The official artworks for Kentucky Derby 137 and Kentucky Oaks 137 were released by Churchill Downs on Wednesday (Nov. 17), and they are available for purchase online at www.KentuckyDerbyStore.com. Additionally, the artwork will be on sale in the Churchill Downs Gift Shop on Friday (Nov. 19) with 2011 artist Lesley Humphrey on hand to sign merchandise between 6-8 p.m. – her only scheduled local appearance before Kentucky Derby weekend.
The Derby artwork, titled Victory, shows a dappled gray horse of majestic stature; the jubilant jockey is fierce in his winning expression. Wrapped in a blanket of brilliant red roses that appear to turn into the colorful crowd, Humphrey has captured the moments just after the race with magnificent colors and an energetic composition.
The Kentucky Oaks painting is a festive glance of the day that has come to be called “Ladies First.” While the dapper gentleman is prominent, the ladies are the stars, seeing and being seen.
In 2005, Humphrey was presented to H.R.H. Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace following a commission by the Grenadier Guards of the Grenadier General. After her appointment as the Official Artist of the 2011 Kentucky Derby, Humphrey stated that she was “as excited about this opportunity” as she was to have met The Queen.
“I’ve always loved the races, and I’ve been working and visiting Kentucky for years, always dreaming of going to the Derby,” Humphrey said. “During a visit to Lexington, I once drove to Louisville when the track was closed, just to view the Twin Spires through the fence. The thought that my art one day could bring me to the Derby brought tears to my eyes.
“I painted this painting because I wanted the viewer to feel like a winner. Every color, line and gesture was painted with this in mind. I want the fans to feel like this is their horse, coming to them, looking at them. I hoped that the painting would convey a sense of passion and joy – a visual representation of what it feels like to have achieved the pinnacle of success that is symbolized each year by the Derby. The circle, the halo of success was created by a word that I had inscribed into the design to help convey the message of the piece, like a golden whisper.”
Officials from Churchill Downs and JettStream Productions, which is in its 10th year as the official licensee of the “Art of the Kentucky Derby” series, will join Humphrey at the historic racetrack on Friday (Nov. 19) between 6-8 p.m. to formally unveil the work that will appear on posters, prints, tickets, racing programs and officially licensed product for the 2011 Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks.
Kentucky Derby 137 and Kentucky Oaks 137 artwork products available for purchase at www.KentuckyDerbyStore.com include both Derby and Oaks posters. All merchandise also will be on sale at Churchill Downs Store, which is open on-track through the end of the Fall Meet on Sunday, Nov. 28, as well as the Louisville International Airport store and retailers.
The Kentucky Derby is annually staged on the first Saturday in May at historic Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. Inaugurated in 1875, the legendary 1 ¼-mile race for 3-year-old Thoroughbreds is the oldest continuously held sporting event in North America and the first leg of horse racing’s challenging Triple Crown series. The Kentucky Derby is often called “The Run for the Roses,” “The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports” and “America’s Race” and typically attracts a crowd in excess of 150,000.
In recent decades, the day prior to the Kentucky Derby, known as Oaks Day, has grown to become the second largest attended horse race in America with a crowd of more than 100,000. This year’s attendance was an event-record 116,046. The highlight of the day is the Derby’s sister race, the Kentucky Oaks, which is the nation’s premier race for 3-year-old fillies. Its focus on fashion and celebrities rivals Derby Day and now features a “Ladies First” theme, complete with a “Pink Out” to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer in partnership with Susan G. Komen for the Cure©.
Churchill Downs, the world’s most legendary racetrack, has conducted Thoroughbred racing and presented America’s greatest race, the Kentucky Derby, continuously since 1875. Located in Louisville, the flagship racetrack of Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ Global Select Market: CHDN) also operates Trackside at Churchill Downs, which offers year-round simulcast wagering at the historic track. Churchill Downs will conduct the 137th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 7, 2011. The track’s 2010 Fall Meet is scheduled for Oct. 31-Nov. 28. Churchill Downs has hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships a record seven times and the event will return to the track for its next renewal on Nov. 4-5, 2011. Information about Churchill Downs can be found on the Internet at www.churchilldowns.com.
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