For some horse racing fans like Nicolle DiRaimo Derby is a once and lifetime experience.
She says, “I drove from Pennsylvania to be here. My brother lives in Kentucky now. He bought me tickets for Christmas. It was on my bucket list.”
But for others, like Doug Walton from Buffalo, New York, they make the trip down to Churchill Downs every year.
He says, “My friend and I we rent a house and make the trip down here.”
And there’s those locals like Dave hunt that live and breathe derby every day.
Hunt syas, “It’s just the excitement. We’ve got the best in the best running and it’s just the whole environment being here, for a week long celebration. And coming in here and being here and experiencing something that’s so unique to Louisville. You know, that’s hard to replace.”
Although you may leave home with a heavier wallet, the derby is the place to be. But the experience means so much more.
Walton says, “We did alright. Not great. But better than expected. The other races we lost all of them.”
He made enough money to pay for his trip from New York down to Kentucky. Locals like Dave Hunt seemed to have the inside edge.
He says, “I had three different bets on. One of them came through. I got the exacta. So I got the first and second place winners.”
But for some out of towners like Nicolle, they didn’t do so hot. She bet on Outwork who placed 14th.
She says she picked him “Just because I liked the colors. I like the name. Like I said, I’m a big sports fan. I’m a big athlete. So hard work always comes into play.”
Although Outwork didn’t work hard enough for her, like many first-timers discover they’re hooked.
“Dressing up and seeing everyone in their hats and everything…The winning you know would always be nice, but just the experience is worth it.”
Nicolle plans on coming back again next year. Attendance at the derby this year was the second highest ever at 167,227.