Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Kentucky Derby - Rare Photos From the 1955 Run for the Roses

The Run for the Roses. The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports. The Chance of a Lifetime. (No horse can ever run it twice, after all.) Whatever nickname best applies, the Kentucky Derby is a cultural and sporting event that combines spectacle, tradition, bourbon and sheer athletic grit and glory in ways that make, say, a heavyweight title bout look tame by comparison. In short, there’s nothing like it — anywhere.

Trainer Meshach Tenney beds with Swaps in the straw of a Churchill Downs stall just 40 hours before the start of the big race.

Buses at Churchill Downs after bringing in spectators for the 1955 Kentucky Derby.

Early birds sleep at the track so they can be first in line at the grandstand admission windows when gates open on Derby morning.

Fans wait for the gates to open for the 1955 Kentucky Derby.

Jockeys outside the Churchill Downs jockey room, 1955.

Julep-laden waiters line up for pre-Derby inspection outside Churchill Downs clubhouse before serving early arrivals.

Fans place bets on Derby day, 1955.

Spectators in the infield at Churchill Downs on Derby day, 1955.

Spectators watch a race at Churchill Downs on Derby day, 1955.

Spectators watch a race at Churchill Downs on Derby day, 1955.

Spectators at Churchill Downs on Derby day, 1955.

Waiters serve mint juleps to spectators at Churchill Downs on Derby day, 1955.

Former Huey Long bodyguard and colorful New Orleans restaurateur Diamond Jim Moran at Churchill Downs on Derby day, 1955.

Fans in the infield line up for beer and water at Churchill Downs on Derby day, 1955.

The scene at Churchill Downs on Derby day, 1955.

The scene at Churchill Downs on Derby day, 1955.

Fans cover up as it starts raining at Churchill Downs on Derby day, 1955.

Fans cover up in the rain at Churchill Downs on Derby day, 1955.

Starting gate at Churchill Downs on Derby day, 1955. Eventual winner Swaps is #7, favorite Nashua is #5.

The field rounds the final turn and heads into the home stretch during the 1955 Kentucky Derby.

Swaps pulls away from Nashua to take the win in the 1955 Kentucky Derby.

Delirious winner, whose view of finish was blocked, leaps up as Swaps' victory is announced.

Victory vault is made by C. W. Allen who picked Swaps to win. He also had a winner in previous race.

In the winner's circle with Swaps after the 3-year-old colt won the 1955 Kentucky Derby, with Hall of Fame jockey Willie Shoemaker on board.

(Photos: John DominisTime & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

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