Kentucky Derby superstitions are around every turn at Churchill Downs
Making it to the winner's circle or hitting the jackpot all comes down to the superstitions horse players have.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- When it comes to the historic track at Churchill Downs, good omens and bad luck are around every turn. Making it to the winner's circle or hitting the jackpot all comes down to the superstitions horse players have. Here's a look at race day rules, many people swear by.
"I'm not superstitious at all. I bet with my heart rather than my head, which is why I'm terrible at it," said Ronnie Dreistadt with the Kentucky Derby Museum.
He might not be the most superstitious guy, but helped us out with the history behind the traditions.
The luck is on your side if you end up with the gold Kentucky Derby trophy at the end of the Run for the Roses, but until Derby 125, a bad omen graced the cup.
"The horseshoe was pointed down on the gold cup, which means the luck runs out of the horseshoe," said Dreistadt.
In 1999, Churchill Downs officials decided to defer to racing lore and change the direction of the horseshoe. It now points up, keeping all the luck inside.
Take a look around the backside. You'll see barns full of horses, but you won't see barn 13.
"Number 13 is a no no. In fact, at Churchill Downs there's 47 barns, but they're listed up to 48 because there's no such thing as barn 13," he said.
But as luck would have it, post position 13, not a bad spot. Since 2000, 9 of the 17 winners have come out of gate 13 or higher.
The number game doesn't stop there. For example, $50 bills are a no-no at the betting window. And since white hooves are thought to be not as strong as black hooves, four of them are not generally considered good among horsemen. But there's always an exception to the rule.
"California Chrome, who was awesome, he had four white stockings," said Dreistadt.
When it comes to the weather, many believe you should "bet on a grey on a rainy day" -- meaning put your money on the grey horse. But only eight grey horses have ever won the Kentucky Derby.
"We didn't have a grey win until 1954. That was the 80th Derby. No grey horse had won until then," he said.
If you're hoping to see your horse in the winner's circle, don't say it out loud.
"Also you never tell a trainer 'see you in the winner's circle.' That's extremely bad luck. You never want to predict your victory. The racing gods are against you, if you do that," he said.
Whether it's luck or superstition, Dreistadt says just enjoy the tradition of Derby Day.
"My advice is to just have fun with it. And if you have a superstition that works by all means keep going," said Dreistadt.
Fingers crossed it pays off.
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