Casino host finds splendor in Blue Grass

May 7, 2002 9:24 AM

DAN’S A BIG MAN IN BLUEGRASS COUNTRY: When it came time for the connections of the three-year-old Danthebluegrassman to select a starting post position in the Kentucky Derby, the group huddled to discuss the strategy. The national television camera focused on owner Mike Pegram and Trainer Bob Baffert.

But when the decision was made, it was well-known Las Vegas casino host Dan Chandler who smilingly walked to the post position board and selected No. 17 for the horse that was named in his honor.

Chandler, son of former Kentucky Gov. "Happy" Chandler, has been a fixture at Churchill Downs since his youth. During his travels he befriended Pegram, a millionaire McDonald’s franchise owner, and Baffert, and was promised to have a horse named after him. That promised was fulfilled with Danthebluegrassman. Unfortunately, the horse developed physical problems on the morning of the Derby and and was scratched.

Still, for Chandler, the episode gave him his Andy Warhol 15 minutes of fame.