Jennie Rees enjoys "day off" on Kentucky Derby backside

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TwinSpires Staff

May 7th, 2016


Now this feels weird, but in a good way: like a combination of being on vacation and playing hooky.

After 34 years of writing for The Courier-Journal, including 32 covering horse racing, this will be the first Kentucky Derby pretty much of my entire adult life that I have not been working, or at least not working in a concentrated fashion.

By choice, I wanted just one Derby off. Just the afternoon off after working for WAVE-3 5-8 this morning. I want to spend the day on the backside, enjoying the barbecues, cookouts and, in the case of my husband’s barn, crawfish boil. 

Instead, the assignment I have accepted is blogging about the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the Churchill Downs backside on Derby Day.

Hard to believe they’re already calling Race 4 over to the paddock. It’s only 11:27.

What I don’t know - what will be a game-time decision, as they say — will be whether I can or can’t resist the lure of walking over with the Kentucky Derby field and watching the race from the frontside.

Meanwhile, while you’re watching the races, betting on, take a minute to check out #KyDerbyKids on Twitter @KyHBPA, the Twitter handle of the Kentucky division of the Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association. That’s where the kids of the Derby trainers - and also jockey Gary Stevens’ daughter Maddie - are tweeting out their experiences. 

These are really bright teens and young adults. With super-passionate racing fans such as Bailey Romans, Chance Moquett, Ashley and Hayley Amoss, Keith Asmussen and Erin McLaughlin, the sport has a bright future. 

Meanwhile, my friends went on a walk around the backside and reported hearing about a woman dressed in all feathers. I’m on the hunt!