My first Kentucky Derby was 1949 -- the year "PONDER" won. I was born in August 1948. Not long after "Citation" won the Triple Crown.
My parents decided to take in the Kentucky Derby and my Dad didn't believe in leaving the kid at home. Dad had the job of holding me about all day, seemed that was agreed to before heading out to the track. Family decision.
They had stopped by my grandparents house on Wainwright just off Crittenden Drive at Eastern Parkway as they walked to the track from their apartment at 1st and Hill. Mom heated my bottles at grandma's and she then carried the diaper bag and Dad had me.
It didn't take them very long to get there as they were used to walking. They didn't have a car at that time.
Mom and Dad got there early and said they worked their way through the crowd all day, inching closer and closer to the finish line.
They said they were right by the finish line when the Kentucky Derby was ran.
Mom was sure she saw JOE E BROWN and BOB HOPE by the rail in one of the boxes overlooking the track. She said she held me up and that BOB HOPE saw her and waved at me, and her.
Later Dad said I'd gone to sleep and woke up just as the horses came "barreling down" the stretch. Guess saying I've been a horse race fan all my life isn't toooooo much of an overstatement.
Years later, my sister Betsy went to Churchill Downs at an earlier age and with Dad holding her in one arm and the race program in the other, she picked her first winner at about 5 months. But it wasn't "THE DERBY"
That's why we bought a brick there by the Kentucky Derby Museum.