Yesterday, what is dubbed as the “Fastest two minutes in sports” took place. The 140th Kentucky Derby, held in Louisville, is one amazing event – something everyone should have on his or her bucket list. This is especially true if it is done in style, as in going along with the Official Watch and Timekeeper of the Kentucky Derby – which is Longines. From the beginning of the festivities (which start with the Taste of Derby, that we wrote about here) to the final most important 2 minutes of racing, the Kentucky Derby weekend is filled with horses, celebrities, glamour and excitement.
By today, the news is long out that California Chrome won the Derby (yes, I bet my $2 on him and won a whopping $6), and that a true long shot came in as one of the top three. What is interesting is being part of the fanfare, the glory and the losses. We had the unique opportunity to go into the paddocks, to watch the horses being readied for the races, and to walk the famed tunnel that leads from the paddocks to the track. Sort of surreal, the experience was awesome and even if you are not a horse lover you quickly open your heart to these beautiful and amazing animals. You sense the urgency of the moment and feel the electricity of the jockeys and the owners as they also prepare. Each race is a stepping stone and so every race is important.
Later in the day, we had a couple of other grand opportunities: we were invited to the Winner’s Circle party at the Kentucky Derby Museum – where the very gracious owners of California Chrome, along with the trainer and the jockey, accepted their trophies and were presented with Longines Conquest (how fitting) watches.
Following this grand party, we walked the Churchill Downs complex at dusk. It was the end of the day and the Downs was now emptied and deserted except for the trash that lay scattered about on the ground and the memories and emotions of the day that lingered in the air.
I walked silently, taking it all in, appreciating the magnitude of the fact that this was not just a horse race, this was a lifetime of dreams, desires, disappointment and more for owners, trainers, jockeys and horses. This was an institution that has become legend.
This 140th running of the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks races is the first in what is referred to as the Triple Crown of thoroughbred racing. Next we move on to Baltimore, MD, for the Preakness Stakes and then to New York for the Belmont Stakes– all of which witness Longines as the official Timekeeper.
At the Kentucky Derby (where Longines was also the Entitlement Partner of the Longines Kentucky Oaks 140 that is the races and festivities that take place the day before the Derby), Longines had a strong presence throughout the racetrack and Churchill Downs’ events with tall free-standing clocks throughout the Churchill Downs facilities, a digital Longines Kentucky Derby Countdown Clock on Churchill Downs’ track and more. The same will hold true at the two upcoming races. Please enjoy the additonal images below from the Kentucky Derby day.