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As thousands flock to Louisville for the running of the Kentucky Derby, transforming the city into “Party Central,” all is not as it seems in this pastoral setting. Beneath the wealth and glamour, horse racing has a dark side – a much darker side.
Amid the traditions and pageantry, old secrets brew, jealousy and obsessions the norm: gaming, stud fees, insurance fraud and the whisper of race outcomes being fixed lie just below the surface of the fancy hats and linen suits. The unexpected death of a champion horse, a nasty spill for a top jockey and the disappearance of a barn manager – a series of tragic events or too many “accidents” to be mere coincidence? With millions of dollars on the line, owners, trainers, the wealthy, the famous and the infamous gather at Churchill Downs’ “Millionaires’ Row” to enjoy a Mint Julep or two and a bird’s eye view of the race.
Today’s Derby will make or break many and where greed, ambition and revenge often share a saddle, some may be driven to commit unspeakable acts. Odds are all in favor someone will finish last, dead last…
Bookmaker, Zach Buys (M/F): Left a career as a brilliant mathematician working for the government to turn his natural genius to more lucrative opportunities…
Christie Sunshine(F): Former Miss California and currently starring in the TV drama, “Silks,” loosely based on the life of Diane Crump – first female jockey to ride in the Kentucky Derby.
Gypsy Joe (M/F): Claiming to descend from Gypsy royalty, Joe is known to have an uncanny ability to communicate with horses. Many believe Joe can predict the winner of the race simply by inquiring of the horses themselves.
Lee Oates, Kentucky Horse Chow Company Representative(M/F): The Kentucky Horse Chow company is a long standing sponsor of the Derby and your host at today’s Millionaire’s Row Pre-Derby luncheon. Please enjoy the traditional foods and drink of the Derby and remember the company tag line, “It might not be better than what you’re feeding your horse right now, but it’s no worse!”
Mama Sophia(F): Rumored to be the “godmother” of the Gillespie crime family, she takes time away from her busy career to attend the Kentucky Derby each May. She spends months looking for the “perfect” hat and most agree (or else…) hers is the best hat at the Derby.
Race Track Official Sandy A. Field (M/F): Tasked with the responsibility of ensuring all official rules are adhered to at Churchill Downs. Derby Day is the most exciting, and the most nerve racking, day of the year.
Golden Sands Stables out of Dubai, UAE
Colors: Red / Purple
Running: Alotta Billyouns
Attorney William/Willamena “Whip” Lash(M/F): Representing the foreign partnership that owns Alotta Billyouns. It is rumored that some of the owners are on the Department of Homeland Security’s “No Fly List” and were not able to enter the country to attend the Derby today. Whip will be representing the group at today’s Derby.
Trainer, Jack A. Price: Too heavily built to make it as a top jockey, he had worked for six years as a groom, living in abject poverty. Through sheer force of personality, he earned favor in the eyes of a wealthy owner and has been given the task of training a few horses – those horses won. If Allota Billyouns wins today’s Derby, his reputation as a world-class trainer, and his future, will be set.
Jockey, Wynn U. Price: A previously unknown and unseasoned jockey, he has experienced a meteoric rise through the ranks due to his connection to trainer Jack A. Price, his older brother.
Sunny Skies Stables
Colors: Orange / Blue
Running: Grace and Virtue
Sugar Kane(F): Grand-Niece of the late, Green R. Pastures, owner of Sunny Skies Stables. Upon the death of her uncle, ownership of the horses was transferred to Mick Mulligan. However, she inherited the breeding rights and the ancestral home located at the heart of the property.
Happily Ever After Stables
Colors: Purple / White
Running: Goldie Locks
Valentine Gentry(F): Widow of billionaire George Gentry and heir to the Gentry Gourmet Chocolates empire. Relatively new to the racing circuit, this is her first time attending the Kentucky Derby as either a spectator or owner. Having survived a brief dalliance with trainer Jack A. Price, she is racing the filly he helped her purchase, Goldie Locks, with an all-female team.
Trainer, Charlene “Charlie” Jones(F): Grand-daughter of winningest Derby trainer, Ben A. Jones, and the only woman trainer with a horse in the race today. Anxious to prove herself as a trainer, today’s race means more to her than most.
Jockey, “Spirits” Lexicon(F): One of the few female jockeys in the business and the only one to run in today’s race. She’s a rough and rowdy girl who cut her teeth on saddle leather and, in her own opinion, is a better man than most men she’s met.