We Salute You

To those in uniform serving today and to those who have served in the past, we honor you today and every day.

With Memorial Day coming on Monday, I get all fired up. For me, there’s nothing quite like a parade. Colors, sounds, crowds, floats, marching, music, and sometimes candy for the kids. Growing up, I loved going to the parade with Mom and Dad and my brothers and sisters. – We’d ride our bikes and set up on “a good spot” so we could see everything up close. I can remember my siblings marching in place when the bands came, and how solemn my Dad would get when the servicemen would march by. And there was that special moment when I’d “salute” them, putting my hand to my head, just like the adults did. Now, later in life, this means so much more to me. Words come to mind, like sacrifice, commitment, camaraderie, valor, and honor – all words we hold dear, and most often apply to the military and the protections from fire and police.

So, in our KHT way – WE SALUTE YOU! For all you do, and for all you’ve done.

For my trivia buffs, a little extra info on the salute from our friends at Wikipedia – so the next time you use one, you’ll know just how meaningful and important it is. Enjoy.

  1. In military traditions of various times and places, there have been numerous methods of performing salutes, using hand gestures, cannon or rifle shots, hoisting of flags, removal of headgear, or other means of showing respect or deference.
  2. In the Commonwealth of Nations, only commissioned officers are saluted, and the salute is to the commission they carry from their respective commanders-in-chief representing the Monarch, not the officers themselves.
  3. In the United States Navy, United States Marine Corps, United States Coast Guard, United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, and other armed forces around the world, hand salutes are only given when a cover (protection for the head, usually a hat) is worn.
  4. The United States Army and United States Air Force give salutes both covered and uncovered, but saluting indoors is forbidden except when formally reporting to a superior officer or during an indoor ceremony. It should be noted that when outdoors, a cover is to be worn at all times when wearing Battle Dress Uniforms/Army Combat Uniforms, but is not required when wearing physical training gear.
  5. Some soldiers may salute with the left hand when the right hand is encumbered in some way (though it is rare).
  6. In the United States, civilians may salute the U.S. flag by placing their right hand over their heart or by standing at attention during the playing of the national anthem or while reciting the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance, or when the flag is passing by, as in a parade. Men and boys remove their hats and other headgear during the salute; religious headdress (and military headdress worn by veterans in uniform, who are otherwise civilians) are exempt.
  7. According to some modern military manuals, the modern Western salute originated in France when knights greeted each other to show friendly intentions by raising their visors to show their faces, using a salute. Others also note that the raising of one’s visor was a way to identify oneself saying “This is who I am, and I am not afraid.” Medieval visors were, to this end, equipped with a protruding spike that allowed the visor to be raised using a saluting motion.
  8. The US Army Quartermaster School provides another explanation of the origin of the hand salute: that it was a long-established military custom for subordinates to remove their headgear in the presence of superiors. As late as the American Revolution, a British Army soldier saluted by removing his hat. With the advent of increasingly cumbersome headgear in the 18th and 19th centuries, however, the act of removing one’s hat was gradually converted into the simpler gesture of grasping or touching the visor and issuing a courteous salutation.
  9. As early as 1745, a British order book stated that: “The men are ordered not to pull off their hats when they pass an officer, or to speak to them, but only to clap up their hands to their hats and bow as they pass.” Over time, it became conventionalized into something resembling our modern hand salute.
  10. The naval salute, with the palm downwards is said to have evolved because the palms of naval ratings, particularly deckhands, were often dirty through working with lines and was deemed insulting to present a dirty palm to an officer; thus the palm was turned downwards.
  11. When carrying a sword (beautifully heat treated of course), European military forces and their cultural descendants use a two-step gesture. The sword is first raised, in the right hand, to the level of and close to the front of the neck. The blade is inclined forward and up 30 degrees from the vertical; the true edge is to the left. Then the sword is slashed downward to a position with the point close to the ground in front of the right foot. The blade is inclined down and forward with the true edge to the left. This gesture originated in the Crusades. The hilt of a sword formed a cross with the blade, so if a crucifix was not available, a Crusader could kiss the hilt of his sword when praying, before entering battle, for oaths and vows, and so on. The lowering of the point to the ground is a traditional act of submission.
  12. When armed with a rifle, two methods are available when saluting. The usual method is called “present arms”; the rifle is brought to the vertical, muzzle up, in front of center of the chest with the trigger away from the body. Less formal salutes include the “order arms salute” and the “shoulder arms salutes.” These are most often given by a sentry to a low-ranking superior who does not rate the full “present arms” salute.
  13. A different type of salute with a rifle is a ritual firing performed during military funerals, known as a three-volley salute. In this ceremonial act, an odd number of rifleman fire three blank cartridges in unison into the air over the casket. This originates from an old European tradition wherein a battle was halted to remove the dead and wounded, then three shots were fired to signal readiness to reengage.
  14. The custom of firing cannon salutes originated in the Royal Navy. When a cannon was fired, it partially disarmed the ship, so needlessly firing a cannon showed respect and trust. As a matter of courtesy a warship would fire her guns harmlessly out to sea, to show that she had no hostile intent. At first, ships were required to fire seven guns, and forts, with their more numerous guns and a larger supply of gunpowder, to fire 21 times. Later, as the quality of gunpowder improved, the British increased the number of shots required from ships to match the forts.
  15. The system of odd numbered rounds originated from Samuel Pepys, Secretary to the Navy in the Restoration, as a way of economizing on the use of powder, the rule until that time having been that all guns had to be fired. Odd numbers were chosen, as even numbers indicated a death.
  16. As naval customs evolved, the 21-gun salute came to be reserved for heads of state, with fewer rounds used to salute lower-ranking officials. Today, heads of government, cabinet ministers, and military officers with five-star rank receive 19 rounds; four-stars receive 17 rounds; three-stars receive 15; two-stars receive 13; and a one-star general or admiral receives 11. These same standards are currently adhered to by ground-based saluting batteries.
  17. A specialty platoon of the 3rd US Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), the Presidential Salute Battery is based at Fort Myer, Virginia. The Guns Platoon (as it is known for short) has the task of rendering military honors in the National Capital Region..
  18. A ceremonial or celebratory form of aerial salute is the flypast (known as a “flyover” in the United States. Primarily displayed during funerals, they began with simple flypasts during World War I and have evolved into the missing man formation, where either a formation of aircraft is conspicuously missing an element, or where a single plane abruptly leaves a formation. A casual salute by an aircraft, somewhat akin to waving to a friend, is the custom of “waggling” the wings by partially rolling the aircraft first to one side, and then the other.
  19. Historically, when men normally wore hats out of doors, male greetings to people they knew, and sometimes those they did not, involved touching, raising slightly (“tipping”), or removing their hat in a variety of gestures. This basic gesture remained normal in very many situations from the Middle Ages until men typically ceased wearing hats in the mid-20th century.
  20. Hat-raising began with an element of recognition of superiority, where only the socially inferior party might perform it, but gradually lost this element; King Louis XIV of France made a point of at least touching his hat to all women he encountered. When a man was not wearing a hat he might touch his hair to the side of the front of his head to replicate a hat tipping gesture. This was typically performed by lower class men to social superiors, such as peasants to the land-owner, and is known as “tugging the forelock”.
  21. In Europe, the formal style of upper-class greeting used by a man to a woman in the Early Modern Period was to hold the woman’s presented hand (usually the right) with his right hand and kiss it while bowing, This style has not been widespread for a century or more. In cases of a low degree of intimacy, the hand is held but not kissed. The ultra-formal style, with the man’s right knee on the floor, is now only used in marriage proposals, as a romantic gesture.




Should I Stay or Should I Go?

(row one left) The 1918 patent drawing for Cleveland engineer James Hoge’s traffic signal he invented in 1914 that said “stop” and “move.” (row one center) America’s first electric traffic light made its debut at the intersection of E. 105th and Euclid in Cleveland, Ohio on August 5th, 1914. (row one right) In 1923, another Clevelander, Garrett Morgan patented the electric automatic traffic signal which he later sold to General Electric for a whopping $4,000. For perspective, a new Ford in 1920 cost $265 and a loaf of bread cost nine cents. (row two) 1920, at W. 25th Street & the entrance to the Detroit Superior Bridge. Yea, a traffic light there would be a good idea. (row three left) The traffic light might become useless old technology if all the vehicles on the road are self-driving. Here’s VW’s concept of a self-driving car. (row three right) The Smart Car’s autonomous EV just has seats. No steering wheel, accelerator or brakes. (row four left) Jaguar’s self-driving car concept. (row four right) Apple’s self-driving car concept. Kind of looks like their computer mouse. (row five) And by 2030 I’ll have a fleet of these Mercedes self-driving trucks to deliver your PIA (Pain In The @%$) Jobs! Oh, yeah.

The other day I was out for one of my leisurely morning runs, zipping around downtown while most of you were getting ready to be stuck in your cars waiting in traffic (yep, I’m an early bird).  What a difference running at this time of year – while still a bit chilly from the breeze off the lake, I really enjoy the spring sights and smells – flowers in bloom, bright green grass and tiny leaves beginning to pop, and just the positive vibe one gets now that spring has peaked above the horizon here on the north coast.  Heading back to the plant, I came across an intersection, and had to make a “runners” (and walkers) decision – do I push the button (do that silly jog in place thing while looking at my imaginary running time) and wait for the light or try and make it across the street… now at 5 AM you know which course of action I took! It got me to thinking about traffic lights, and how someone solved a PIA (Pain In the @%$) Job back in their day (and still do today).  I did some digging, and found two of our favorite Cleveland engineers, James Hoge, who is credited with testing, patenting and rolling out the first traffic light, some 100 years ago this year and Garret Morgan, who is credited with the three light approach we still use today.  Special thanks to Wikipedia, Washington Post, CityLab, Smithsonian and US Patent office for info and images.  Enjoy, and as Mom always says, “remember to always look both ways before crossing.”

  • Arriving home from a dinner party in 1913, the oil magnate George Harbaugh turned on to Cleveland’s Euclid Avenue, one of Cleveland’s busiest streets, jam packed with automobiles, horse-drawn carriages, bicyclists, trolleys and pedestrians, all believing THEY had the right of way.  Harbaugh didn’t see the streetcar until it smashed into his roadster.
  • In the same year, over 4,000 people were killed in automobile accidents, as Henry Ford, supported by many parts suppliers in the “rustbelt” region, started rolling Model T’s off the assembly line.  The nation’s roads were originally designed to manage people, horses, and trolleys – but not fast-moving cars.
  • A Cleveland engineer named James Hoge had a solution.  Borrowing the red and green signal lights used by railroads and tapping into the electricity used by the streetcar trolley lines, Hoge created the first “municipal traffic control system” – a precursor to the ubiquitous stoplight we still use today.
  • Receiving credit for the “first electric traffic signal” Hoge’s system was based on his design (installed in Cleveland on the corner of Euclid and 105th Street in 1914 and patented 100 years ago in 1918). The traffic signal used the alternating illuminated words “stop” and “move” installed on a single post on each of the four corners of an intersection. The system was wired such that police and fire departments could adjust the rhythm of the lights in case of an emergency.  Said the City’s Public Safety Director at the time, “The public is pleased with the operation, as it makes for greater safety, speeds up traffic, and largely controls pedestrians in their movement across the streets”.
  • The history of managing “crossings” is quite interesting.  In 1860, a British railway manager, John Peake Knight, suggested adapting a railroad method for controlling traffic. Railroads used a semaphore system (still used today) with small arms extending from a pole to indicate whether a train could pass or not. In Knight’s adaptation, semaphores would signal “stop” and “go” during the day, and at night red and green lights would be used. Gas lamps would illuminate the sign at night. A police officer would be stationed next to the signals to operate them.
  • The world’s first traffic “signal” was installed on Dec. 9, 1868, at the intersection of Bridge Street and Great George Street in the London borough of Westminster, near the Houses of Parliament and the Westminster Bridge, according to the BBC. It was a success and Knight predicted more would be installed.  Only one month later, a police officer controlling the signal was badly injured when a leak in a gas main caused one of the lights to explode in his face. (the project was declared a public health hazard and immediately dropped).
  • The first electric traffic light using red and green lights is credited to Lester Farnsworth Wire, a police officer in Salt Lake City, Utah. Wire’s traffic signal resembled a four-sided bird-house mounted on a tall pole. It was placed in the middle of an intersection and was powered by overhead trolley wires. A police officer had to manually switch the direction of the lights.
  • In 1920, William Potts, a Detroit police officer, developed several automatic traffic light systems, including the first three-color signal, which added a yellow “caution” light.
  • In 1923, another Clevelander, Garrett Morgan patented an electric automatic traffic signal. Morgan was the first African-American to own a car in Cleveland (he also invented the gas mask). Morgan’s design used a T-shaped pole unit with three positions. Besides “Stop” and “Go,” the system also first stopped traffic in all directions to give drivers time to stop or get through the intersection. A benefit of Morgan’s design was that it could be produced inexpensively, thus increasing the number of signals that could be installed. (Morgan later sold the rights to his traffic signal to General Electric for $40,000).
  • Pedestrian signals began to be included on traffic signals in the 1930s, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. A “Walk/Don’t Walk” signal was first tested in New York in 1934. Its design used an upright palm to indicate “Stop.”
  • In 1919, a Cleveland teacher, focused on teaching the “new rules of the road”, invented a game to teach children how to recognize traffic signals, and today, kids still play the game on their front lawn … (remember playing “red light, green light”??).  Red, yellow and green imagery is still used on flashcards, lunch room monitoring lights, and even the soccer pitch – (ever get a “yellow or red” card?).
  • Interestingly, during 1920s, there was fierce competition over the legitimate use of streets. Irritated drivers, convinced of the supremacy of the automobile’s claim to the streets, coined an epithet: “jay walker.” A jay at the time was an unsophisticated person; “jay,” the Oxford English Dictionary suggests, was a common insult in American slang.  To jaywalk was to cross the street in an unsafe way, the way a country dweller unfamiliar with city traffic might. The term was also controversial. The New York Times called the term “jaywalker” shameful and “highly shocking.” It rang of a pejorative class term, one used by wealthier drivers to refer to the carless.
  • In spite of initial reluctance to use the term, it stuck, particularly due to advertised anti-jaywalking shame campaigns and the interests of the auto industry. In an April 1920 social campaign in San Francisco, pedestrians were taken off the streets — to the amusement of the onlookers — and lectured in mock courtrooms on the perils of jaywalking. Behind the scenes, the shame tactics were backed by auto interests, like Ford. The Packard Motor Car Co., for instance, entered what would become a prize-winning float in a 1922 Detroit safety parade; the float was a mock tombstone, with an epitaph that read “Erected to the Memory of Mr. J. Walker: He Stepped from the Curb Without Looking.”  People were shamed into crossing at the intersection … fast-forward today – authorities in Shenzhen, China, have set up artificial intelligence-powered CCTV cameras to scan the faces of those who jaywalk at major intersections and display their identities on large public LED screens for all to see.  If that isn’t punishment enough, plans are now in place to link the current system with cellular technology, so offenders will also be sent a text message with a dollar fine as soon as they are caught crossing the road against traffic lights.)
  • John S. Allen, an American inventor, filed one of the earliest patents in 1947 for a dedicated pedestrian traffic signal. Allen’s design had the pedestrian signal mounted at curb level. Allen also proposed that the signals could contain advertisements. In his application, he explained that the words “Stop” and “Go” could be followed by the word “for,” which in turn would be followed by a brand name (gotta love advertising thinkers!)
  • With self-driving cars becoming more of a reality, many improvements to traffic signals (there are about 2 million in use in the US today) are considering the new and upcoming technologies. Researchers at the MIT Senseable City Lab published a scenario where traffic signals are essentially nonexistent. In this potential future, all autonomous cars are in communication with each other in what is known as a “slot-based” intersection in which cars, instead of stopping, automatically adjust their speed to pass through the intersection while maintaining safe distances for other vehicles. This system is flexible and can also be designed to take pedestrians and bicyclists into account. This certainly reminds me of those Blade Runner films!
  • Another innovation called Surtrac out of Pittsburg is from a company called Rapid Flow Technologies. In pilot tests underway since 2012, the traffic signals use artificial intelligence to adapt to changing traffic conditions. The company says travel times have been reduced by more than 25 percent and wait times at red lights down an average of about 40 percent decreasing emissions. The system takes into account second-by-second real-time conditions and is scalable to larger areas since each intersection makes its own decisions instead of a single, central system.
  • Drivers traveling the Alameda corridor in Albuquerque, NM are finding their commute time reduced on average 5 to 6 minutes shorter in each direction thanks to the completion of the second phase of the Alameda Boulevard Adaptive Signal Project. Using cameras and “a bit of artificial intelligence,” the cameras monitor the traffic and read real-time traffic patterns, and then adjust the traffic lights accordingly. The goal is to keep traffic moving so motorists spend less time sitting at red lights and more time driving through the green lights.
  • Auto makers and regulators believe self-driving vehicles have the potential to be so transformative, once driverless cars are on the roads in large numbers, experts believe there will be no need at all for traffic lights, as cars will communicate with one another and intuitively know what’s a safe speed to travel based on traffic and road conditions. Human errors such as failing to stop at a stop sign or mistakenly driving through a red light will become nonissues. According to Brandon Schoettle, a researcher at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute who studies autonomous driving, “Self-driving vehicles are constantly monitoring the roads, and they’re never confused, or distracted.  There are, of course, a huge number of unknowns,” says Schoettle, who predicts it could be a decade before self-driving vehicles are available for sale and an additional 20 to 30 years before most drivers own them.
  • It remains to be seen whether the safety benefits will pan out as expected and when they will begin. Researchers say it depends on how quickly driverless technology evolves, how long it takes the public to embrace self-driving cars and what happens in when we actually take away the crossing systems, especially when autonomous cars and those driven by humans are sharing the roads. We certainly can’t forget about the bikes or Jaywalkers!  Finally, I still want to be able to drive my car!

We’ll be back Monday inventing new ways to deliver all of your PIA (Pain In the @%$) Jobs™

And They’re Off

(row one) And they’re off! (row two) Have some traditional Kentucky Derby Food: Burgoo stew! Have a traditional Kentucky Derby Drink: The Mint Julep! (row three) Kentucky Derby founder Col. Meriwether Lewis Clark, Jr., (grandson of William Clark of the Lewis and Clark expedition) and the original look of Churchill Downs. (I wonder if Winston Churchill ever attended a race there) (row four) The first woman jockey. Read further to see her name. What a Churchill Downs bet slip looks like. (row five) Another Kentucky Derby tradition is the hat. Hundreds of big lavish hats will be topping off hundreds of women’s heads on Derby Day. A fun day for everybody! (row six) What last year’s general admission tickets looked like.

A fun sign for me that spring has arrived is the running of the Kentucky Derby.  Jackie and the girls love the pageantry of the event – the hats, outfits and celebrities and the race itself is something really special. And, talk about your PIA (Pain in the @%$) Job – finding a horse, raising a horse, training, practice, traveling all over to tracks, nutrition, finding the right jockey, everything that goes into horseracing, then making it to the Kentucky Derby field, winning, and then trying to repeat it two more times.  For “triple crown” winners, it truly is a remarkable feat.  There has only been twelve horses have won the Triple Crown: Sir Barton (1919), Gallant Fox (1930), Omaha (1935), War Admiral (1937), Whirlaway (1941), Count Fleet (1943), Assault (1946), Citation (1948), Secretariat (1973), Seattle Slew (1977), Affirmed (1978), and American Pharoah (2015). Personally,  I am always rooting for the underdog!  Hence the reason I never place a bet on the horses! Special thanks to Wikipedia and random internet finds for the fun facts.  See you at the finish line.

  • The Kentucky Derby is a horse race that is held annually in Louisville, Kentucky on the first Saturday in May, capping the two-week-long Kentucky Derby Festival. The race is a Grade I stakes race for three-year-old Thoroughbreds at a distance of one and a quarter miles (2 km) at Churchill Downs. Colts and geldings carry 126 pounds (57 kilograms) and fillies 121 pounds (55 kilograms).
  • The race is often called “The Run for the Roses” for the blanket of roses draped over the winner. It is also known in the United States as “The Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports” or “The Fastest Two Minutes in Sports” in reference to its approximate duration.
  • It is the first leg of the American Triple Crown and is followed by the Preakness Stakes, then the Belmont Stakes. Unlike the Preakness and Belmont Stakes, which took hiatuses in 1891–1893 and 1911–1912, respectively, the Kentucky Derby has been run every consecutive year since 1875, even during both World Wars. A horse must win all three races to win the Triple Crown.
  • The attendance at the Kentucky Derby ranks first in North America and usually surpasses the attendance of all other stakes races including the Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes, and the Breeders’ Cup.
  • In 1872, Col. Meriwether Lewis Clark, Jr., grandson of William Clark of the Lewis and Clark expedition, traveled to England, visiting Epsom in Surrey where The Derby had been running annually since 1780.From there, Clark went on to Paris, France, where in 1863, a group of racing enthusiasts had formed the French Jockey Club and had organized the Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp, which at the time was the greatest race in France.
  • Returning home to Kentucky, Clark organized the Louisville Jockey Club for the purpose of raising money to build quality racing facilities just outside the city. The track would soon become known as Churchill Downs, named for John and Henry Churchill, who provided the land for the racetrack.
  • The Kentucky Derby was first run at 1 1/2 miles (12 furlongs; 2.4 km) the same distance as the Epsom Derby. The distance was changed in 1896 to its current 1 1/4 miles (10 furlongs; 2 km).
  • On May 17, 1875, in front of an estimated crowd of 10,000 people, a field of 15 three-year-old horses contested the first Derby. Under jockey Oliver Lewis, a colt named Aristides, who was trained by future Hall of Famer Ansel Williamson, won the inaugural Derby. Later that year, Lewis rode Aristides to a second-place finish in the Belmont Stakes.
  • Although the first race meeting proved a success, the track ran into financial difficulties and in 1894 the New Louisville Jockey Club was incorporated with new capitalization and improved facilities. Despite this, the business foundered until 1902 when Col. Matt Winn of Louisville put together a syndicate of businessmen to acquire the facility. Under Winn, Churchill Downs prospered and the Kentucky Derby then became the preeminent stakes race for three-year-old thoroughbred horses in North America.
  • Thoroughbred owners began sending their successful Derby horses to compete later in the Preakness Stakes at the Pimlico Race Course, in Baltimore, Maryland, followed by the Belmont Stakes in Elmont, New York. The three races offered large purses and in 1919 Sir Barton became the first horse to win all three races. However, the term Triple Crown didn’t come into use for another eleven years. In 1930, when Gallant Fox became the second horse to win all three races, sportswriter Charles Hatton brought the phrase into American usage.
  • Fueled by the media, public interest in the possibility of a “superhorse” that could win the Triple Crown began in the weeks leading up to the Derby. Two years after the term was coined, the race, which had been run in mid-May since inception, was changed to the first Saturday in May to allow for a specific schedule for the Triple Crown races. Since 1931, the order of Triple Crown races has been the Kentucky Derby first, followed by the Preakness Stakes and then the Belmont Stakes. Prior to 1931, eleven times the Preakness was run before the Derby.
  • In 1954, the purse exceeded $100,000 for the first time. In 1968, Dancer’s Image became the first (and to this day the only) horse to win the race and then be disqualified after traces of phenylbutazone, an analgesic and anti-inflammatory drug, were found in the horse’s urinalysis; Forward Pass won after a protracted legal battle by the owners of Dancer’s Image(which they lost). Forward Pass thus became the eighth winner for Calumet Farm.
  • In 1970, Diane Crump became the first female jockey to ride in the Derby, finishing 15th aboard Fathom.
  • The fastest time ever run in the Derby was set in 1973 at 1:59.4 minutes when Secretariat broke the record set by Northern Dancer in 1964. Not only has Secretariat’s record time yet to be topped, in the race itself, he did something unique in Triple Crown races: each successive quarter, his times were faster.
  • In 2005, the purse distribution for the Derby was changed, so that horses finishing fifth would henceforth receive a share of the purse; previously only the first four finishers did so.
  • Since Kentucky Derby is the biggest race in the world, millions of people from around the world bet at various live tracks and online sportsbooks. In 2017, a crowd of 158,070 watched Always Dreaming win the Derby, making it the seventh biggest attendance in the history of the racetrack. The track reported a wagering total of $209.2 million from all the sources on all the races on the Kentucky Derby Day program.
  • In addition to the race itself, a number of traditions play a large role in the Derby atmosphere. The mint julep—an iced drink consisting of bourbon, mint, and a sugar syrup—is the traditional beverage of the race. The historic drink can be served in an ice-frosted silver julep cup, but most Churchill Downs patrons sip theirs from souvenir glasses (first offered in 1939 and available in revised form each year since) printed with all previous Derby winners.
  • Burgoo, a thick stew of beef, chicken, pork, and vegetables, is a popular Kentucky dish served at the Derby.
  • “Millionaire’s Row” refers to the expensive box seats that attract the rich, the famous and the well-connected. Women appear in fine outfits lavishly accessorized with large, elaborate hats. As the horses are paraded before the grandstands, the University of Louisville Marching Band plays Stephen Foster’s “My Old Kentucky Home,” a tradition which began in 1921.
  • The Derby is frequently referred to as “The Run for the Roses,” because a lush blanket of 554 red roses is awarded to the Kentucky Derby winner each year. The tradition originated in 1883 when New York socialite E. Berry Wall presented roses to ladies at a post-Derby party that was attended by Churchill Downs founder and president, Col. M. Lewis Clark. This gesture is believed to have led Clark to the idea of making the rose the race’s official flower. However, it was not until 1896 that any recorded account referred to roses being draped on the Derby winner.

Fun Facts!!

  1. The mint julep, the Derby’s traditional drink, is wildly overpriced at $11 a pop. Connoisseurs of bourbon consider it a waste of good whiskey.
  2. On Derby Day the infield will hold around 80,000 revelers, making it Kentucky’s third-largest city, behind Lexington and Louisville.
  3. Thirteen of the 15 riders in the first Derby were African-Americans. Black jockeys won 15 of the first 28, with Isaac Murphy taking three.
  4. The winning trainers in two of the first three Derbys were former slaves — Ansel Williamson (Aristides, 1875) and Ed Brown (Baden-Baden, 1877).
  5. Former major league ballplayer Hank Allen trained Northern Wolf, who finished sixth in 1989.
  6. The 1¼-mile distance has been standard since 1896. The first 21 Derbys were contested at 1½ miles.
  7. The Governor of Kentucky awards the garland and the Kentucky Derby Trophy.
  8. Since 1946 it’s been run on the first Saturday in May. In 1945, the final year of World War II, the date was June 9.
  9. Of 40 fillies, only three won — Regret (1915), Genuine Risk (1980) and Winning Colors (1988).
  10. Fourteen female trainers have competed, with Shelley Riley (second, Casual Lies, 1992) coming closest to winning.
  11. Sir Barton, who in 1919 became the first Triple Crown winner, was winless before taking the Run for the Roses. So were Buchanan (1884) and Brokers Tip (1933).
  12. Four horses, including Triple Crown winners Whirlaway (1941) and Assault (1946), dominated by 8 lengths. Eight times the margin was a nose.
  13. A Derby triumph guarantees a large stud fee. Unfortunately, the owners of nine geldings couldn’t cash in, including the connections of Mine That Bird (2009) and Funny Cide (2003).
  14. Of the last 26 Derby winners, eight were post-time favorites.
  15. No winner has emerged from post 17. Oddly, since 1900, post 1, often called “the dreaded rail,” is tied for post 5 with 12 victories.
  16. The oldest living winner is Sea Hero, 25, who stands at stud in Izmit, Turkey.
  17. Thousands of elegantly dressed women will grace Churchill Downs on Saturday. The endless lines for the ladies’ room will resemble runways during fashion week.
  18. Southern hospitality surrenders shamelessly to greed on Derby weekend, when you can pay at least $300 a night for a Louisville motel room that costs $55 any other time.
  19. The Derby debuted in 1875. Its model was the Epsom Derby, a 1½-mile grass race that has been run in England since 1780.
  20. Only six women have ridden in the Derby. Diane Crump was the first, in 1970. The best finish for a female jockey in the Derby is fifth (Rosie Napravnik on Mylute in 2013).


Ok. Crank up the speakers on your computer, pad or phone and if you have a PA system at your office, crank it up, too and play this after the intro — The Bugler’s Call to Post
Here’s an interview with the Churchill Downs Bugler
My Old Kentucky Home – 2015 Kentucky Derby