Practice makes perfect: Meet Keeneland’s bugler

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – All eyes are on the track for a horse race but everyone can hear the call of the bugler.

Steve Buttleman has been Keeneland’s bugler for the past three years, although he actually plays a Herald Trumpet. The call to post doesn’t use valves but Buttleman uses the ones on his Herald Trumpet to play other songs like my Old Kentucky Home and the University of Kentucky fight song between races.

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Buttleman picked up the trumpet at age five and moved to Kentucky to study the instrument at the University of Louisville.
About 20 years ago he became the bugler at Churchill downs and has done a handful of Breeders’ Cups already.

“You never take it for granted and its still a huge day i’ve just been fortunate enough to do it before,” said Buttleman.

The call to post is 33 notes. He practices everyday and can’t believe his luck.

“I just think to my self how did i get to be the guy. It just blows my mind and I just say thank you God and please don’t let me screw up one more time,” said Buttleman.

The Breeders’ Cup is being held at Keeneland on Friday and Saturday. The Prelude to the Cup is on Thursday giving Buttleman and all the other workers at Keeneland a dress rehearsal before the big race.