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This is a special week to be a Kentuckian. If we didn't get enough attention for our college basketball teams during the recent NCAA tournament, now comes an even bigger stage, another way to shine the spotlight on the Bluegrass State.
The 140th running of The Kentucky Derby will take place on Saturday, and even for those who may not be a fan of horse racing, this is a time when we take pride in our Kentucky as it hosts one of the biggest sporting events in the world. Not many other events have such clout and attract such audiences as the Derby. Celebrities from the world of TV, movies and sport attend, as well as those with political power, and even royalty; Queen Elizabeth attended the 133rd Run for the Roses in 2007. As for TV viewers, more than 16 million tuned in to watch the fastest two minutes in sports last year, and more than 165,000 fans turned out at Churchill Downs to watch in person, which was a new record crowd for the Derby.
No doubt, even the most amateur handicapper will make a pick before the horses leave the gate Saturday evening, and many will even make the trip to Louisville's Churchill Downs or Keeneland in Lexington to place a wager on the race. Even with limited knowledge, many fans will pick with their hearts, or perhaps their favorite colors by looking at the jockeys' silks, while others will simply go with a catchy name, like Uncle Sigh, a horse whose name is obviously derived from the Duck Dynasty popularity; or General A Rod, which brings to mind baseball player Alex "A-Rod" Rodriguez.
No matter which horse you choose, you can't go wrong with the fun of watching the pageantry, as the horses are led to the starting gate. As they make their way to the start, My Old Kentucky Home will be performed, and almost everyone there, especially us Kentuckians, will feel cold chills as we hear it.
Saturday is a big day for Kentuckians, and regardless of how you enjoy it, be sure to take a few minutes out of your schedule and enjoy a Kentucky event that is celebrated by people around the world. With the Kentucky Derby, everyone can be a winner.