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This Week In Conversation: The 2021 Kentucky Derby

A scene from inside Churchill Downs on Derby Day 2020.
Stephanie Wolf
A scene from inside Churchill Downs on Derby Day 2020.

Last year’s Kentucky Derby was unprecedented in many ways. Instead of being run the traditional first Saturday in May in front of more than 150-thousand fans, it was held in September with no fans, because of coronavirus.

And for the first time in decades, a major demonstration was held outside the grounds of Churchill Downs, demanding racial justice following the police killing of Breonna Taylor.

But in 2021, we’re back to Kentucky Derby as usual — sort of.

This week on “In Conversation,” we talked with Churchill Downs’ Darren Rogers about preparations for this year’s Derby, which has returned to the month of May but will be run with a limited number of fans. We also assess the state of the thoroughbred racing industry and Kentucky’s equine community with Keeneland Vice-President Vince Gabbert, and Sarah Coleman with the Kentucky Horse Council.

Listen to the show:



Rick Howlett was midday host and the host of LPM's weekly talk show, "In Conversation." He was with LPM from 2001-2023 and held many different titles, including Morning Edition host, Assignment Editor and Interim News Director. He died in August 2023. Read a remembrance of Rick here.

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