The 139th Kentucky Derby – by Luke Sharrett

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Race horses complete their morning workouts at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. on the morning of the 139th running of The Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 4, 2013. Luke Sharrett for The New York Times

Louisville, KY-based photographer Luke Sharrett shot the 139th running of the Kentucky Derby.

The Kentucky Derby is without a doubt one of the most unique and exciting annual traditions of any state in the Union. The beauty of the champion thoroughbreds, the elegance of Churchill Downs, and the pomp and circumstance of seersucker suited men and derby hatted women combine to make the first Saturday in May a truly timeless event. Few things give me goosebumps quite like hearing the entire grandstand sing the state anthem “My Old Kentucky Home.” Nor does any sound quite spike my heart rate as the thunderous hoof beats of the pack rounding the first turn. Every Derby is different, and this one was no exception. A steady, soaking rain fell throughout most of the afternoon, creating a sloppy track for the big race. Crowd favorite Orb crossed the finish line in first to clinch the most prestigious single race title in racing: Kentucky Derby champion.

See more photos on Luke’s blog.

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Exercise rider Ashley Heco pets Churchill track pony Steve at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. on the morning of the 139th running of The Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 4, 2013. Luke Sharrett for The New York Times

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Racegoer Todd Dulaney of Greensboro, N.C. walks through the soggy infield of Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. on the afternoon of the 139th running of The Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 4, 2013. Luke Sharrett for The New York Times

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Jockey Joel Rosario atop Orb celebrates alongside trainer Shug McGaughey after winning the 139th running of The Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. on Saturday, May 4, 2013. Luke Sharrett for The New York Times

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