About Me

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Orlando, FL, United States
Gary Bogdon is a commercial photographer, director and master story teller living in Orlando, FL. He is a regular contributing photographer for Sports Illustrated, ESPN and a diverse set of commercial clients.

Friday, May 29, 2009

KENTUCKY DERBY '09- in "Lou-a-vull "

Got a assignment to shoot the Kentucky Derby '09 in Louisville, ( but we pronounce it 'Lou-a-vull ' ) KY this year, making it my 26th Derby.  I can't believe I've been to that many, and I really can't believe that I'm that old.  I've still not been to as many as my friends Bill Luster ( we still joke that he rode a horse in the 1968 race and got bumped ) or Dan Dry, (Mr. Winners Circle himself )  though. It was great to shoot the Derby, with it's pageantry, colors, tradition and pure speed of the horses. My favorite part of covering this event year-after-year is still going out to the track at predawn the week of the Derby to photograph the horses training and working out on the track, it's the best.  Of all of the major sporting events that I've shot in my career ( which includes everything from the Olympics to The Masters ) the Derby is by far my favorite sporting event.  The fact that I grew up in Kentucky and Indiana, is a part of it, but it still is so loaded photographically that you can't put your camera down. So the 'Greatest Two Minutes In Sports ' always holds a special place for me.
   Louisville is much more than Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby though.  There is a vibrant downtown life, with restaurants ( two of my favorites are 610 Magnolia and the old classic- The Bristol on Bardstown Road , with new more trendy spots always popping up ) and a terrific nightlife ( Phoenix Hill Tavern was always fun ) and any of the bars along '4th Street Live' (http://www.4thstlive.com) and you'll find what you're looking for.   
   A trip to the River City wouldn't be complete though without a visit to the Muhammad Ali Museum ( www.alicenter.org) , for those of you who didn't know that Louisville is the home of the GREATEST OF ALL TIME !  , and the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory ( www.sluggermuseum.org) where you can see a bat used by Joe DiMaggio during his 56-game hitting streak of 1941 and other bats used by the games superstars- past and present.  It's a must-do, for all baseball fans out there.  Just a short drive from Louisville to Loretto, KY is the Makers Mark Distillery, and well worth the price of admission, and the bourbon is considered by many to be the finest around ( www.makersmark.com) .  They have a great tour, and make sure you try the bourbon candy in the gift shop., it fantastic.
    There are many fine hotels in Louisville to stay ( The Seelbach Hilton - www.seelbachhilton.com and The Brown Hotel - www.brownhotel.com are all highly rated ) along with all of the chains, but if you want something a little more personal- go across the Ohio River ( 10 mintues ) to the Admiral Bicknell Inn ( Bed & Breakfast ) in New Albany, IN.
You can find their information at www.admiralbicknell.com  
    So the next time you are thinking about a trip to "Lou-a-vull" take in all of the flavor of this wonderful southern river city., and you will be impressed.   For racing schedules at Churchill Downs go to www.churchilldowns.com and about an hour drive to Lexington, KY ( home of the Kentucky Wildcats ) is Keeneland Race Course ( www.keeneland.com ).  Don't wait til next year's Kentucky Derby to visit.   Visit my website at http://www.garybogdon.com