*Editors Note: This post is way late since The Preakness was ran last weekend.
Growing up, I never did get into or understand horse racing very well. I remember going to my 8th Grade May Dance, in my pearly white John Travolta tuxedo, listening on the radio as Swale won the Kentucky Derby. Later on in life, I started going to Keeneland, treating it more as a cultural event rather than a love of horse racing. Still to this day, there are certain math-minded people in my family, including my wife, who make fun of me because I can’t figure out the betting system. Back to the culture of horse racing…. when I left Eastern in 2004 and ventured out on my own as Tim Webb Photography, I covered my first Derby at Keeneland and its 25, 000 fans, watching Smarty Jones cruise to victory for the Lexington Herald-Leader. The next year, I covered the first turn at Churchill Downs for the Louisville Courier-Journal. I’ve been there ever since then, from Giacomo in 2005 to Animal Kingdom this year. My greatest moment on the first turn of the Derby came in 2008, when Big Brown came within inches of my camera lens after winning the Derby.
Regardless if you understand horse racing or know how to bet on it, The Kentucky Derby and the sport of racing is a big part of our culture in Kentucky. The Kentucky Derby should be to Kentuckians like Cinco De Mayo is to Mexico, or like Saint Patrick’s Day is to the Irish. It’s not only about the horses, the race, and the culture, such as mint juleps, big hats, sear sucker suits, and the beginning of Spring, it’s about our culture and heritage as Kentuckians. Its our time to shine, when the world is watching us. Celebrities from Jessica Simpson to Queen Elizabeth come to Kentucky to experience our culture. We should too.
The following photos are from the Kentucky Oaks on Friday and the Kentucky Derby on Saturday. Enjoy the Kentucky culture!!!!
The view from the Spires
A buffet in the Jockey Club Suites
Relaxing in my room on Friday night with Jethro and the gang from NCIS
One of my mentor’s Robb Carr, aka Bobby Lee, with Getty Images in Baltimore, the 1992 author of “Shoot ‘em up Webbie!!!”
Bill Frakes of Sports Illustrated, adjusting one of his many remote cameras.
And where is Animal Kingdom at this point?