May 2, 2020 dawned bright and clear. The first Saturday in May has boasted the Kentucky Derby continuously since 1875. But not this year.
The Run for the Roses has been postponed until Saturday, September 5, 2020, one of two times the Kentucky Derby has been reschedule in the history of this horse racing tradition. The reason the Derby has been pushed back to the end of summer is, as you know, due to Covid 19.
Today was nearly perfect weather for a day at The Downs. The sky is a vivid blue, with a wispy white cloud appearing every now and then. The sun shining brightly with not a chance for rain. It’s a little windy, which would have affected those sometimes-over-the-top Derby hats, but record crowds would have attended this year, if not for the virus. The paddocks would have been bursting at the seams and the infield- a shoulder to shoulder sea of people.
How do I know this? Well, I was born and raised and continue to reside in Louisville, Kentucky. But here’s the thing, I’ve never attended the Derby. I used to go to the tracks with my best friend and her dad when I was a kid, but never the Kentucky Derby.
I actually have a love-hate relationship with this leg of the Triple Crown and all the activities leading up to the first Saturday in May. I have been to several annual events that precede the Derby. The Great Steamboat Race, the Pegasus Parade, the air show, and the biggest fireworks display in North America-Thunder Over Louisville- but never the race itself.
Over the years, I have attended Derby parties, which is a thing in Louisville, but more often than not, you can usually find me at home, working in the yard, or occasionally checking in on the festivities via whatever channel is covering the day at the races.
And usually at some point during the day, I feel a wave of loneliness and a sense of missing out. I get that I can always make plans to go if I wanted, but so far, I guess I haven’t wanted enough to do so. This year, not once have I had that old familiar feeling tugging on the inside. Nothing to miss out on.
Going to the Kentucky Derby is on my bucket list. It’s an easy scratch off, I know. Maybe I will attend one year, and squelch those feelings that come around the first Saturday in May.
But not this year.