Louisville Mecca of America Today: New Derby Crowd Mark May be Set, Daily Racing Form, 1951-05-05


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Louisville Mecca of America Today New Derby Crowd Mark May Be Set Mass of Humanity Streaming In From All Sectors; Note More Enthusiasm This Year By OSCAR OTIS CHURCHILL DOWNS, Louisville, Ky., May 4. — Louisville was transformed into the Mecca of America today as Derby, crowds converged on the city from, it seemed, most everywhere. Judging by the horde of sports fans with Churchill Downs and the running of the Derby as their goal, the seventy -seventh running of the Kentucky classic will see as large a crowd as ever before in history, and it is just possible a little larger. The mass of humanity blackened highways and strained the facilities of airline, railroad and bus companies. It was a more" enthusiastic crowd than has prevailed at Derby time for the last few years. Perhaps the wide open aspect of the race has had something to do with it, but the air of excitement and expectancy seemed more buoyant and high pitched than in previous seasons. The throngs seemed to sense that here was a Derby of drama, and from which would emerge as the winner a colt who would emblaze upon Derby traditions something at once out of the ordinary and magnificent. f ~ A cool and at least partly clear day was in prospect for the Derby running, at least if the forecast of the Louisville weather bureau could be relied upon. Saturday has been prognosticated as "mostly fair with moderate temperature." Some private meteorologists have not agreed quite completely with this forecast saying a few showers, but they will be just that, light showers may materialize early Derby morning. The weather bureau itself says there may be a few scattered showers tonight. Under a scattered shower forecast it is more or less a matter of chance whether any rain will actually fall at Churchill Downs or its environs. In any event the weather promises to be the most salubrious of any in the last five years. Not too hot nor too cold. The kind of a day that will make going to the races a pleasure. This in turn should act to insure a tremendous attendance, for in past seasons, large as the crowd has been, both excessively hot weather and rain have acted to keep a number of people home, especially residents of nearby areas. Visitors from far away places were met with the traditional southern hospitality for which Louisville and Kentucky are famous. As usual, downtown Louisville was ablaze with decorations, all of them with a Derby motif and great crowds gathered before business establishments where the displays were both spectacular and lavish. It was a tolerant, good natured crowd, and very orderly. Those seeking the excitement of Derby eve did not have to venture far to find it as hotels put on special entertainment, and restaurants and night clubs reported a rushing business. The hotels, of course, were sold out, but the good people of Louisville, by the thousands, opened their homes to the visitors for the night, making rooms available for all they could accommodate. In order that the countless visitors could enjoy the Derby festivities to the utmost, the Kentucky state police and the Louisville city police worked overtime to expedite traffic into the city. Tomorrow, full crews will be on duty to see that motorists get to the track with the least possible inconvenience and delay. Officials have suggested that Derby fans would save themselves any undue delays if they parked their cars away from the track and relied upon public transportation, busses and cabs, to the Downs gates. The street cars, of course, are a thing of the past. A system of one-way streets, leading to the track up until Derby post time, and reversed leading away from it in the afternoon, have been designated by the Louisville chief of police. These routes are clearly marked. In addition several thousand signs have been put up directing motorists to the track via the most direct routes. The uniformed police officers have been given explicit instructions to be courteous to all visitors, but at the same time to be firm. Sectional interest was quite apparent One of the most noticeable delegations was from Texas, a number of special trains from the Lone Star state disgorging a substantial number of citizens

Persistent Link: https://drf.uky.edu/catalog/1950s/drf1951050501/drf1951050501_39_1
Local Identifier: drf1951050501_39_1
Library of Congress Record: https://lccn.loc.gov/unk82075800