An interesting fact most people may not realize is that when the Derby was inaugurated in 1875, only ten years after slavery, the first winning jockey was Oliver Lewis, a black man. Over the years, the Kentucky Derby had a reputation of being an event rarely frequented by African Americans. Only the most "in the know" affluent African Americans attended this prestigious event. Personally, I have gone to the Kentucky Derby the past five years and each year I've seen it evolve into a well rounded event with people of all backgrounds. The Derby is now a melting pot of successful business executives and a "who's who" of celebrities. With so many different events and networking opportunities, it's almost easy to forget about the actual Kentucky Derby race.
This past weekend presented a lifetime of wonderful memories but I am most proud to be commissioned a Kentucky Colonel which was signed by Steven L. Beshear, Governor of Kentucky. Additionally, my company Troy E. Hudson Enterprises Inc. hosted a group of minority business executives to an event with such a prestigious tradition. It was great to see so many affluent and successful African Americans celebrating the culture of the weekend. In the company of about 300 corporate executives which were mostly minorities, my company's first event took place at a very humbling facility, the Muhammad Ali Center. The next morning we attended Church Hills Down for the Oaks, which had a pink theme in honor of breast cancer. My company was escorted to a private box entitled Millionaires Row, which included many of most prestigious executives in the world with speeches by executives from Toyota Motor Company and the president of Troy E. Hudson Enterprises, James WM. Morrison. I was also excited to see fellow athletes such as Julius "Dr. J" Irving, Ray Lewis, Robert Horry and Kevin Willis in attendance.
The Kentucky Derby weekend presented a lifetime of wonderful memories. Next year, I expect to see even more prominent African Americans as word travels regarding the many business opportunities and overall pleasure of the weekend. See you in Millionares Row next year!