May 4, 2022. Louisville, KY. – The Belle of Louisville is still the queen of the Ohio River, after being declared the winner of the Liberty Financial Great Steamboat Race. Following deliberation by the judges, the boat Captains, Derby Festival Officials, and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, the hometown Belle was deemed the only “authentic” steamboat to cross the finish line first in the 60th annual race. The Belle was competing against her up-river rival the Belle of Cincinnati and southern rival, the American Countess.
“It wouldn’t be Derby Week without racing on the river and some steamboat shenanigans,” said Matt Gibson, Kentucky Derby Festival President and CEO. “Congratulations to the Belle of Louisville! We’re always rooting for our hometown favorite.”
Said Mayor Greg Fischer, “It’s a great week of racing in Louisville! Thanks to all the boats for participating, but there’s only one Great Steamboat!”
“The judge’s recognized what makes the Belle of Louisville a winner. The silver antlers are staying in Louisville where they belong,” said Belle of Louisville Captain Mark Doty.
The Belle of Louisville was presented with the 12-point silver antlers at the post-race award ceremony. The Belle also won the last race in 2021 and has won a total of 30 times since the river rivalry began in 1963.
The three boats participated in a traditional race on the river. The 14-mile course on the Ohio River started and finished at the Clark Memorial Bridge. This is the first time the American Countess was part of the race.
Liberty Financial is the Title Sponsor of this year’s race, joining Contributing Sponsors Brough Brothers Distillery and PPL Therapeutic Services, PLLC; Supporting Sponsor Creative Charters; and Media Sponsor: Q103.1. Official Bourbon is Brough Brothers Distillery.
About Kentucky Derby Festival
Since 1956, the Derby Festival has worked to bring the community together in celebration. The Festival is an independent community organization supported by 4,000 volunteers, 400 businesses and civic groups, Pegasus Pin sponsorships and event participation. This involvement has made the Festival the largest single attended event in Kentucky and one of the leading community celebrations in the world.