Although Pat Byrne didn't have a Derby horse this year, he was treated to a barn visit by Tipper Gore on Derby Day.
The "Hilfiger" Blimp was a change from the traditional appearance of the Goodyear Blimp at the Derby. Pat Byrne's grooms dressed up for Tipper Gore's visit prior to the Derby, and Pat's pony horse, CUSTER, was slick as the official barn greeter.
The crowd was bigger than I can ever remember, and in fact was the second largest crowd ever, after the '74 Derby, which was famous for a "streaker" climbing the infield flag pole. The infield scandals now feature women lifting their shirts for the crowd.
As the big race neared, people started lining the paths from the barns to the track to watch the Derby trainers and horses walk over to the paddock. Jennifer (left) is an exercise rider for Frank Brothers, and ponied her first Derby horse to the gate this year. She is on her way to pick up GENERAL CHALLENGE. Dallas Stewart was the first trainer we saw walking over; he trains KIMBERLITE PIPE.
As Bob Baffert walked through, Churchill outrider John Neal helped the "MP's" clear the way for the throng of media following Baffert around.
The dress on the backside ranges from extreme casual to clubhouse chic, with lots of shorts, and hats of all kinds. On the right is VICAR on his way to the paddock; he is trained by Carl Nafzger.
Elliot Walden walked over with his family and eventual second place finisher MENIFEE (right), led by a legion of grooms and assistants. Turns out we picked the wrong path to stand on to get our pictures - we missed D. Wayne Lukas and the Derby Winner CHARISMATIC because they go out to the track on a different path!
The day after the Derby we slept late and were treated to the sight of the "Delta Queen" steaming up river headed back home to Cincinnati - a relaxing image to end an exhausting weekend!