Scott Goldsmith: The Kentucky Derby

May 2nd, 2013 by Chris Klapheke


Our hometown of Louisville, Ky is going crazy right now.  Roads are clogged with traffic, restaurants have long lines, and limousines are everywhere.  Tourists are everywhere, getting ready for the huge party that is dubbed “the most exciting two minutes in sports”.  Talk about photo opportunities!


The Derby provided me with a fantastic introduction to professional photography:  my first assistant’s job.  Many years ago (too many years–these images are film scans to give you a clue) my good friend Scott Goldsmith, then and now a fantastic pro, asked me to help him in photographing a different side of the Derby–the quiet, anticipation-filled early morning of the race.  The time when horses and trainers awake and prepare for the big day.  This posts highlights some of Scott’s images that day.




At the time I had a point-and-shoot film camera, and I didn’t really know why Scott wanted me to get up so early in the morning!  Something about light.  I lugged Scott’s stuff all over the track that day, from the mellow “backside” of the track to the buzzing stands, to the rowdy infield, to the tense paddock and more.  I was worn out, and wondered how Scott did this stuff day in and day out.



We did not have much time for teaching, but I do remember Scott telling me not about f-stops or cameras or lenses, but about his vision for the shot, why he was taking it, and what he was trying to achieve.  Of course, that equipment has come and gone, but Scott’s vision and mindset have remained.



As we’ve heard before, it’s those qualities, not the equipment, that elevates great photographers like Scott to a different level.

I hope you enjoy these images! -Chris Klapheke


You can visit Scott’s website at

All photographs copyright Scott Goldsmith.



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