Jones also played host during the Derby day to friends and family from Indianapolis, Ohio and Tennessee.
“I love everything about the Derby,” Jones said. “I go to all the activities. I go to the events. It is the most exciting thing I get to do all year. I love it.”
Jones, a construction worker, said the Derby allows him the chance to break from his normal routine.
“People come from all over the world for this,” he said. “And, I am black, and black people come from all around America, so I gotta be a part of that.”
THE CALIFORNIA GIRL
Amisha Singh, 29, of Los Angeles, said she wanted to come to her first Derby to find out what all the talk was about.
“I am here because I have heard a lot about it, and I'm visiting my boyfriend and that is all he talks about, so I wanted to check it out,” she said.
Singh, like many of the woman at the track, wore a fancy Derby hat and a well-thought-out summer dress.
And, like the others, at some point in the day, her outfit received an unexpected addition - a large poncho made of thin plastic. The fancy hat with the cheap poncho made it appear as if many of the women had arrived for a formal wedding service that had been interrupted by a ferocious downpour.
But the L.A. Resident wasn't fazed.
“I have had an amazing time,” Singh said, adding she was impressed with her visit to Churchill Downs.
Kazu Ito, 28, a native of Japan, was found standing on the perimeter of a bustling group of people near where a tunnel leads to the infield.
“It is very exciting,” Ito said of his first Derby experience. “This is a dream since I was born in Japan. The Derby is very famous in Japan. Horse racing is most famous.”
Ito left Japan for a job in Georgia about 10 months ago, and made the trip to Louisville to realize one of his childhood dreams.
Ito said he was able to tour the city earlier in the week before coming to Churchill Downs
“It is a very beautiful city and historical,” he said. “[Louisville] is gorgeous, very gorgeous. Japan is not so gorgeous. So, this is a party, right? That's good, I think.”