Get The Inside Track With Five Fine Kentucky Derby Ditties

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Songs that lend a voice to the equestrian world in a way only music can.

On Saturday, at least twenty horses will be off for the famous run for the roses. And as they take the field you can expect to hear the audience sing a stirring rendition of “My Old Kentucky Home.”   Some say the music at the Derby could use facelift, but since the only two songs traditionally sung at this 140-year-old tradition are the national and state anthems, I personally I’m not expecting a change any time soon.

So, instead, this Kentucky Derby time, let’s amuse ourselves with five songs that reference the Kentucky Derby. From the almost equally iconic 1981 hit Dan Fogelberg hit “Run For The Roses,” to some pretty cool tracks from The Rolling Stones and Cole Porter, the style and quality of Kentucky Derby tunes runs the gamut.

For my taste, “Run For The Roses” and “Let The Big Horse Run” can get a bit sentimental, but they are surely most Kentucky Derby-centric songs around! Now, “Dead Flowers” is a track I can really get behind. It was actually sung by The Stones during a September 2006 concert in Louisville, Kentucky held at Churchill Downs, site of The Kentucky Derby. That’s cool! And, well, Cole Porter is just always fantastic.

The final song by Sonic Youth is a bit of an oddball, but it is named after a horse that ran thirteenth in the ’93 Derby. I have to applaud the obscurity of the reference!

If you make it through all five tracks, consider yourself officially psyched for the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby!

1. Dan Fogelberg – Run For The Roses

2. John Stewart – Let The Big Horse Run

3. The Rolling Stones – Dead Flowers

4. Cole Porter – You’re The Top

5. Sonic Youth – Bull In The Heather

 

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