A 1953 graduate of the old Flaget High school in Louisville, Hornung grew up with not only a passion for football, but a passion for horse racing and the Kentucky Derby.
“I worked at Churchill Downs when I was a kid,” said Hornung. “I lied about my age when I was 13 to become an Andy Frain usher and make $40 on Saturday, which was a huge amount when I was 13 years old. So this has been a special race for me. If I could win—be a part of a winning Derby, for heaven sakes, this would be the greatest thrill of my life.”
Hornung’s been to almost every Derby since he was a kid, missing the 1963 edition after wagering on NFL games landed him on suspension from the Green Bay Packers. Laying low for the year, Hornung was reinstated and went on to an illustrious career, but gambling hasn’t left his system.
Talking about the horse racing education he obtained from his time at Churchill Downs and the various trainers and jockeys he met along the way, Hornung said, “I learned how to make a wager, and believe me, if my horse would win the Derby, I'm going to break Las Vegas.”
Titletown Five will break from post 10 in Saturday’s 100th running of the Grade 2 $1,000,000 Louisiana Derby where he will face a field of 13 contenders going the 1 1/8 mile route. Jockey Jon Court will be in the irons.
“Win or lose, this has been the greatest year of my life as far as enjoying myself watching the horses,” said Hornung.
Photo: Courtesy PaulHornungAward.com