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Breathitt County artist’s work chosen to represent Kentucky Derby

Published: Dec. 29, 2020 at 8:12 PM CST
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JACKSON, Ky. (WYMT) - A local Kentucky artist’s work has been chosen by Churchill Downs as their “Official Art of the Kentucky Derby” for 2021. Breathitt County sports artist Ralph Fugate, was shocked when he heard the news.

“I called my kids, my son Jack and my daughter Abbey and I said you’re not going to believe what just happened, I just got an opportunity of a life time. Of course, we’re still celebrating,” Sports Artist Ralph Fugate said.

Fugate’s work will be featured on the official racing programs and a variety of merchandise for the upcoming Kentucky Derby. He hopes the COVID-19 pandemic will not affect the event.

“We’ve got five months from now so hopefully it kind of opens back up and the crowds able to come and it be a typical Kentucky Derby, which would be really nice,” Fugate said.

Fugate says this commission has already opened up new possibilities.

“You never know, that’s one of the things I’ve always said is if the right person could see my work, who knows what opportunities lie ahead and I’m living that to this day,” Fugate said.

Fugate says he’s proud of how far he has come as an artist.

“You never give up, I’ve had a lot of tragedy, I’ve had a lot of setbacks and really it’s not how many times you fall down or get knocked down, it’s how fast you can get back up,” Fugate said.

2021 marks the fifth year Churchill Downs have chosen a Kentucky artist to represent the Derby.

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