Spectators take in Derby week from backside - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Spectators take in Derby week from backside

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Derby week is a very special time for Kentucky. Here's a glimpse of the sights and sounds from the backside of Churchill Downs.

It's around 5 a.m. on a typical morning on the backside.

"There are no greater sights and sounds. I love horses. They're beautiful. I mean, it's so peaceful back here. It's a whole different world," Tracy Barringer, spectator, said.

The coffee is on and the work day begins as visitors trickle in somewhere between the bright lights, blue sky and fresh ground.

"This is her first time out here as well. So, it's nice to be able to experience that with her," Kortney Roppel said.

"I never get up this early in the morning, but I do for the horses because they're great," Barringer said.

The groomer prepares the athletes and they're checked over to make sure they're ready to train.

"Every day, they have a scheduled exercise," said trainer Michelle Lovell.

After a quick gallop, it's bath time, followed by a walk around the barn.

"Really, every horse does the same thing. They're all being prepared for the races, mentally and physically," Lovell said.

The team calls it a morning around 11:30 a.m. before going to the races. "Which is where we make our money."

The team goes back to the barn. "Eat and drink and rest and be a horse again. So, every day we do something like that."

Then, they do it all over again. "I don't have children so they are and my crew. They all mean a lot to me."

It might be the best seat in the house. "I don't like the front side with all the people. I just like all the horses. I could hang out here all day," Barringer said.

"This track just feels like home even though it's not home for me. It's just comfortable. Everybody's nice, it's a great atmosphere. It's exciting. Very exciting," Frank McGoey, a spectator from New Orleans, said.

The lead up to the most exciting two minutes in sports might be just as memorable. "There's nothing like the buildup, the few minutes before the race, but the whole week is just a crescendo."

Friends and strangers visit the atmosphere unlike any other to be a part of the magic. "I'll come until I die," Frank Mauberret said.

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