The man behind the horn: Meet the Kentucky Derby bugler

The man behind the horn: Meet the Kentucky Derby bugler

The bugler at Churchill Downs knows you might have a question, a question he fields more than any other question, a question surely posed to many a bugler through time, an American question, a nosy question, a polite question: So what’s your full-time job?

Well, the bugler doesn’t just turn up on the Kentucky Derby infield and NBC telecast once a year to play the 34 notes of “Call to the Post,” the iconic strand of music technically named “First Call.” No, the bugler plays that and the national anthem through all the races at all the meets across all the year at Churchill Downs, which is not to mention that Steve Buttleman also plays at the Keeneland track in Lexington and at wedding receptions, Derby Museum functions, sporting events, corporate events and military funerals. “Every vet deserves to have a live bugler,” he said Friday morning. “It’s the least I can do for them.”

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