Meet the Kentucky Derby Duo of Ocean Beach

by on September 27, 2021 · 3 comments

in Ocean Beach

By Judi Curry

Ocean Beach is a melting pot of many different types of individuals, from humans, to pet pigs, to birds, to cats, and, in this case, dogs. Seldom does anyone get to meet a dog and his owner like I am going to introduce you to today. And they like to call Ocean Beach their home.  Without any further introduction, let me introduce you to Kentucky – the human – and Derby, the surfing dog.

It wouldn’t surprise me if you already know them, or least know about them.  Have you ever watched the “Amazing Race”? There is a similar program, funded and produced by Amazon called “The Pack”. If you do not know about it let me give you a brief summary; it is an American reality competition streaming television series pitting owners and their dogs against each other.  There were 10 episodes, beginning November, 2020, and were twelve contestants.  They went all over the world performing amazing fetes in competition with each other.

The winning duo received a $500,000 prize and an additional $250,000 went to a charity of their choice.  There is quite a summary of the program on “Wikipedia” if you are interested in knowing more about the program.  Kentucky and Derby competed in this program, and although they did not win the grand prize, they came very close to never having to work again. They lost the 10th and final round by 7 seconds!

So, who are these adventuresome individuals?

All photos provided by Kentucky.

Let’s meet Kentucky first.  Believe it or not I met him when I needed a faucet changed on the valve to my swimming pool.  I called Glenn Millar – “Call Glenn Again” Handyman for some help with the problem. He told me that he had this excellent person he could send out, but he was not always available.  I asked Glenn why not – after all, I couldn’t put water in my pool the way the valve was working – and then he began telling me about Kentucky.  I became very intrigued with him and said I would wait until he was available.  I am so glad I did. (And yes, he fixed the valve!)

Kentucky is from Atlanta and has been a resident of Ocean Beach for about 6 years. He said when he came here the first time he knew he had found his home.  He loved Ocean Beach.  He loved walking the streets without shoes; he loved talking to the people in the area; he liked the informality of the area;  he just liked everything about it.  He felt that he needed a change from Atlanta, where I suspect he was something of a playboy, burning the candle at both ends.  He had found a new home.  And he wanted to learn how to surf!

Derby, a golden doodle, was also born in Atlanta, and had lived with another family that could not devote the time to him that he needed. Kentucky had never had a dog, and when he was asked if he wanted Derby – who had another name at the time – he said he’d try it.  He wanted to change the name and went on line and asked for suggestions.  It was no surprise that with his name – Kentucky – that people suggested Derby – and so another Kentucky-Derby was born.

Kentucky and Derby bonded almost immediately with one exception – it appeared that Derby was the “Alpha” and led Kentucky around instead of visa-versa.  Kentucky was learning how to surf and Derby wanted to learn how also.  So much so, that there was a dog/person competition in Imperial Beach in 2016 that Kentucky signed up for. He had only been surfing 6 weeks and he that he still was not comfortable surfing. But Derby was – and by following Derby’s lead, they did quite well in the competition – and so  new challenges were born.

One of the first things was when Kentucky met a man that made hoodies – and it was decided that one enterprise would be human and matching dog hoodies.  Then it was suggested that matching sunglasses be made; and pretty soon it was difficult to distinguish the difference between Kentucky and Derby. And the reason for that?

Kentucky had his hair cut in a Mohawk.  He almost immediately met a beautician that said she could cut Derby’s hair into a Mohawk also and could dye it blue if he wanted. Kentucky wanted – and before you knew it, his Mohawk was also died blue. Can you imagine these two walking down the streets of Ocean Beach each wearing a tie-dyed hoodie; matching sunglasses; blue Mohawks, etc. And they do not just walk – Kentucky has a motorcycle with a side-car and Derby loves to go for rides in the sidecar sporting his sunglasses!

All of this sounds very frivolous – but here is the outstanding repercussion of their travails – they have just finished therapy training, where they are going into hospitals, schools, etc. to aid people that are ill, lonely, etc.  They just finished working with disabled youth in Julian and brought a shining light to many of the inhabitants.

They do many charitable events with the proceeds going to the Helen Woodward Animal Shelter. They have even had a “Kentucky and Derby” day named for them in February.

Kentucky is in the process of writing a children’s book of the adventures he and Derby are having.  It sounds fascinating and I cannot wait to be able to read it to my grandchildren.

And guess what he is doing this week?  There probably are not many of you that remember the Groucho Marx program “You Bet Your Life.” Groucho hosted a question and answer game show that at times was hilarious.  Well, it has been resurrected with Jay Leno as the host, and Kentucky is going into quarantine on Tuesday because he will be a contestant on the show the following day.  I do not know when it will air, but Kentucky will let me know so I can add that date to this article.  Unfortunately, Derby will not be there.

I asked Kentucky what his end goal was and he said that “therapy is the goal.”  He wants to be able to travel to different schools and hospitals bringing happiness to those he meets; he wants to write books based on his travels. He has already established his hoodie, sunglass, bandanas, t-shirts, business and for every hoodie sold he donates $1 to the Helen Woodward Animal Shelter. (

Recently Derby was “married” at the “Elvis Wedding Chapel” in Las Vegas.  That is a story in itself and may become a sequel to this one.

There is no question that this is a remarkable individual that just happened to find a dog that is as remarkable as he is.  This duo will be a household word in the very near future.  I never thought I would ever say I am glad that my swimming pool valve broke, but it was one of the most fortuitous events I have experienced in a  long time.  This are easier ways for you to meet Kentucky and Derby.  Just look for them on television; at Holiday Parades; on the streets of Ocean Beach. I guarantee you will recognize them immediately!

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

judi September 27, 2021 at 12:12 pm

So looking forward to the TV Program!


Candy September 27, 2021 at 12:33 pm

Judi, Thank you for such a happy positive article. Kentucky & Derby are certainly inspiring & doing good.


Debbie September 27, 2021 at 2:35 pm

Yes, I see them cruising OB and bringing smiles to many faces :-)

Thank you for the story.


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