May 2, 2020, and A Kentucky Derby Week Like No Other

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Even though I’m glad 130,000 people won’t be standing shoulder-to-shoulder at Churchill this year while a silent-but-deadly virus runs loose,  many of us still consider the First Saturday in May a beloved holiday tradition

This year, Churchill and NBC are planning special coverage for Kentucky Derby Day, considering postponed Big Race itself has been postponed to early fall.

Live racing will be represented by the Arkansas Derby, postponed from early spring and still considered a Derby prep race this year. .

Yet we have old genetic memories of celebrating the arrival of spring, after all.

Churchill and NBC are calling the Saturday afternoon coverage the “Kentucky Derby Party at Home.”  There will be a mix of social media video and regular TV coverage.

Instead of the Derby day race undercard, which I will miss, there’ll be social media coverage including how to make various child-friendly Derby-related objects, like a fascinator. The Party at Home page linked above shows which channels and times.

I know. Most readers of this blog are like me. If there’s no horse, then, “What else ya got?”

Classic and a New Twist on Racing

Your regular NBC channel is keeping 3 to 6 pm EDT for its version of The Big Race. First, they’re gonna re-run American Pharoah’s Derby.

BTW, Pharoah is back at Coolmore America. He’s the top Freshman sire for 2019. I’m not sure how many of his babies are Derby contenders this year, but

And then there will be a virtual race between the past 13 Triple Crown winners in a virtual Derby under the Twin Spires in a Triple Crown Showdown.

When I first heard that, I winced. Virtual Derby?

Remember the computer projections of How The Race Could Go? Kinda cringey.

But NASCAR has gone virtual, with drivers running video game races. Even I have to admit, with my tech snootiness after years in broadcast TV, iRacing looks pretty good in this sample I pulled off YouTube.

Live Racing from Oaklawn

After the Virtual Derby, or showdown, of recent Triple Crown winners, current Derby contenders will run in the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park–but maybe to empty stands?

Oaklawn is slated to open on April 30. Or will they? The Arkansas Derby had been moved out from its original date already.

My guess is, the horses will run. The Florida Derby ran with empty stands. 

As for Arkansas, we shall see.

Click here for the time schedule for Kentucky Derby Day, May edition, coverage.

Oh, FWIW, I have NO IDEA what NBC means by the Greatest Race on the schedule. Is it history? Or a buncha clips from recent races? Consider it a gift grab bag.

But wait … there’s more …

Derby Week Activity Online

In normal years, when you’re in central Kentucky for Derby, the farms open up for tours. Likewise, this year, the farms are open but on Facebook for video, for virtual tours.

The Kentucky Horse Park and Old Friends Kentucky have offered virtual tours on Facebook on their respective Facebook pages. 

The beauty of that is, usually the videos stay up, so if you miss the live tour, you can catch the replay.

Likewise, so are the breeding farms. Pick one whose name you recognize, say, Claiborne Farms or Coolmore America, and search for it on Facebook. Like the page and scroll. Some are public so you don’t have to Like the page, but I’d do it so I might see future videos.

However, the beauty of that strategy of searching for a famous farm is, Facebook wants to keep you there, so off in the right-hand column you’ll find suggestions for other farms to “visit.”

Sometimes, a copy of a video might get uploaded to YouTube, but it’s best for a page owner to do a Live on Facebook because of that persnickety logarithm that shows us some things and not others.

Also, feel free to visit a farm’s website, which can offer all sorts of goodies, from a list of standing sires to a history lesson. 

Foal Patrol

In its third season, the Foal Patrol from the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame is still active and has all its babies on the ground.

You can also spy on Gun Runner, depending upon the time of day, because it’s a static camera in his stall.

As they say in “Loo-uh-vul,” have a good Derby.

 

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