Kentucky Derby

By Richard Nelson

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May 5, 2017

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Tomorrow is the Kentucky Derby where the fastest horses in the world will run at Churchill Downs in Louisville. The Derby is much more than just horses. It's the fanfare, the crazy hats, pre-race parties, festivities, celebrities, and international figures who will be in attendance. Of course, there's also going to be gambling. And lots of it. Last year $138 million was bet on the biggest horse race of the year. Betting on horses is deeply ingrained in Kentucky culture. Some see wagering as adding more excitement to the race. But gambling is also a tradition that has led many into compulsion and pathology. Look, there's nothing wrong horse racing, but is it possible for people to enjoy the race and festivities without the part that causes some grief and ruin? If so, it'd be a win-win.

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Director, Commonwealth Policy Center