The Silks of the 2016 Kentucky Derby Contenders

The Silks of the 2016 Kentucky Derby Contenders

© Benoit Photo

Let’s face it–as fun and exciting as the Kentucky Derby is, it can be a hard race to watch. With twenty horses vying for position in a race that lasts just over two minutes, it can be hard to keep track of your favorite horses or identify that late-running challenger gaining ground on the outside. One solution is to listen to the track announcer’s call of the race, but if you’re watching the Derby with a group of people, the excitement and cheering and screaming can get noisy, drowning out all other sounds and making the race call difficult to hear.

Fortunately, there is another option–you can memorize the jockey silks of each Derby contender!

Memorizing which horses will carry which silks is something I have done since 2009, when I was determined to do a better job keeping track of my Derby picks after barely getting a glimpse of my top choice Colonel John during the 2008 Derby. This strategy paid off in 2009 when a muddied horse carrying black and grey silks rallied up the rail and no one knew who it was. I could hardly believe my eyes, but at least I knew it was the 50-1 shot Mine That Bird.

Thanks to Churchill Downs, memorizing the silks couldn’t be easier–the Kentucky Derby website has provided a special PDF (click here to view) that includes the silks for each Derby contender. You can also view the silks for the Kentucky Oaks contenders in this second PDF. I’ll be diligently memorizing all these silks during the next two weeks so that I can keep track of all my favorite horses, and if another huge longshot comes running up the rail, I’ll be ready. I hope you will be too!

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Follow J. Keeler Johnson ("Keelerman"):

J. Keeler Johnson is a writer, blogger, videographer, and all-around horse racing enthusiast who was drawn to the sport by Curlin's quest to become North America's richest racehorse. A great fan of racing history, he considers Dr. Fager to be the greatest racehorse ever produced in America, but counts Zenyatta as his all-time favorite. He lives in Wisconsin and also writes for the blog Unlocking Winners.

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