Louise Gans, 102, Made 85 Kentucky Derbys

Louise Jones Gans, who attended every Kentucky Derby but one from 1919 through 2004, died Jan. 12 at her home in Cherokee Gardens at the age of 102.

Her only missed Derby in that span came in 1999 when she broke a hip just two weeks before the race, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported. She attended 85 Derbys.

"We've never heard anyone (else) lay claim to that many Derbys," Churchill Downs spokesman Tony Terry told the newsaper.

She attended her first Derby when she was 16.

"It was born in me to love a horse," Gans told the Courier-Journal in one of several stories on her. Her parents, Lon and Mary Jones, who owned a farm near Bashford Manor, took her to see the first Triple Crown champion Sir Barton win that 1919 race.

She was too weak to attend in 2005, her son, George Gans III, said. But he called her from the track so family members could sing "My Old Kentucky Home" to her on the phone as the 3-year-olds took the track.

A daily bourbon, around 5 or 6 p.m., and an aspirin every night before bed were her only secrets to longevity, her son said.

And, he added, "She was probably the happiest person I have ever known."