Churchill Downs today released the 2021 “Official Art of the Kentucky Derby” by Breathitt County, Ky., artist Ralph Fugate. Fugate’s style of “impressionistic realism” utilizes bold, vibrant colors to capture the sheer beauty and power of the horse, the colorful silks, the enthusiasm of the crowd and the excitement of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve and the Longines Kentucky Oaks.
2021 represents the fifth year in a row that Churchill Downs has tapped a talented Kentucky artist to capture the excitement of the Kentucky Derby and Oaks. Ralph Fugate is a self-taught professional sports artist specializing in Thoroughbred horse racing. As a child growing up in Eastern Kentucky, Fugate always loved to draw, but it wasn’t until age 25 that he picked up a paintbrush for the first time. Having nurtured an interest in horses and horse racing throughout his life, the artist soon turned his creative passion into painting them.
Fugate’s “Official Art of the Kentucky Derby” will be featured on the 2021 Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks official racing programs and a variety of merchandise, including Derby and Oaks 147 limited edition artist-signed and numbered posters with embossed and metallic ink treatments. Other merchandise featuring the artwork includes apparel, posters and postcards available at select retail outlets including the Kentucky Derby Museum and www.KentuckyDerbyStore.com.
The 147th Kentucky Derby is scheduled for Saturday, May 1, 2021, and the Oaks will be held on Friday, April 30.