Derby Winners And Losers

May 5, 2021 at 10:32 am
Father’s Day

While it was great to be back socializing among friends and strangers, it’s not clear whether or not the community was ready for Derby weekend. Of course there were some big winners. But, in horse racing, for there to be a big winner, there have to be a lot of losers — that’s just pari-mutuel math.

Here are the losers — and a big winner — from Derby weekend:


Louisville Metro Police, for not explaining why The West End Kroger and shopping center parking lot were shut down and barricaded Derby weekend. For many, this Kroger serves as the only source of food and groceries in the area. 

“Following careful consideration, particularly as it relates to risk vs. safety, these measures are being taken to ensure the safety and security of citizens and businesses in that area,” LMPD spokesperson Alicia Smiley said in a statement. This, and other vague statements, shows this department has little interest in transparency. 

So, allow me to be clear: This is one of the major reasons the Department of Justice is coming to rebuild this broken department. 

Churchill Downs will remain a loser until it does right by its essential workers, and pays the valets — the people who saddle the horses. The list of demands are not outrageous for the specialized-manual labor that valets perform. Sure, Churchill, like many corporations, had a down year last year. But if Churchill could afford to pay its CEO $10.5 million last year, they can afford to pay the valets. 

This dispute seems like it’s less about the actual increase in wages, and more about sending a message to other working class track employees who might look for a modest raise. 

The guy who pulled a pistol on Bardstown Road protestors Derby night is the epitome of a loser. OK, big guy, so your dinner was interrupted by a loud bunch of peaceful protesters… You’re going to shoot someone? If you’re that sensitive, don’t eat outside on a sidewalk. Try a small, quiet table in the back. 

Me. I’m a Derby loser… again. My official record in picking the Derby winner is now approximately two for 31 (Silver Charm and Justify) after my pick this year was not — as his name would suggest — Highly Motivated.


The big winner of the weekend was Black Market KY. With the aforementioned, unexpected shutdown of The West End Kroger and shopping center, Black Market KY stepped up to help provide food to folks and keep families from going hungry. In a Facebook post on the Black Lives Matter Louisville page, Shauntrice Martin wrote, “Black Market KY has delivered more free emergency food today than we’ve sold food.”

We must celebrate the excellence of those making the community better — particularly for those who have been shut out for too long.

Stewards Inquiry:

So, I’m not ready to put Mayor Greg Fischer in with the other losers, but I have questions. Fischer was ridiculed on social media for a candid photo of him at the track, maskless. 

Fischer has already — very publicly — been vaccinated, so it’s debatable how unsafe he was being. That being said, this is an amateur move by a veteran politician. Of course he should know better and just mask up at all times. Violating a Churchill and state mandate isn’t a good look. 

What’s more egregious, however, is that Churchill patrons were explicitly told they are allowed to remove their masks when actively eating or drinking. Fischer is the “Bourbonism” mayor! So, why wasn’t he holding a Mint Julep... or a bottle of water or something?

I’m inclined to move him to Derby loser — partly for the bad example, but more so for not holding a Derby glass — but, I don’t want to overreact to a candid photo, without context.

A final inquiry is out for the social media police who made a big deal out of Fischer’s maskless photo. First, it’s clear the outrage is not out of concern for the mayor’s health (rightly so — he publicly promoted being vaccinated). So, if your concern is that he’s setting a bad example, that’s not unfair, but we don’t know the exact situation in the photo, and we do have bigger COVID issues, like anti-vax rhetoric. It seems like the internet sleuths might have chased the little red notifications a little too far. It’s a close call. Then again, there was also a dead heat on Derby Day, so a tie is possible.