Last sparing I packed my pen and ink and traveled to Louisville for the Kentucky Derby. I've put my impressions of the race and the rites that go with it into a series of sketches, including this one of the start. When the horses broke from the gate I was only 10 feet away and I could feel the incredible power being released. It was more startling than a lift-off of the space shuttle.
Preston and Anita Madden
The guests at Hamburg Place came dressed as witches, heros, devils-and themselves.
Walpurgisnacht, a sort of spring Halloween, was the theme of the maddens' party.
May 1, 1983
The Lexington Ballet school danced at the Perlman estate.
Robyn Perlman and guest Dennis Cole.
Even Phyllis Diller was there.
The days before the Derby are filled with all kinds of parties and the Pegasus Parade. Anita Madden's costume party, held at her family's 2'000-acre Hamburg Place estate, is famous and elegant, while Robyn Perlman's extravagant afternoon Lawn party is set amid the precisely fenced and groomed fields of the Bluegrass country. Though it rained on the Parade, it was still fun.
Kristi Martin of shelbyville, Ky. rode Pegasus.
Yes, that's Phyllis George, Gov. John Y. and Lincoln Brown.
It even rained on Boss Hogg from' The Dukes of Hazzard.'
Roberta Flack and mean Joe Greene waved to the crowd.
The local Triple A club was on the road, so the guys in the front office downed uniforms.
El Baba, the second choice in the Derby, jets an early washdown from groom karen Zimmer.
Cassalaria, the one-eyed horse.
This backstretch dog was very patient with his master's sense of humor.
Immaculately prepared boots glisten, the work of valet Harold morgan, who's shining up a saddle.
It's lawn on Derby Day. The sun is just beginning to shine on the spires of Churchill Downs as horses circle the track , looking like steam engines as they rhythymically exhale into the cool air. The pressure is mounting; along the backstretch there's very little talking. In the jocks room the racing silks are clean and ready for the day ahead.
A very inspiring hat
Only two more minutes to pick a Derby winner.
Did you know that until 1918 it was frowned on for a woman to place her own bets at Churchill Downs?
On Derby Day it's warm and sunny and the crowd is in constant motion: finding seats, meeting friends, placing bets.
For $5 you can park your cat on someone's front Lawn.
These two tickets on the Derby winner are worth $2,220.
At that price no wonder they let you keep the glass.
No one's lonely in the infield. you don't see much racing there-which is a shame because the 1982 Derby was a dilly of an upset-but everyone has a good time. The morning after can be a little tough, though.
The grandstand crowd roars as the horses turn for home. El Baba's jockey wields his whip as tries to break clear, but moving up on the outside, just entering the picture, is Gato del sol, on his was to winning the 108th Kentucky Derby.