A Sweet 25th!

Oaks day weather was gorgeous, and Blind Luck battled down the stretch for the win. The meteorologists predicted major storms for Derby day, and Churchill Downs even held a press conference about the likelihood of horrendous storm systems and winds.

Fortunately, the weathermen were wrong. The day started with rain, fairly heavy at times, and photographers putting in their under-the-rail finish line remotes were quite muddy. Everyone hosed off in the tunnel as they headed back to the media room.

I photographed a wagering feature late morning and then decided to place my own bet, a win ticket on Super Saver. He trained well and consistently during the two weeks I photographed and watched him during the morning workouts. No one paid much attention to him; other Pletcher horses were in the limelight.

Overcast, gloomy, and wet for several undercard stakes finishes, I continued to photograph, edit, and transmit images. The team discussed whether we should run a gate remote for the Derby. Should we risk the equipment getting wet? We decided not to run the camera, because the forecast did not look good.

And then something exceptional happened after General Quarters won the Woodford Reserve. The skies cleared and the sun appeared. Amazing!
The Kentucky Derby is such an incredible sporting event. You can feel the buzz. After shooting each contender and jockey leaving the paddock, I joined the throng of people as they headed down the tunnel. I went to my assigned position and sat on a stool close to the ground. (All photographers must kneel or sit during the race.)

After the start I photographed the horses coming by for the first time and checked my exposure. Then I watched the race on the JumboTron. The roar of the crowd picked up as the field turned for home. Number 4 (Super Saver) flashed on the screen. Calvin Borel was going to do it again, moving through a hole near the rail and making his move on the inside.

I photographed Super Saver through the stretch run, and Borel who started to celebrate near the finish. I selected this finish of Super Saver with all four off the ground to submit to the Web and magazine. The WinStar team worked their way across the track and into the winner's circle. Borel is so great for the sport with his passion for racing as he parades Super Saver to the winner's circle. Trainer Todd Pletcher, assistant Mike McCarthy, and the WinStar team were very animated as they celebrated their first Derby win.

A special and memorable 25th Derby for me.

Super Saver
To order this photo, click here.
Winner's Circle
To view more photos from Kentucky Derby 136, click here.
 
 
 
 

8 Comments

Leave a Comment:

Flynne

Great job! I read everywhere he was training well and thought he had a great chance. I'm so glad happy for the connections. :D

03 May 2010 7:47 PM
Bellwether

GREAT PIC...FLY N WITH A HUMAN ON HIS BACK..."I MEAN FULL FLIGHT & ONE HELL OF A SIGHT"!!!...ty...

04 May 2010 4:16 AM
LouAnn Cingel

What an exceptional once in a lifetime photo of Super Saver winning the Kentucky Derby with Calvin Borel aboard.  All four feet so high off the ground as if he had the wings of an angel!  I wish'd I could purchase the photo as it is so awesomely inspiring to me-an exceptional photo to grace a place on a wall in anyone's home.

Wonderful, and more wonderful!

LouAnn

(Union, Missouri)

04 May 2010 8:27 AM
Klassey

Awesome photo of Calvin & Super Saver flying!  Calvin always makes his horses fly! Calvin is one very special jockey and person, and my hero!

Congatulations to Todd Pletcher on his first Derby win.  What a special day.

04 May 2010 9:34 AM
Rick Capone

Awesome photo... a perfect shot for a great race!

06 May 2010 9:02 AM
Serena

Great Photo! Your work is remarkable and I'm happy to say I have several of your classy photos.  The winning shot of the airborne Super Saver will be a welcome addition to my collection.  Reminds me of that beautiful shot that several photographers took of Barbaro, all four off the ground, flying onto glory!  Keep up the spectacular work...it's very much appreciated!

06 May 2010 3:09 PM
nina

Great pictures.Calvin is a great rider.

09 May 2010 9:09 PM
txhorsefan

Thank you for sharing your 25th Derby with us!  Your photos have captured the beauty and joyousness of the win and they're great!  Super Saver flying - the Winstar team celebrating!  Very cool.  It takes a lot of talent and skill to be able to produce such great photos and I'm grateful you've started the blog to share with us.

10 May 2010 9:03 AM

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