s.  The kids enjoyed being mock jockeys aboard actual sized race horses!

The tour included a look at the original Churchill Downs, and the original wager window—still used on the day of the Derby.  The track was sand, perfectly manicured.  Some interesting facts, included that the spires were the original ‘highest point’ and when they built the other two side buildings they were going to raise the spires—the historical society disagreed.  Also, below you see the ‘winners circle’ located in the center of the track.  Churchill Downs is the only track to have the winners circle located there.

Another fun fact we learned is that horses who compete in the KY Derby have their lips tattooed.  This became necessary when owners would put an imposter in place of another horse.  They would even go as far as to paint the super fast horse to look like the imposter.  That made the odds of winning greater—only it was the slow imposter who timed—not the super fast thoroughbred!  Perfect Drift was the resident horse, below you can see his tattoo.  He was frisky, so we learned he was a gelding (fixed) bc he could not concentrate on running—Secretariat was a stallion. 

Perfect Drift liked the attention of being brushed, so he would roll in the dirt immediately after being brushed.  The garden outside contained the remains of several horses, including Eight Belles, who finished second in the 134th KY Derby and shortly after collapsed. 

The girls liked dressing up like jockey’s.  We learned the jockey’s must weigh exactly 126 lbs.  They have saddles that even can carry lead weights to up their weight.  Sometimes, if they are close to weight, they can’t even have a Gatorade because it can cause them to gain ‘too much’ weight.  Below is the actual trophy that you win in the Derby.