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And they’re off…

Kentucky Dominicans Catch Derby Fever as Dominican Runs for the Roses

DominicanLOUISVILLE, KY – May 23, 2007---There was a Kentucky Dominican taking part in the “most exciting two minutes in sports” on May 5 during the 133rd running of the Kentucky Derby.

No, one of our sisters was not running on the track at Churchill Downs, but a horse named Dominican, owned by Tommy and Bonnie Hamilton in nearby Springfield, Ky. and named for the Dominican Sisters of St. Catharine, KY, was among the field of 20 horses in the Run for the Roses. But Springfield is not a one horse town, the Hamilton’s horse, Sedgefield, was also in the running.

The horses’ run in the Kentucky Derby brought Derby fever to the town of nearby Springfield and the St. Catharine Motherhouse. Some of the sisters were guests at a pre-Derby party hosted by the Hamilton’s at their Silverton Hill Farm on April 28. They showed their support all week by wearing the Silverton Hill Farm colors of hot pink, silver and black along with buttons and hats. Many of the sisters even sported buttons proclaiming, I was Dominican first, which were a gift to the sisters from the Hamiltons. On May 4, the sisters joined many Springfield residents at Silverton Hill Day in downtown Springfield. The day included food, fun and games with local elementary schools participating in stick horse racing, sidewalk coloring and a coloring contest. A birthday party for Dominican, whose birthday was in fact May 4, was also held that afternoon.

St. Catharine’s Dominicans may have been around for 185 years, but it was Dominican the 2-year-old horse that helped give the sisters their 15 minutes of fame that we are all entitled to according to famed American artist Andy Warhol.

Television stations and newspapers from Lexington and Louisville descended on St. Catharine when word of the unique story of Dominican and its ties to the sisters spread. The national audience even got a glimpse of Springfield and the Dominican Sisters when NBC Sports came and spent several hours over a two-day period interviewing sisters and residents and filming portions of the downtown party. The segment, approximately two minutes in length, aired shortly before post time. Probably the first time our sisters have ever shared television time with Queen Elizabeth II, the queen of England, who attended this year’s Derby.

Proud and honored were two words the sisters kept repeating to the news reporters when they asked them how they felt about having a horse named after them running in the Derby.

It was a “Divine Ride,” a popular saying that was used in association with Dominican leading up to the Derby, but neither horse received the blanket of roses in the end. Sedgefield placed fifth and Dominican finished 11th.  It was Street Sense who came from 19th place to win the 133rd running of the Kentucky Derby. Dominican finished first in a photo finish in the Blue Grass Stakes on April 14 beating Street Sense by a nose.

Derby Fever has subsided around the Motherhouse and things are back to normal, but the sisters will long remember the horse that gained them national attention.

Dana Lear, Community Relations Coordinator


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Since the time of St Dominic, more than 800 years ago, Dominicans have been living and sharing
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