Surprising Scenes From Derby

David Stice

David Stice

While some homeowners near Churchill Downs save their parking spaces for party guests, others try to profit on their proximity to the track.

One such person is David Stice, who lives at the corner of Ninth and Burton. On Derby day, he chooses to remain inside his cozy home, while managing a valet business that’s become quite profitable.

“Most I’ve ever charged somebody – probably 100 dollars, maybe even more than that,” Stice said. “They fight and tug for (the parking space).”

Stice also witnesses his fair share of chaos and awe on Oaks and Derby. He certainly does plenty of people-watching, but he’s also seen some breathtaking spectacles on his side of the track.

“I woke (my little girl) up at 3:30 in the morning and asked her if she wanted to see something that she’d always remember,” Stice recalled of one Derby. “So I (brought) her out. I said, ‘See that truck right there? Let’s get inside it.’ I walked her over and guess what was inside it: Guinness Book of World Records’ smallest horse, Thumbelina.”

You never know what you’ll see at The Run for the Roses, which seems to ignite a parade of pandemonium. During the rest of the year, though, life around Central Avenue is much calmer.

“You can hear a pin drop out here (most of the time),” Stice said. “But, when the track starts, forget about it.”

Photo by CHRIS HUMPHREYS | The Voice-Tribune