As Churchill Downs prepares for the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 4, the iconic horse racing track is marking another special occasion. As WHAS11 reports, Churchill Downs server Jan Loftus celebrates 65 years on the job in 2019.
Loftus started working at Churchill Downs in 1954 at age 15, 16 years after the mint julep was declared the "official" Kentucky Derby drink. Her mother and two aunts had worked there previously, and in the decades since she was hired, Loftus has proven she's a perfect fit for the job.
As a server at the track's famous Stakes Room balcony, Loftus has waited on many celebrity clients. She even served Queen Elizabeth II (or she served the queen's staff, rather). She also became close with her regular customers. One guest showed her their appreciation by naming a horse "Red Headed Jan" after her.
Now, at age 80, Loftus only works at the racetrack about four months out of the year, and she enjoys spending her free time in Florida. But she doesn't plan to retire from her long-held position in the near future. She told WHAS11, "As long as I can do it, I'll do it. When I can't do it anymore, then it'll be time to go. Then maybe I can come out and be a customer."