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New Scoring System for Steamboat Race; Fields Full for Derby Festival Marathons

The Kentucky Derby Festival’s Great Steamboat Race is undergoing some changes this year.

Festival spokesman Mark Shallcross says three vessels will compete for the Golden Antlers on May 2– the Belle of Louisville, the Belle of Cincinnati and the American Queen (pictured).

“(The American Queen) is starting its maiden voyage upriver and will be stopping here for the boat race. It’s the largest steamboat ever built. It’s just huge, it looks more like a cruise ship. There are no tickets available for the American Queen, but there are a handful of tickets for the Belle of Louisville and there are still tickets left for the Belle of Cincinnati,” he said.

Shallcross says this year’s winner will be determined by points earned for completing a series of pre-race maneuvers in addition to the race itself.

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Registrations Filling for Kentucky Derby Festival Marathons

The Kentucky Derby Festival has raised the registration cap for its mini and full marathons in April, but officials say the spots are still filling quickly.

Spokesman Mark Shallcross says 18,000 runners will be permitted in this year’s competitions, with most of them taking part in the mini-marathon.

“We’ve gone to 15,000 the last three years, and we sold out basically mid to late March. Just to make sure we had the infrastructure in place, we increased the cap slowly,” he said.

Shallcross says the cap could soon be raised again because of the mini-marathon’s popularity.

Again this year, runners in both races will begin from the same starting position in
downtown Louisville.

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Registration Nearly Full For Derby Festival Marathon, Mini

Officials are close to shutting down registration for the Derby Festival Marathon and Mini-marathon races next month.

Spokesperson Mark Shallcross says the number of remaining spots has dropped below 150.

“We announced earlier that we would cap the number of entries combined for both the mini and the marathon to 15,000 so we’re due to hit that this week,” he said.

Shallcross says 250 “charity bibs” will be sold for $125 each at the Running Wild Expo April 29 and 30, with proceeds going to the festival’s charitable arm. Each is good for entry into either race.

(Photo from

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Thunder Seating Changes And Derby Festival Updates

Derby Festival officials Tuesday gave an update on the annual Thunder Over Louisville fireworks show.

The major sponsors of the display have returned, and the April 16th show will share the festival’s superhero theme. For the first time ever, the north section of the Great Lawn of Waterfront Park will no longer be first-come, first-served. Rather, attendees will need to purchase a Pegasus Pin to enter.

The first notable change to the festival was announced last week, when officials dropped the word “Kentucky” from the event’s title. Spokesperson Mark Shallcross says the name change was not meant to create an opportunity for sponsorships.

“We are still the Kentucky Derby Festival it’s just a short hand version and helps with our marketing and advertising campaign, but we are still the Kentucky Derby Festival and we will remain so,” he says.

Shallcross says changes to the marathon and mini marathon routes have generated a few complaints, but they’ve been minimal.

“We’ve had a handful of people who were disappointed about the course change and have asked for a refund and we’re just dealing with that on a case by case basis, but anytime you have 38 years of starting the race in the same location in the south end and you change that there’s going to be some people disappointed with that and we expected that,” he says.

Shallcross says the change was made after participants said they wanted both races to have the same starting and finishing lines. The races will start on Main Street in front of the Slugger Museum and finish at Preston and Witherspoon streets.

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KDF Changes Marathon Route, Participation Limit

Kentucky Derby Festival officials have changed this year’s marathon and mini-marathon

The marathon’s course has been changed so it no longer crosses over itself, which organizers say will clear up congestion. The course will also go through different streets in the Highlands. Festival President Mike Berry says the changes were made for runners, not neighborhood residents.

“They’re still going to be impacted by the races themselves,” he says. “But what we’re hoping is, for the runners themselves, is they will find the course more manageable and more easy to manipulate.”

The finish line for both courses has been moved to Waterfront Park. The total number of runners allowed will also be expanded, from 12 thousand to 15 thousand.

Berry says he’s not sure if that many runners will compete, but there was a waiting list last year.

“We really have no idea in knowing how many above 12,000,” he says. “What we do know is we can assure the participants that up to 15,000 can be accommodated with services, meaning supplies.”

The marathon and mini-marathon are April 24th.