Normandy Invasion: Sentimental Derby bet to remember WWII heroes


by WHAS11

Posted on May 3, 2013 at 7:24 PM

Updated Friday, May 3 at 8:53 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky.(WHAS11) -- There are a number of stories to be found at Churchill Downs at this time of the year and some very special meetings on the track's backside.

There was a history lesson on Friday on the backside of Churchill Downs and a salute to World War II veterans who sacrificed so much. 

A big crowd on the backside usually signals a derby horse, but not this time. The stars on Friday were real life heroes from World War II about to meet the number five horse, Normandy Invasion.

The year 1944 those allied forces coming ashore in Normandy to drive the Germans out of France.
Alan Reeves now 91 was there working for then General Dwight D. Eisenhower.

“I was never concerned -- I didn't think we would never win the war,” Reeves said.

Reeves and three other decorated World War II veterans who took part in that invasion and all of them were honored at Churchill Downs on Friday. The owner of Normandy Invasion even thanked them himself.

Owner Rick Porter invited these heroes to meet the horse. The naming of that horse inspired by a trip Porter took to the invasion site in France.

Alan Reeves was watching TV one day and saw the horse racing and wondered what inspired the name--so he began calling.

Four veterans from D-Day in town for our Derby Day stole the show on the Backside. On Saturday there is a chance that Normandy Invasion may steal the show. It’s a sentimental bet to remember the sacrifices of heroes still among us.