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Kentucky Life goes to the Derby, celebrates fashion, food and unsung heroes of Churchill Downs


Kentucky Life goes to the Derby, celebrates fashion, food and unsung heroes of Churchill Downs

For Release: 04/08/15 2:34 PM

May in Kentucky means Derby time, and Kentucky Life celebrates with a special Derby-themed episode that features the history, fashions, food and – of course – the horses that help make the day so special. The program airs Saturday, May 2 at 8/7 pm and Sunday, May 3 at 4/3 pm on KET and Monday, May 4 at 7/6 pm on KET2.

First, the program highlights the many accomplishments of African American jockeys over the history of the Kentucky Derby. Fifteen of the first 28 runnings of the iconic race were won by African American jockeys, in fact, and the legacy of these jockeys is long and rich. Kentucky Life spotlights some of the most well-known African American Derby champions, including Oliver Lewis, who won astride the first-ever Derby winner Aristides in 1875.

Then, Kentucky Life turns its attention to some of the unsung heroes of the racetrack: the patient, steadfast track ponies that accompany the race horses to their morning workouts and lead them to the gate in the post parades. A surprising number of “track ponies” – almost all of whom are actually horses – have taken on the role as a second career after successful racing careers of their own.

Next, the “Today’s Special” segment showcases the official Derby Pie, exclusively prepared by Kern’s Kitchen. First created over 50 years ago by George Kern, manager of the restaurant at the Melrose Inn in Prospect, and his parents, Walter and Leaudra, today the trademarked, iconic chocolate and nut pie recipe remains a secret, known only by Kern’s Kitchen staff.

Of course, no Derby program would be complete without a look at the fashion statement that’s synonymous with the day itself: the Derby hat. The program showcases some show-stopping hats which are true works of art, held in the Kentucky Derby Museum’s permanent collection.

Kentucky Life is a KET production. Series producer is Brandon Wickey. Segment producers for this episode are Tom Bickel, Valerie Trimble, Rob Elliott and Amy Hess.

KET is Kentucky’s largest classroom, serving more than one million people each week via television, online and mobile. Learn more about Kentucky’s preeminent public media organization on Twitter @KET and and at


Todd Piccirilli
Senior Director, Marketing and Communications