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The equestrian-loving British sovereign was clearly enjoying her day at the races. Although she's visited Kentucky in the past, this was the first time she's had a chance to witness its most famous sporting event
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During her trip to the track the Queen was shown around the Churchill Downs Museum, where the Derby trophy is on display
Photo: © Getty Images

Joining the royal party on 'millionaire's row' were close friends and fellow horse breeder William Farish - a former US Ambassador to Britain - and his wife Sarah. The pair played host to the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at their Land's End farm, as they did during her last state visit in 1991
Photo: © Getty Images

The Queen enjoys racing action at the Kentucky Derby

7 MAY 2007

It was all over in just two exciting minutes, but the Kentucky Derby was a race the Queen has waited a long while to see. An avid horse racing enthusiast the British monarch attended the famous sporting event in Louisville, Kentucky, mid way through her six-day state trip to the US to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the first English settlement.

Although this visit is the Queen's fourth to the state, it is the first time she's witnessed the legendary race. The royal matriarch and her husband Prince Philip arrived four hours before the Saturday event, and were given a tour of the Churchill Downs Museum where the Derby trophy was on display.

In keeping with the traditional association of racing and fancy titfers, the 81-year-old British sovereign had donned a lime green hat with a fuchsia trim for the occasion. She was greeted with a round of applause as she took her place in the balcony of a plush, £65,000, fourth-floor box - known as millionaires' row - while a marching band played the race anthem, My Kentucky Home.

Smiling broadly, she watched the on-course action with close friends William Farish, the former US Ambassador, and his wife Sarah, on whose 1,800-acre central Kentucky farm she was staying. As a nod to the royal guests the party enjoyed cucumber sandwiches and scones, served with English breakfast tea, before watching thoroughbred Street Sense thunder down the track to victory.

The British monarch, a keen horse breeder, has a special connection with Kentucky, having bought numerous horses from studs in the Bluegrass State.

On Monday she continued her US visit with a trip to Washington DC where she was scheduled to meet with President Bush.

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