During the weeks leading up to and following the 2009 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), one of the most visible scenes from the backstretch and winner’s circle after Mine That Bird’s victory was trainer Chip Woolley hobbling on crutches while wearing his ever-present cowboy hat.
The crutches, necessitated by broken leg sustained by Woolley, and the western hat will be among the items shown in the new "Countdown to Victory" exhibit on the main floor when the Kentucky Derby Museum reopens April 18 after a $5.5 million renovation due to flooding. The items have been donated to the museum by Woolley, who transported his gelding from New Mexico to Louisville and scored a 50-1 upset victory.
Also included in the museum will be a second floor exhibition related to the 2009 Derby-winning team, which has loaned a horseshoe from Mine That Bird’s Derby win, the Derby blanket, and the horse’s halter to the museum. Owners Dr. Leonard Blach and Mark Allen have loaned their Kentucky Derby Gold Cup for exhibition during the spring meet and Woolley’s silver trainer’s cup will also be loaned and displayed in the second floor exhibition space.
"With all the media attention about my crutches, they became a part of our Derby story," Woolley said in a statement from the museum. "If the museum can use them to share some of the memories we made that day, then that’s where they belong. I’m really excited about the museum’s renovation. The Derby museum is the only way many people ever get to experience the Kentucky Derby. Celebrating racing in a way that’s meaningful and bringing more fans to the sport has always been important to me."
"Items like these from this year’s team are what keep us celebrating even the most current history," Derby Museum executive director Lynn Ashton said in the release. "Fans love to see things they recognize in the museum. The Mine That Bird team has been so supportive of the Derby Museum and with their help, we can continue to celebrate their greatest victory with fans from all over the world."
The Kentucky Derby Museum re-opens with a launch party Sunday, April 18 at 12:00 p.m.