Gov. Beshear Unveils 2024 Governor’s Derby Celebration Poster 

Governor’s poster celebrates 150th Kentucky Derby, honors Black jockeys

FRANKFORT, Ky. (April 11, 2024) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear joined Lexington artist Ken Burney and Kentucky Derby Festival President and CEO Matt Gibson during the Team Kentucky Update for the official unveiling of the 2024 Governor’s Derby Celebration poster.

“Our thriving horse racing industry has been a source of inspiration for artists. Whether it’s the dedication of the jockeys, the power of the Thoroughbreds or the grandness of the crowds, these elements have given birth to artistic masterpieces that we, as Kentuckians, take great pride in,” said Gov. Beshear. “As we celebrate the Kentucky Derby’s 150th running, I want to thank Ken Burney for his work honoring three of the Kentucky Derby’s famous Black jockeys, whose achievements have helped shape the event into the renowned competition it is today.”

To celebrate the 150th Kentucky Derby, Burney created this year’s poster to pay homage to some of the Kentucky Derby’s famous Black jockeys, who have made significant contributions to the sport. The poster depicts Oliver Lewis riding Aristides in 1875, Isaac Murphy riding Buchanan in 1884 and Isaac Lewis riding Montrose in 1887. 

“I’m honored to have this opportunity to create a historical piece of art for the Governor’s Derby Celebration poster to commemorate this momentous 150th Kentucky Derby,” said Ken Burney. “I painted these Black athletes to celebrate their amazing accomplishments and contributions to horse racing. It is my hope that people will learn more about their stories and share them to inspire future generations.”

The Kentucky Derby is the longest-running sporting event in U.S. history and an integral part of Kentucky’s horse racing history. Since 1875, the commonwealth has produced “the most exciting two minutes in sports.”

“Our strong Thoroughbred racing industry isn’t just an economic engine for tourism but also a source of inspiration for artists,” said Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet Secretary Lindy Casebier. “Ken Burney’s work beautifully captures the rich history of three prominent Black jockeys who played pivotal roles in shaping the Kentucky Derby. Thank you for lending your talents to the Governor’s Derby Celebration poster collection.”

The Kentucky Derby Festival orchestrates the commonwealth’s award-winning, two-week celebration leading up to the Kentucky Derby.

“The Kentucky Derby Festival’s mission is to bring the community, both locals and visitors, together in celebration every spring and we’re proud to be part of what makes this time of year so special in the commonwealth,” said Matt Gibson, Kentucky Derby Festival president and CEO. “Our Official Poster image has been an iconic symbol of the season for more than 40 years, and we’re excited to share this year’s design by Louisville artist Richard Sullivan with Festival fans.”

Louisville artist Richard Sullivan joined Gibson in presenting the 2024 Official Kentucky Derby Festival Poster to the Governor and First Lady. This year’s poster, titled “Liberated,” is the 44th poster in the Kentucky Derby Festival series and is available for purchase online

Gibson also presented the official 2024 Gold Pegasus Pin to the Governor and First Lady on behalf of the Kentucky Derby Festival. 

The 150th Kentucky Derby will be held on Saturday, May 4, at Churchill Downs in Louisville.

To watch the unveiling ceremony, visit Gov. Beshear’s YouTube page. Click here for photos from today’s Team Kentucky Update.

To purchase the 2024 Governor’s Derby Celebration Poster, visit the Historic Properties Online Store.

To learn more about Kentucky artist Ken Burney, visit


Editor’s note: For photos from the poster unveiling, click here.