LOUISVILLE, Ky. — We are about to turn the calendar to December and that means it is time to start thinking about the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby.

Churchill Downs released the 2021 "Official Art of the Kentucky Derby" featuring artist Ralph Fugate. Fugate is from Breathitt County and his style is described in the release as "impressionistic realism." Fugate's depiction of the Oaks and Derby utilizes bright colors to capture the pageantry of each day, from the silks, the crowd, and to the horses.  


Ralph Fugate's picture of the Kentucky Oaks. COURTESY CHURCHILL DOWNS


For the fifth year in a row, Churchill Downs has selected a Kentucky artist to capture the beauty of the Kentucky Oaks and Derby. Fugate is a self-taught artist who specializes in Thoroughbred horse racing. Growing up in Eastern Kentucky, Fugate always enjoyed drawing, but it wasn't until he turned 25 that he picked up a paintbrush for the first time. 

The "Official Art of the Kentucky Derby" will be featured on the 2021 Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks official racing programs and a lot of merchandise. Fans will also be able to purchase limited edition, artist-signed Derby and Oaks 147 posters. Fugate's work will also adorn apparel, postcards, and posters. You will be able to buy the items all across the state at various stores and the Kentucky Derby Museum and the Kentucky Derby Store. 

Deborah Harbsmeier is the executive producer of digital content for Spectrum News 1 Kentucky. The award-winning producer has been in television news for 30 years.