KDF ‘They’re Off!’ Luncheon opens beginning gate on Kentucky Derby 2019 season – Courier Journal

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Marty Pearl, Particular to the Courier Journal
Revealed 6:05 p.m. ET April 12, 2019

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ESPN’s Hannah Storm had lots to say as visitor speaker on the 2019 Kentucky Derby Pageant “They’re Off!” Luncheon. April 12, 2019
Marty Pearl, Particular to the Courier Journal

The Grand Ballroom of the Galt Home East was brimming with pleasure Friday afternoon as over 1,700 individuals gathered for the Kentucky Derby Pageant’s “They’re Off!” Luncheon.

Though not as effectively referred to as a number of the bigger public attracts like Thunder Over Louisville, the luncheon is definitely the second-oldest competition occasion after the Pegasus Parade. This marks the luncheon’s 63rd yr.

The occasion continued its legacy of attention-grabbing visitors from the sports activities world by inviting ESPN’s Hannah Storm to be this yr’s featured speaker. Storm was gifted a number of objects through the lunch, together with bourbon from Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and jockey silks within the colours of her alma mater, Notre Dame, from Churchill Downs president Kevin Flanery.

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Storm spoke intimately about her time in Louisville as a baby when her father, Mike Storen, was one of many co-owners of the American Basketball Affiliation’s Kentucky Colonels. She fondly recalled what it was wish to be within the metropolis through the Kentucky Derby Pageant and the joy for horse racing that she has carried all through her skilled profession. 

Churchill Downs president Kevin Flanery presented Hannah Storm with jockey silks in the colors of the Fighting Irish during the KDF They're Off! Luncheon on Friday. Storm graduated from Notre Dame in 1983 and lived in Louisville as a child. 4/12/19

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Hannah Storm reacts as Louisville mayor Greg Fischer presents her with several bourbons tied to the Kentucky Derby Festival during the annual They're Off! Luncheon on Friday. 4/12/19

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The Galt House East Grand Ballroom was filled with activity on Friday afternoon as the Kentucky Derby Festival held its annual They're Off! Luncheon featuring ESPN's Hannah Storm as the guest speaker. 4/12/19

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ESPN's Hannah Storm was the guest speaker at the annual KDF They're Off! Luncheon on Friday afternoon. 4/12/19

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Hannah Storm hugs Louisville mayor Greg Fischer after being presented with several bourbons tied to the Kentucky Derby Festival during the annual They're Off! Luncheon on Friday. 4/12/19

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ESPN's Hannah Storm was the guest speaker at the annual KDF They're Off! Luncheon on Friday afternoon. 4/12/19

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Kentucky governor Matt Bevin made it official during the annual They're Off! Luncheon on Friday naming guest speaker Hannah Storm as a Kentucky Colonel. 4/12/19

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Kentucky governor Matt Bevin made it official during the annual They're Off! Luncheon on Friday naming guest speaker Hannah Storm as a Kentucky Colonel. 4/12/19

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Louisville mayor Greg Fischer honored outgoing KDF CEO Mike Berry in an unscripted moment at the annual They're Off! Luncheon on Friday. Berry has been a part of the Derby Festival organization for the past 33 years. 4/12/19

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Rachel Bell of The Hat Girls helped customers try on popular Derby looks during the KDF They're Off! Luncheon on Friday. 4/12/19

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More than 1,700 people gathered in the Galt House East Grand Ballroom on Friday afternoon for the annual KDF They're Off! Luncheon. 4/12/19

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Peake Ties set up shop during the annual KDF They're Off! Luncheon on Friday afternoon. 4/12/19

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The Galt House East Grand Ballroom was filled with activity on Friday afternoon as the Kentucky Derby Festival held its annual They're Off! Luncheon featuring ESPN's Hannah Storm as the guest speaker. 4/12/19

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The Galt House East Grand Ballroom was filled with activity on Friday afternoon as the Kentucky Derby Festival held its annual They're Off! Luncheon featuring ESPN's Hannah Storm as the guest speaker. 4/12/19

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In a bittersweet and unscripted second, Fischer honored outgoing KDF CEO Mike Berry. After 33 years with the competition, Berry is stepping down however not earlier than his job is full. The beloved CEO isn’t taking a well-deserved victory lap in his remaining yr, however as an alternative staying in excessive gear selling with love and enthusiasm the occasions he had a hand in constructing. He acquired a standing ovation for his service through the luncheon with the roar of working towards Blue Angels heard above as a symbolic exclamation level on Berry’s profession.  

Full story: After 33 years, Kentucky Derby Pageant’s Mike Berry hangs up his jacket

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