Cynthiana native creates official art of Kentucky Derby 150

Cynthiana native creates official art of Kentucky Derby 150
Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 10:38 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Lexington-based muralist Wylie Caudill has been picked to create the official artwork of Kentucky Derby 150.

Caudill says his work will be featured in programs, on tickets and with other branding. He also says he will be making murals located in Louisville and some out-of-state locations, as well.

A Churchill Downs spokesperson says special edition prints of his artwork will go on sale September 16 at the race track and at the Derby Museum.

Born and raised in Cynthiana, Caudill says he was always passionate about art. But it was when he left home to attend EKU that he shaped his style.

“You know when I was in college, I was doing a lot of chalk art and I kind of became known for large scale art, in general,” said Caudill.

Caudill says he finds the format fun and forgiving.

“Like, you can’t really stand very close to a mural and see the whole thing,” Caudill said. “You have to stand really far back, and your brain just automatically puts together brush strokes to create an image.”

Those larger-than-life images dot his hometown, downtown Lexington and beyond. But he sees this next project as his biggest yet.

“The Kentucky derby is just the epitome of Kentucky,” said Caudill.

Caudill is the artist behind the 150th run for the roses - with roses holding a heavy influence on his piece.

“Every rose has a little bit of a meaning. there’s the red rose, which are really obvious,” Caudill said. “But the pink and white roses were presented to the winning horse, historically, before red roses.”

He added that the blue roses were of personal significance and the gold were to commemorate this 150th running of the race.

Caudill hopes the piece captures 150 years of history, while also celebrating 150 more to come.

As the world waits for the first weekend in May, this Kentuckian waits for them to see his talent painted all over the most exciting two minutes in sports.

“It’s my first time that my artwork has been so global, and I’m letting it sink in, but it definitely hasn’t yet,” said Caudill.

The 150th Kentucky Derby is set for May 4, 2024.