Of course, we all sat, horrified as we realized that Eight Bells was down on the track. I don't ever remember something like that happening during the Derby itself. I feared the worst when we realized that she had come in second and then just collapsed on the field. When both equine ambulances blocked the track, we were fairly certain that she would not survive. Word came that they euthanized her on the track because she suffered double compound fractures. We were speechless. She was a truly beautiful horse. And I believe that she would have continued to be a contender in the Preakness and Belmont.
I'm not sure if everyone has Kroger grocery stores where they live, but the garland of roses is actually sewn together at one of the local Kroger stores on Friday night. People can come and watch it being put together at the Kroger store. It requires about 80 hours of prep work and 10 to 12 hours of work on Derby eve. There are over 400 roses sewn into a blanket kind of thing. Each rose has it's own tiny vial of water. This year, the garland contains the "Freedom" rose, named after 9/11 as a tribute to the victims, their families and the people serving in the armed forces. The garland is placed in a glass box and receives a police escort to Churchill Downs on the morning of the Derby.
Then, of course, there are the Derby hats. I find it amazing that those little bitty heads can hold up some of these hats.