KENTUCKY DERBY | Looking Forward to the My First Derby

04/30/2017 09:46 PM

For many of you reading this, Kentucky Derby 143 will not be the first Kentucky Derby you will see in person.

It will be your second, your third, your 20th, your 40th.

For me, it will be my first Kentucky Derby I’ve seen in person. And for that, I am so excited for Saturday to finally get here.

Honestly, I don’t know what to expect.

But, after spending roughly a week or so involved with our “Derby coverage,” I do know one thing: Saturday will be fun and will be memorable.

When I first went to the “backside” at Churchill Downs last week, I was blown away. I have to admit, I was a little intimidated to interview some of the famous trainers, owners or jockeys that I grew up watching on television.

But, what I learned was that many of them are so nice to talk to in person. It really was a pleasant surprise. Whether talking with Todd Pletcher, Dale Romans or D. Wayne Lukas, it didn’t matter. They were all will to give us a few minutes of their time, knowing how precious time is during the two weeks before the Oaks and the Derby.

One person in particular who was really one of the nicest people I’ve had the pleasure of chatting with on the “backside” was former jockey Pat Day. I spent roughly 30 minutes with him and he was so cordial and reminded me if I need anything throughout the week, to reach out to him so that he can help. That’s true hospitality!

That’s what is neat about this sport. It’s easy to root for just about everyone.

There is just something special about hanging out at the “backside” early in the morning, not just because we get to see all the key players and the key horses, but because it’s just really cool to hang out back there.

It’s eerie. It’s its own little city. What makes it really special is just how peaceful it is. It is so quiet in the mornings which gets me to thinking how loud Churchill Downs will be later this week. It’s given me a chance to reflect on the past and the legends that have raced inside the famed facility.

It reminds me of a similar sporting event I grew up with as a kid in central Indiana, the Indy 500. If you understand the history of the event, the enormity of the event hits you.

That’s happened to me already, even a week out of my first Derby.

I cannot wait for Saturday. I hope you are looking forward to it just as much as I am.

Andrew Chernoff

Andrew is a sports anchor and sports managing editor for Spectrum News. He covers sports all across the state of Kentucky for Sports Night, which airs weeknights at 6:30 and 10:30 on Spectrum News. Andrew was a sports anchor and reporter at KFDM/KBTV in Beaumont, Texas for four years before making the move back home to the Midwest. He is originally from Carmel, Indiana and majored in broadcast journalism and political science at Syracuse University.

When he’s not on the air or in the field covering sports, you can likely find Andrew playing golf, watching IndyCar and Formula 1 races, or exploring the state of Kentucky. His favorite sport is open-wheel racing. In fact, he has not missed an Indianapolis 500 since the early 2000s.

Whether he is working sporting events or not, he always loves talking sports. He is a prolific tweeter, so if you want to stay “in the know” about sports in the Bluegrass, follow Andrew on Twitter @ADChernoff. If you have a story idea for our sports team, send it to Andrew at


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