America’s Greatest Race: 2018 Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby, America’s Greatest Race, has been held at Churchill Downs, the world’s most legendary racetrack, since 1875. Age-old traditions of rose garlands, mint juleps, extravagant hats, and singing of “My Old Kentucky Home” make this more than just a horse race but into an iconic celebration of southern culture. People travel from around the world to be a part of the event’s rich traditions and watch 20 horses compete in the “Run for the Roses.”

The race takes place on the first Saturday in May every year and draws over 150,000 spectators. Twenty horses line up at the start and race a mile and a quarter around the track during “the most exciting two minutes in sports.” This year, the Churchill Downs will be celebrating their 144th-year of the Kentucky Derby. Post time begins at 6:34 pm and the race starts at 6:46 pm EDT.

Here’s a quick rundown of post position and odds of the 20 horses racing this Saturday:

  1. Firenze Fire (50/1)
  2. Free Drop Billy (30/1)
  3. Promises Fulfilled (30/1)
  4. Flameaway (30/1)
  5. Audible (8/1)
  6. Good Magic (12/1)
  7. Justify (3/1)
  8. Lone Sailor (50/1)
  9. Hofburg (20/1)
  10. My Boy Jack (30/1)
  11. Bolt d’Oro (8/1)
  12. Enticed (30/1)
  13. Bravazo (50/1)
  14. Mendelssohn (5/1)
  15. Instilled Regard (50/1)
  16. Magnum Moon (6/1)
  17. Solomini (30/1)
  18. Vino Rosso (12/1)
  19. Noble Indy (30/1)
  20. Combatant (50/1)

Capturing images of these races takes a lot of skill, planning, and talent. While in other sports there may be opportunities to capture a shot more than once or to move around to get different angles, horse races, especially the Kentucky Derby, are over in about two minutes. Meaning you’ve got just that one chance to capture the perfect shot.

Along with this, you have to consider the special rules around shooting at the track. You can’t do anything that could potentially spook the horses. Plus, being outside, your weather can change in the blink of an eye.  You’ve got to be prepared for anything and everything and look for opportunities to take advantage of good early morning and afternoon light.

More than anything, you want your photographs to create a story. Especially for an event like the Kentucky Derby, there is the story behind the majestic horses and how they made it to this iconic race, as well as a story behind the history and tradition of the event. Look at the crowds, the stables, the details of saddles, and the edge of the track. Be creative! Make your images tell the story of the day and draw people into the moment.

Professional photographer, Dave Black has had his fair share of days at the race track. In his class Live Action Horse Racing Photography, he walks through the gear he uses, choosing backgrounds that don’t distract, focusing on small details, and using wide panorama shots to help tell the story. KelbyOne offers a variety of courses that teach you the tips, techniques, and gear you need to capture your own inspiring race photos, or photos of any kind, all for as little as $9.99/month.

Make sure you tune into the Kentucky Derby on Saturday and let those “exciting two minutes” motivate you to start learning today!