From The Other Side Of The Track

Rick Price lives right next to Churchill Downs. I mean right next door.

The Homeview Drive home sits on a street primarily owned by Churchill Downs, for now. Price intends to maintain ownership, particularly as he’s about to reside (again, literally) right smack in the middle of this weekend’s festivities.

“I moved in here 10 years ago thinking I was only going to be here a couple years,” said Price. “Inside the house is comfortable and I’ve been entertaining a lot, especially at Derby.”

When Price first bought the house behind the track, he kept busy traveling for his job in the hospitality industry. Wanting a place close to the airport, he found the two-story home in a neighborhood once filled with houses that sat only six feet apart.

Price said he’s been approached by the corporation about selling his abode, but said he’s waiting for the right offer.

Until then, Price is perfectly fine holding on to what has become a party house of sorts. Each year around the first Saturday in May, he entertains guests, often offering hors d’oeuvres and his signature Mint Julep to those going to and from the track.

When visitors first arrive at his door, they’re greeted by an antique chest he’s turned into a bar, which was purchased by Price for a quarter at an auction when he was just eight years old.

French pocket doors lead into his dining room, where numerous dinner parties have been held. There, the 2006 Kentucky Restaurateur of the Year and food service management professional, serves up tasty dishes, including his steamed asparagus with special raspberry vinaigrette sauce.

Also inside the dining room is an old buffet inherited from his mother. Sitting atop the antique cabinet are 11 Mint Julep cups collected each of the Derbys he and a group of friends experienced together since 1981.

“I had friends that would come in from Illinois every year and there were a total of six of us, so every year I would get all six of us a Mint Julep cup and … they’ve all got Derby, the year and their initials on it.”

Though he’s lived next door to the racetrack for quite some time, Price said he only heads to Churchill Downs four our five times a year, and rarely on Derby. He’d rather stay at home and treat his friends to food and good cheer, and he only reserves his prime parking spaces for guests.

“Other times of the season I may sell it, but normally on Derby I let all my friends come in and park here,” he said. “I can sell (spaces for) 100 dollars easy during Derby or Oaks. $75 Oaks; $100 Derby, but I don’t do it. … I’m the only house left. (Churchill Downs) wants me (to sell),” he said with a grin. “It’s too much fun. My friends wouldn’t let me.”

Photo by CHRIS HUMPHREYS | The Voice-Tribune