My Old Ohio Home

a race at Churchill Downs

Why watch the Derby when I don't bet on horses?
The answer is easy:
my father did.
My mother and brother and sister did too.
We planned dinner around it–
hot dogs and onions, soda and beer–
just like we were there.

It was easy back then–
no hour long pregame,
no endless commercials,
no horse with a cousin that overcame cancer.
Just a couple of minutes of surrogate thrills—
they go into the gate and they're off.

Did he have money on it?
My father I mean. He might have I guess.
I know he made book before he was married,
but that's one thing he didn't pass on to his children.

No, we just sat there and screamed
like we had our allowance on win place and show,
and when it was over all three of us knew:
two weeks till the Preakness, three more till New York.


The picture of the Kentucky Derby is used courtesy of

Most of the information here is about my family or my wife’s, or about families with ties to Cleveland, Ohio, or the area near Rostrevor and Kilkeel in County Down, Ireland. There are also some unrelated families included that I came across. Whatever the case, I hope the material is helpful in your own efforts.
-- Ed Hamilton