Local couple own small percentage of Derby winner Always Dreaming

Humbled and grateful, those are some of the words the couple used to describe what they say was a surreal experience this weekend. If you are a longtime WHAS11 viewer, you may recognize them.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – The Winner's Circle of the Kentucky Derby – it’s the place where those in the horse racing world dream of being on the first Saturday in May.

Always Dreaming's victory made that dream a reality for local couple Jeff Lifson and Stephanie Collins, who own a minority interest the Derby winner.

"It is the most hallowed ground in racing, in the world and you don’t want to leave,” Lifson said.

“One day a year it’s open and only a few people ever get to walk over there and stand there and be a part of it and it was just I mean you can’t describe it, it was awesome," Collins said.  

Lifson and Collins may look familiar to you, both covered Derby's and horse racing on WHAS11 years ago. Lifson has since made a career in racing with West Point Thoroughbreds.

The win equally as exciting for Louisville native Collins and Derby city transplant Lifson.

"I'm from Louisville, so I grew up with the Derby watching it, probably in black and white the first time, and I just, you know for a minute you pause and think about all the people you've watched Derby's with, family members, who just aren't here anymore with you and it is bittersweet but it was amazing," Collins said.

"WHAS is what gave me the opportunity to learn about horse racing, and that's where we met, we got married," Lifson said. "So as a transplant maybe you don’t have the same sort of fundamental steeping that my kids and my wife have but I fell in love with racing, racing has put food on our table and a roof on our head over the years since 1993."

While Always Dreaming is heading out Tuesday, the Lifson/Collins family says it will relish these moments for much longer.

"It’s crazy you win something this huge and everyone says oh is it crab cakes now and you're like no wait  I just want to savor this a little bit longer, but of course there is racing," Collins said. 

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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