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May 12, 1977 - Image 6

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1977-05-12

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Page Six


Thursday, May 12, 1977

PageSix HE MCHIGN DALY Tursdy, My 12 197

It isn't lust another race

103rd running of the Ken-
tucky Derby last Saturday
but there were at least 100,-
000 people on the infield of
the famed Churchill Downs
who weren't there for the
The Derby is the premier
American horse race and
millions speculate on its
outcome every year, but
many of those who come
here for the events of "Der-
by Day" are bent on guess-
ing how many more beers
or mintbjuleps they can
handle before they pass
And do they pass out.
The infield of Churchill
Downs was packed Satur-
day. Although rain was
threatening spectators lined
up at the gates throughout

the night hoping to be the nessee, Kentucky, Mississip-
first ones on the infield. pi, Ohio State, Michigan,
These people were concern- Notre Dame.
ed about getting a good
spot near the finish line. Some are here because
Some are here because their mothers and
fathers never missed a Derby when they were
in college, others are testing the words of
friends who've said "it's just one big party."
None go away disappointed.
There weren't many of their mothers and fathers
them. never missed a Derby when
they were in college, others
"Around about ten o'- are testing the wordq of
clock" a northern visitor is friends who've said "It's
told, the masses of college just one big party." None go
students come pouring in. away disappointed.
They come from all over:
Vanderbilt, Alabama, Ten- But many go away with

empty pockets. The crowd
on the infield is mainly col-
legiate, but they've brought
lots of money to bet with.
The betting windows on the
infield are always crowded
as their young clientel try
to compete with the well-
heeled crowd across the way
in the grandstands.
As the day wears on, to-
ward the running of the
Derby, the young crowd
busis itself with frisbee,
football and drinking. Many
pass the time betting on the
seven races preceding the
Derby and the shouts of
first time bettors who've
just won a forty-to one shot
fill the air.
The curious mix of South-
ern drawls and Midwestern
nasality adds flavor to the
event. For years the Derby
was a Southern event, at-
tended by few Yankees.
Louisville's heart belongs to-
the South and don't ya'll
forget it.

But the Northern students
and Southern students mix
nonetheless. A young wom-
an from New Jersey ex-
claimed, "They're not any
And finally the race that
most of the crowd has been
waiting for begins. Thou-
sands of Derby-goers lie
tranquilly in the sun, con-
tent just to listen to the
roar of the crowd. Thou-
sands more crowd along the
fences for just a glimpse of
the favorite - Seattle Slew.
The favorite doesn't let
those that bet more than
$1.5 million on him down.
And the crowd will never
let Seattle Slew down until
the day they die.
For they've been to the
Derby, many for the first
and last time. They will live
content with their memor-
ies of mint juleps and the
beat of horses' hooves for
years to come.

Story by
Phillip Bokovoy
Photos by
Peter Weertman

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