Mayor Fischer encourages Louisville to celebrate the spirit of the Kentucky Derby safely at home on Saturday Friday, May 1 2020 


Postponing the race was tough decision, but the right one

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (May 1, 2020) – Mayor Greg Fischer today encouraged all Louisvillians to celebrate the enduring spirit of the Kentucky Derby as we all continue to stay home and practice safe social distancing during what would have been the 146th running of the storied race.

The Run for the Roses has been tentatively postponed until September 5 as a precaution against the spread of the COVID-19 virus. It is the first time since 1945, during World War II, that authorities have pushed the Derby off the first Saturday in May.

“Postponing Derby was a tough decision, but it was obviously the right call for the health and safety of the people of Louisville and the people who come to visit our city,” Mayor Fischer said. “The coronavirus thrives in the kind of crowds we see every year at Churchill Downs as over 160,000 people gather to watch the greatest two minutes in sports.”

Mayor Fischer acknowledged that postponing the race doesn’t just affect the thousands of people who would have attended the race. It also means no backyard parties, family gatherings, or festive bars and restaurants, either.

“And even though we’ve had success minimizing the spread of the virus, we cannot lose focus. We cannot let our guard down, even for one beautiful weekend,” the Mayor said. “Because this virus doesn’t care about our traditions. It only wants to infect as many people as possible.”

Mayor Fischer was joined at his media briefing today by Kevin Flanery, president of Churchill Downs Racetrack, who shared details about “Kentucky Derby At Home,” a virtual party on Saturday that offers everyone a chance to enjoy some Derby traditions as they wait for the real race to return.

“As the traditional first Saturday in May started to draw closer, we felt a desire and a responsibility to create an opportunity for the community and our fans to honor that day in a meaningful way. The Kentucky Derby has a way of bringing people together and we hope this will unite us at a time when we need it the most,” Flanery said.

“Kentucky Derby At Home” will include interactive activities online throughout the day and The Kentucky Derby: Triple Crown Showdown, a virtual race featuring 13 past winners of the Triple Crown. The computer-simulated race was created by Inspired Entertainment and will appear just like a race would at Churchill Downs Racetrack.

Racing fans can go online at to choose their race favorite and make a donation to COVID-19 relief efforts, with Churchill Downs pledging to match those donations up to $1 million. Flanery added that participants who pick the winner of the The Kentucky Derby: Triple Crown Showdown will be eligible to win an Ultimate Kentucky Derby VIP experience in September.

TV coverage of tomorrow’s virtual Derby Day will begin at 11:30 a.m. on NBC (WAVE3) and will culminate with a rebroadcast of the thrilling 2015 race, in which American Pharoah began his eventual Triple Crown-winning journey. Other local media outlets like the Courier Journal and WHAS 840-AM will also feature a variety of virtual events, and there will be a collective singalong of “My Old Kentucky Home.”

“The folks at Churchill Downs have come up with some creative options for Derby fans who might want to put on a fancy hat, enjoy a mint julep and have a good time at home,” Mayor Fischer said.

Meanwhile, live racing is slated to resume at Churchill Downs on May 11, albeit without fans in attendance. The Mayor cautioned that the decision to reschedule the 146th Kentucky Derby on Labor Day weekend is tentative and depends on whether health officials believe it is safe.

“People are wondering what we can expect for Derby in September. Obviously, it’s the data and the health experts that will determine that for sure,” Mayor Fischer said. “And four months is a long time in the cycle of this COVID-19 crisis. To put it in racing terms, we’re barely around the first turn in this process, so we have to see how it unfolds.”

Mayor Fischer extends COVID-19 state of emergency

Mayor Fischer today also announced that he’s extending the city’s COVID-19 state of emergency until June 1. First issued on March 13, the order was initially extended to May 10, but the Mayor said another extension is warranted.

As a result of the extended state of emergency, the Subway Fresh Fit Hike, Bike & Paddle, normally held on Memorial Day, has also been canceled.

Although the community has made great progress in slowing the spread of coronavirus and has thus far averted an overwhelming surge of patients at local hospitals, Mayor Fischer warned that we are still very much in the throes a pandemic.

“While we’re making progress in this fight, we still have a long way to go. We have to stay focused and vigilant,” the Mayor said. “I know that’s all disappointing. But I appreciate the cooperation and patience of our citizens and residents as we work together as a community to save lives and prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

Daily COVID-19 data

As of Friday, there have been 90 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Louisville, bringing the total to 1,365 with 698 recoveries. There have been five additional deaths since Thursday, bringing the confirmed Louisville total to 96.

Gender/Age data for today’s deaths:

  • Unknown/90s
  • Unknown/90s
  • Female/81
  • Female/69
  • Male/42

Currently, 47 members of LMPD, Louisville Fire, Metro EMS, Metro Corrections and the Sheriff’s Office are off-duty due to COVID-19:

  • 13 are off with positive tests and in self-isolation.
  • 14 are off and quarantined due to exposure to someone with a positive test.
  • 20 are “screened off” with symptoms and tested, or due to be tested, but have not received test results.

Positive test numbers for first responders/public safety since the incident began:

  • 23 positive tests.
  • 10 have fully recovered and returned to duty.

Metro Corrections inmate data for May 1:

  • 125 inmates have been tested.
  • 0 positive tests.
  • 3 tests are pending.

Mayor Fischer visits mobile COVID-19 testing site

To highlight the effort to test more people for COVID-19, Mayor Fischer today visited the new mobile testing site at the Bashford Manor Walmart store. On Thursday, he visited the new Urban League testing site on West Broadway.

Health experts say that much more testing will be needed for Louisville to demonstrate that it can safely reopen its economy and begin easing restrictions that are compelling us to stay home and avoid gatherings.

“The more quickly we can scale our testing capacity, the more quickly we can start to rebuild and recreate our economy. As I said, we are making progress. We’re flattening the curve. And one of the many things that makes me more hopeful about our progress and our future is the expansion of testing that’s happening in our city,” the Mayor said. “It’s great to see more and more people having the opportunity to get tested.”

In addition to the testing sites at Walmart and the Louisville Urban League, another mobile testing site has been established at Shawnee Park. The Walmart site focuses on testing health care workers, first responders and people who are showing symptoms that align with COVID-19, while the other two sites are open to the public on an appointment basis.

Mayor Fischer said the city is also working to make COVID-19 testing more available to African American residents, who have been hit in disproportionate numbers by the virus here and elsewhere in the country.

“We have to stay vigilant about the reality that it’s much easier for some of us to protect ourselves against COVID-19 than for others. Folks who have fewer resources are less likely to have a primary-care physician who can order them a test. Folks who have fewer resources are less likely to have their own cars, or jobs that can be done from home, meaning that they’re at greater risk of exposure,” the Mayor said. “And having fewer resources produces greater vulnerability for people of all races and ethnicities, but it’s especially deadly for folks in our African American community.”

The city has partnered with the University of Louisville, Family Health Centers and Park DuValle Community Health Center to ensure African Americans here have access to more testing. The Hope Wellness Center on West Broadway is also working to provide more testing.

“We will continue to work to make testing more available city-wide and especially in under-resourced neighborhoods and in our African-American community,” Mayor Fischer said. “We do that because it’s the right thing to do. This is about more than health. This is about justice. And one other very practical thing: With a deadly, highly contagious disease like COVID-19 if any of us are infected, none of us are safe.”

Personal protective equipment donation

Mayor Fischer today thanked the University of Louisville Speed School of Engineering for donating 3,000 face shields made with 3D printing technology to Louisville Metro Government.

“These shields will protect our frontline warriors as they continue to fight his dastardly disease,” the Mayor said. “Thanks, and go Cards!”

Although local hospitals and first responders have managed to maintain an adequate supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, gloves, and shields, more is always needed. If you or your organization has the capacity to donate or produce PPE, please contact Louisville Metro Government at

“The Doctor is In” on Saturday’s tele town hall

Mayor Fischer will again be joined by Dr. Jon Klein on his tele town hall Saturday morning. Dr. Klein, the vice-dean for research at the UofL School of Medicine, will answer your medical questions about the COVID-19 pandemic.

To participate, go to at 10 a.m. on Saturday.

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You Never Forget Your First Derby Friday, May 1 2020 

NOTE: Just for fun, I dug up this column I wrote for the Voice-Tribune before the 2012 Derby. 

One of the best things about the Kentucky Derby is the fact that it’s a delicacy that can be consumed in a thousand different ways. It’s an event with universal appeal that leaves a lasting impression, whether you’re having a backyard party or mixing with celebrities on Millionaire’s Row.

I’ve been fortunate that, in the 51 Derbies during my lifetime, I’ve seen about every square foot of the track on Derby Day. I’ve been there for more than a dozen of them — as a busboy, infield reveler, reporter and irresponsible parent. My memory, of course, is a little hazy because of all the alcohol, but one thing you always remember about the Derby– your first.

Everyone remembers the winner’s name from his or her first Derby. Mine was Affirmed in 1978, and it’s amazing that I know I bought a beer in the infield for a dollar. I still have a poem I wrote about the experience for Mrs. Stapp’s English class at Iroquois High. There were plenty of creative schemes and near nudity to get alcohol onto the track. Churchill Downs was less corporate then, and the infield had less concrete.  So it was more fun.

I came by my interest in the race honestly. My dad was a pari-mutuel clerk who worked the $2 Place window back in a time whIMG_2053en if you wanted to place different types of bets, you went to different betting windows. The first time I stepped foot on Central Avenue was when my dad took me there to get his credentials. I was about 5.

Dust Commander was the first Derby winner I remember. It was 1970. I used to spend hours reading the programs Dad brought home and eventually memorized all the Derby winners. I had the same ability to recall the names that Jack Conway famously boasted about during a political campaign. I’d ask friends to pick a year, looking at a Derby glass, and amaze them by coming up with the name, e.g. 1960 would be Venetian Way.

Post-2012 (I’ll Have Another), I’ve spent Derbies roaming the paddock, backside and grandstands with Paula, even as Country House won in a disputed finish last year.

The two years I spent as a busboy on Millionaire’s Row (Spectacular Bid and Genuine Risk) opened my eyes to the economics of the Derby, mainly because I couldn’t believe how much people paid for a plate of shrimp up there.  My mom by then was working for the caterer Harry M. Stevens, and got me a job, too.

For the next eight years, Pleasant Colony through Winning Colors, I made it an annual tradition to bring fraternity brothers and girlfriends home from college and beyond to experience the Derby infield.  We always placed bets, and someone in our group would pick a winner. At racetime, we’d wander over to the fence and see a few seconds of the race. I famously had Gato Del Sol and Spend a Buck, always placing an extravagant $10 win ticket on one horse. I imagined my infield streak would go on forever, but in 1989 (Sunday Silence) I couldn’t get home from North Carolina. It was just as well, as the day’s weather in Louisville was cold and wet.

Now, if you go out of town for Derby Day, don’t expect the natives to share your enthusiasm. I’ve been outside the city twice. In 1998, I was in Hawaii and frustrated when the bartender at the sports bar refused to turn the TV from a meaningless Utah Jazz playoff game to Louisville until just before “My Old Kentucky Home” was played. The place and the winner was Real Quiet.

I was mixing with millionaires in 1997 (Silver Charm) when I covered the track as a Business First reporter. I remember being pushed and shoved near the elevator trying to get close to Al Gore.

In 2005, I learned that if you bought a general admission ticket, you could go over by the first turn and get right on the rail. This was a great vantage point because all of the connections to the horses walked by there on the way to the paddock from the backside. (It’s too bad the Downs has since put concrete and boxes there.) It was family-friendly, so I took the kids. When my then 7-year-old son Luke insisted he wanted a bet on his favorite number 10, of course I told him I wasn’t wasting money on a horse like Giacomo that didn’t have a chance.

I’ll never live that down. Nor will I forget this story from 1992. While I went to a neighborhood party, I sent a $2 exacta bet with my wife’s favorite numbers, along with my $10 bet on Lil E Tee. The 7-3 exacta paid $854.40, money I’ve been giving back on losing tickets ever since.

The Derby experience, no matter how you do it, will keep you coming back, one way or another.

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Hosting a family friendly Derby Party at home Monday, Apr 27 2020 

Hosting a Derby party at home? The Kentucky Derby is a time for big plans. You are either heading to a gala, to the track, or if you are like me, spending time with your family and friends. We are always looking for fun things to do to have fun with kids at your Derby party between watching races – [...]

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Kentucky Coloring Pages Saturday, Apr 25 2020 

Get out your crayons, markers, colored pencils, or whatever your chosen medium is, print out some of our Kentucky coloring pages and go to town.   The state of Kentucky is beautiful and we think you can make it even prettier with your coloring skills. We want you to show it off to us! Below are some Kentucky Coloring sheets that [...]

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Shop Impromptu still providing service even with doors closed Friday, Mar 20 2020 

By Zoe Watkins–

Though many stores are closing until the coronavirus pandemic has settled, there are some who have found ways to keep open.

Shop Impromptu is owned and run by University of Louiville alumnus Jordan Mannel. The boutique store sells women’s clothing, shoes, accessories and home decorations.

Mannel said she began her business in 2016 by starting it as an online boutique in her living room. She mostly relied on online ads the first year, but her business quickly took off.

“As it grew, I expanded into a 550 square feet showroom in Butchertown to get it out of my home. We quickly got there and moved into the mall in October of 2018. We occupied 1100 square feet and I gained a staff of about 6 people. In July 2019, we moved into a 6000 square feet store in Oxmoor across from Apple & Sephora,” Mannel said.

In the beginning, Mannel’s inventory primarily consisted of derby fashion which she said is how she got started.

“Everyone wanted me to dress them for Derby. My mom makes all the hats and fascinators, and I sell more in Derby season than in Christmas season,” Mannel said.

Even though Shop Impromptu had to close for the time being, Mannel said it was the right decision.

“I feel I did the right thing by closing my door early Saturday to ensure we take precautions of not spreading COVID-19. People were not staying inside, and I did not want to be the one to give them a place to go,” she said.

Since Shop Impromptu sells more derby fashion than anything else, she said it will be a hard time.

“I currently have a staff of 12 and with all the current events, doing my best to make sure what I’ve created stays afloat,” she said.

But there’s still hope for stores to keep going and make money even with their storefront closed. Such as with Shop Impromptu, there is an online store and a Facebook page where customers can still order products which Mannel said can go a long way.

“Buy online if it something they are something, purchase gift cards, share their posts and comment on their posts. All of these simple things can help,” she said.

Even though everything may seem rough right now, and there is still a lot of uncertainty, there is still some advice that can be shared.

“It’s going to be okay, we are all in this together. And lucky for us, most of your derby dresses will still be in season for the beginning of September,” Mannel said.

Photo courtesy by Jordan Mannel

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Churchill Downs searches for Kentucky Derby’s ‘Official Menu Taste Tester’ Tuesday, Jan 28 2020 

The contest held from Jan. 28 through Feb. 12 allows participants to share their original Derby party recipe for a chance to claim the title.


Jonathan Searle’s No Kid Hungry Event at Proof; Ed and Mary F. Glasscock on the World Championship Horse Show Thursday, Aug 8 2019 

Welcome to the 318th episode of the city’s longest-running and most interesting podcast –where this week I went on location to a couple of pretty remarkable and impressive locales.

First I met 36-year-old executive chef Jonathan Searle in a private room at Proof on Main, which features a clock that counts down founder Steve Wilson’s life expectancy (he’s got more than eight years left). We talked about Searle’s rise from his start as a chef in Lexington to his new assignment at one of the city’s most prestigious dining spots. Searle, wearing a Bernie Sanders hat, brings tons of energy to his new post. On Aug. 8, he’s invited several chefs to participate in the city’s first No Kid Hungry Dinner, for which you can still get tickets and go.

At the Glasscock home on Upper River Road, I walked into a living room plush with horse-related history. Ed, the city’s famed attorney and civic booster, showed me trophies galore, including a replica of Justify’s Kentucky Derby win. While Ed handles the family’s interest in thorooughbreds, I was interested in talking with his wife Mary F., who has been involved in saddlebred competitions since she was a little girl. We discussed the World Championship Horse Show coming to Freedom Hall Aug. 17.

Back at the REMAX Properties East studio, I noticed that two big openings are on the horizon on the local restaurant scene. First, the old Bistro 1860 at Mellwood and Brownsboro is now Hearth on Mellwood, featuring a new paint job and a totally revamped menu from the couple who brought you the popular Chicken N’ Me up the street. And on Frankfort Ave., my friend Dan Borsch has opened Mellwood Tavern, with a similar menu to that of the Old Louisville Tavern he operates. The kitchen will be open late.

It’s the last week for Insider Louisville, and David Jones Jr. bids farewell with a piece that explains the simple truth — journalism, as a business, doesn’t pay. Let’s hope that the C-J, Louisville Public Media  and Business First step up their game in local media.

In real estate, mortgage rates have dropped to their lowest level in several years, offsetting an unusual rise in home prices as a seller’s market continues. Call me, Rick Redding, for information on selling your home or buying a new one, because the time is right. I’m at 502-439-6391.

Thanks also to REMAX Properties East, Passport Health Plan, Heuser Health and the Eye Care Institute for their support of the Rusty Satellite Show.

Jonathan Searle at Proof

Ed and Mary F. Glasscock with a sculpture of Justify

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Barry Northern will attend his 35th Derby tomorrow.  As the… Friday, May 2 2014 

Barry Northern will attend his 35th Derby tomorrow. 

As the lead tour guide at the Kentucky Derby Museum, Northern must know the history and facts of the Derby and Churchill Downs. Certainly some of it he picked up on the job. But his education started early — Northern grew up two miles from the track and says his mother used to take him to races when his older brothers went to school. 
Today, Northern spends almost every day at the track, sharing his knowledge (and watching the races). 
“Our mission statement here at the museum is to share the excitement of the Kentucky Derby. I’m always doing that anyway, and now I get paid to do it.” 
To hear our interview with Barry Northern, check out episode 45
Happy Derby, Mr. Northern. And happy Derby to you.  

Episode 45 is a day late, mainly because we had too much fun… Tuesday, Apr 29 2014 

Episode 45 is a day late, mainly because we had too much fun this weekend.

We finally made it to the Kentucky Derby Museum! We went on a tour and chatted to lead guide Barry Northern, who is a Churchill Downs and Derby encyclopedia. Many thanks to the Derby Museum for hosting us.

We’re looking forward to:

The Great Steamboat Race on Wednesday, April 30th - Melissa will be on the Belle of Cincinnati. Does that mean we should cheer for that Belle?

The Mayor’s Music & Art Series on May 1st with Alex Wright

The How-To Festival at the library on May 10th from 10-3

A Plant ID Stroll with author and botanist Patricia Haragan at the Louisville Nature Center on May 21 from 1-3 p.m.

Let Them Tweet Cake  on Wednesday, May 6 at 6:30 at Sweet Surrender

This episode, eggs are melting Linda’s butter – specifically, this book about the egg by Michael Ruhlman. After our outing at Bourbon Barrel Foods last weekend, Chef Nick Sullivan’s (610 Magnolia) concoctions are melting Melissa’s butter.

What’s your favorite Derby story? What are you looking forward to? Tweet us, Facebook us, and don’t forget to subscribe in iTunes.

Happy Derby!