What Bin Laden's death means for security at Derby

John Asher
John Asher

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - While many Americans celebrate the death of Osama Bin Laden, security is a top issues. One of the most recognizable horse races in the world is scheduled less than a week after President Barack Obama announced members of the United States military had killed Bin Laden. A spokesperson for Churchill Downs says they increased security after 9/11 and don't expect it to change, but are talking to law enforcement.

A record 117,000 people attended last years Oaks and 155,000 entered the gates for the Kentucky Derby.

"I'm a horse fan from way way back," said Joany Osterberg in town from Minnesota.

Osterberg is traveling with three other women, who aren't worried about the Derby being a target for a terrorist attack.

"They can't retaliate that fast," said Barbara Nyquast of Minnesota. "They've gotta sit down and think about it for awhile and figure out where they're going to go."

These women will be subject to search and wand when they enter like everyone else. It's part of the tougher security that started after 9/11.

"The awareness of security issues sky rocketed after that terrible tragedy," said John Asher Vice President of Racing Communications at Churchill Downs. "The main culture change was the infield, which is a very open territory when there's 60,000 people out there."

Patrons can still bring in coolers and food in clear plastic bags and as of now expect no extra security.

"Anybody who has felt safe and secure over those Kentucky Derbys since 2002 with the procedures in place, should feel exactly the same coming into this years events on Friday and Saturday," said Asher.

That's exactly what these four women from Minnesota are hoping.

"We can't live our lives in hiding," said Denise Krohn from Minnesota. "If we do, then he's won."

LMPD spokesperson Sgt. Robert Bivens says they take security for this event seriously every year and they are just one of 30 agencies working to provide security. LMPD will release more details of its security plan on Tuesday afternoon.

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