- Hide menu

The Bump Heard Around the World

Maximum Security, second from right, with Luis Saez up, bumps other horses in the final turn which caused his disqualification during the 145th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., on Saturday. Country House, left, with Flavian Prat up, left, was declared the winner.

After a five-year hiatus from covering the Kentucky Derby, McClatchy News once again picked me up to photograph the start gate, turn 4 and heading into the stretch of the 145th Kentucky Derby. My math is a bit foggy but I think this was my 23rd Derby. Experience matters when you are attempting to operate seven cameras that cover less than five seconds of total race time on two sides of the track and on the starting gate. Then to add complexity to the situation, one hour before race time the skies opened up and a deluge ensued. With the assistance of an inside trigger person, a card runner and an outside rail camera wrangler I had some success with all seven cameras capturing what I needed to earn my money! The only failure was one camera I had with me on the outside rail as a backup, wide lens option that took on some water damage and died before the start of the race. The camera was a total loss but thanks to the Canon Procare Package I purchased when I bought the camera in December, Canon says a new camera is in the mail. Whew! Best $360 I ever spent.

The start gates had to be pulled away for track maintenance leaving us with less than five minutes to unwrap the cameras, set exposure, check focus and make sure they were going to fire. And oh yea, all in pouring rain.
That’s me on top of gate nine – thumbs up, all systems are go. If they weren’t, no time to fix it.
And there off ….
Both gate cameras fired but we experienced an electrical short stopping the cameras after firing only eight frames, less than one second of real-time. We would have preferred another 10 more frames to get the horses a bit further down the track but I’ll take what we can get considering the wet condition.
Derby favorite, Maximum Security, in pink silks, comes out of gate seven along with the rest of the 19 horses at the start of the 145th Kentucky Derby. This was taken by my hand-held camera located in my position on the outside of the track at the top of the stretch.
With this being one of the tightest Derby ever with only 5 lengths between the lead pack and the last horse, I am glad I had a remote setup on the outside rail covering the pack as they came into the top edge of the fourth turn.
Maximum Security, middle in pink silks, with Luis Saez on board battles for the lead with Country House, far left, War of Will, you see just his nose third from right and Code of Honor, closest to camera.
The next two horses after the front four take all the mud as Improbable, left, and Plus Que Parfait jockey for a line coming into the stretch. I just liked this image in black and white. It was a muddy one under the rail, I’m glad we got what we got considering the track condition.
Another remote camera captures some of the conflict from up above the rail just coming into the final bank of turn four.
Plus Que Parfait with jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. is blasted with mud from a well-fought race.
Another remote camera shows just how tight this race was heading in to the stretch.
Country House, left, War of Will, black cap, Maximum Security and Code of Honor all bump for position coming out of turn four.
War of Will begins to fade as the remaining three horse come down the stretch.
Code of Honor has a nose lead over Maximum Security going down the stretch as Country House charges from the outside.
Eventual Derby winner Country House challenges Maximum Security.
It ain’t as glamorous as you might think it is. A fine mixture of Kentucky clay and million dollar horse poo and pee covers me after the race.
My abled body and very wet camera wrangler, and daughter Gabi, got to experience her first Derby three years earlier than I did at that age, did her best to keep my gear dry. Thanks for all the back breaking work and sorry you had to see me take a backwards swan dive off the starting gate.

Comments are closed.