I am working this week with Rocky Knight on the backside. Dawn at the Downs is a media frenzy powered by hot coffee and sugary donuts. Tomorrow I will take a photograph of the stacks of donuts and rows of media tents so that you can see the madhouse. Smart P.R. folks have learned to “show up” with their clients and parade them through the maze of white media tents. Each little three-sided tent houses a different t.v. or radio station and it’s “workers”. The first day I was backside I was concerned we wouldn’t have enough guests to fill our 7am-9am slot. I was wrong! All I have to do is stick my arm out and someone interesting falls into it. From Jack Conway our State Attorney General, to legendary jockey Pat Day, they are all an arm’s length away. Today I got to rub elbows with our Blog’s very own Rick Redding. Quite a thrill Rick!
Best story of the day goes to Jack Conway, who described for our listeners what it was like to walk Churchill’s track from the backside to the start for last year’s Derby. If you remember he had a Horse in that Run for the Roses. I never imagined the people walking along the track with their Derby entries could hear what we are screaming. But they can. Jack says he could hear friends yelling best wishes. He says the hair stood up on the back of his neck the entire walk from the backside around to the start. It must be what rock stars experience each time they walk out on an arena stage. (Although, I imagine they get used to it). It’s a walk very few will ever experience. Thanks for sharing the story Jack.
My other favorite story of the morning, the track chaplain. He serves the 1000 plus folks who work the backside. He has a prayer service at a certain time each day, counsels the employees during times of death, stress, and even some happy times. He married two of the minor owners of Derby contender, Mucho Macho Man just yesterday. Married them right there in the winner’s circle. Can’t beat that!
We’ll be back out on the backside again Thursday morning. Drinking coffee, eating donuts, and talking it up. More stories from Dawn at the Downs on Louisville’s Oldies 1570 7am-9am