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Archive for the ‘Louisville’ Category

22 May 2008: Churchill Downs @ Louisville, Kentucky State

The most exciting time to be in Louisville is at the first Saturday of May when thousands of people swarmed here to grace the annual Kentucky Derby.  I am second guessing this could be the hidden reason my US bosses had strategically planned our conference here in May. We had clearly missed the first two-week long Kentucky Derby Festival, but I was equally excited to see this two kilometres race, highly regarded in the States as “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports”.

Churchill Downs is the heart where the sensational Derby takes place. This racetrack was officially opened in 1875 and had since been the national pride of the people in Louisville. Just look at the attendance records – Kentucky Derby ranks first in North America and usually surpasses the attendance of all other stakes races including popular races such as the Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes and the Breeders’ Cup. On a normal day, 50,000 occupies the seats at the derby. However, the crowds can swelled up to 150,000 on the Derby day!

My boss, Mary, was eager and very passionate to showcase the race track to us. As we shadowed her in touring the premise, we could feel her intense emotional attachment for this place. “Ohhh.. here’s the winner of this race,” she announced excitedly. After each race, a simple ceremony and photography session was held for the jockey and the owner of the horse.

The Derby is also known as the “The Run for the Roses”. Each year, a lush blanket of 554 red roses is awarded to the Kentucky Derby winner. The tradition originated in 1883 when New York socialite E. Berry Wall presented roses to the ladies at a post-Derby party which the founder of Churchill Downs also attended. It was believed that this gesture eventually led to the idea of using roses as the official flower for derby.

Mary told me that the professional jockeys have a light body weight. Though there is no limit on how tall a jockey can be, most are under five feet and six inches tall (i.e., 1.65m) in order to maintain good balance on the horse. The Kentucky Derby, for example, has a weight limit of 126 pounds (or 57.2 kg!)  including the jockey and his equipment. I seemed to be potential candidate by the weight and height limits? But the toughest criteria is to be very strong and athletic to control a horse that is moving at 40 mph (or about 65 km per hr) and weighs 1,200 pounds!

Guess what the reality is?  This was the furthest that I could go…

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26 May 2006: Glass Work @ Louisville, Kentucky State 

Located in the west district of Downtown Louisville, the Louisville Glassworks is multi-use facility with three working glass studios, two glass galleries. The Kentucky Glass Works was formed in 1850 and the business was passed down through five generations of Penna ownership.

Time to see these lovely glass wares…

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The White Louisville

31 Jan 2004: Louisville, Kentucky State

This is the first time I see Louisville in white, all covered with snow!

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26 May 2002: Louisville, Kentucky States

I am in Louisville for three weeks. This largest city in the State of Kentucky has a population of less than a million. It was once an important internal shipping port during the 19th century but Louisville today is best remembered for its Kentucky Derby, the widely watched horse race in the country.

Downtown Louisville

The downtown Louisville is located at the south of the Ohio River. It is from here that the major roads of this city extend outwards in all directions like the spokes of a wheel. Here were some snapshots of the business district with a distinct blend of the old architectures and the modern skyscrapers.

There are a few decent sized shopping malls. One is the Downtown Galleria Mall and the larger mall that I had been is called the Oxmoor at Shelbyville Road.

Ohio River

The Ohio River forms the border between Kentucky and Indiana. By volume, it is the largest tributary of the Mississippi River and the widest point on the Ohio River is near Downtown Louisville where it is one mile wide.

The Spirit of Jefferson anchored along the riverfront.

The George Rogers Clark Statue.

Louisville Slugger Museum

This is the world’s largest bat, poking 120 feet above ground and leaning against the five-storey high brick Louisville Slugger Museum.

Erected in 1995, the bat weighs 34 tonnes and was a replicate  of the 34 inches longwooden bat used by Babe Ruth in the early 1920s.

The Louisville Slugger Museum now manufactures some of America’s most famous baseball bats. Visitors are allowed to see the factory production of the famous Hillerich & Bradsby bats. The museum is dedicated to the greatest home run heroes and has an extensive display of baseball memorabilia.

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