“My Old Kentucky Home“ is an anti-slavery ballad originally as written by Stephen Foster in 1852. Foster likely composed the song after having been inspired by the narrative of popular anti-slavery novelist Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin….while likely referencing imagery witnessed on his visits to the Bardstown, Kentucky farm called Federal Hill. Today, the song My Old Kentucky Home remains an important composition due to its role in the evolution of American songwriting and as one of the most influential songs in American culture.
However, the more popular notoriety of Stephen Foster’s My Old Kentucky Home comes from the fact that it is a tradition at every Kentucky Derby Horse Rase…..that the song be played and sung by all in attendance….as the horses come from the stables and paddock onto the race track at Churchill Downs…. and move past the grandstand towards the starting gate for the start of the race each year…..as seen in this video herewith being sung by the Stephen Foster Singers.