Best Kentucky Derby Keepsake? Horse Turds in a Jar, What Else?

You, too, can own Silver Charm's leftovers

What's the best Kentucky Derby keepsake of all time? 

Why, 100 percent genuine manure from a Derby-winning horse—of course, of course! 

We're talking about 1997 champ Silver Charm. Who wouldn't want to own his leave-behinds, encapsulated in epoxy resin inside 16-ounce mason jars? 

Ahead of the 2019 edition of the Derby on Saturday, artist Coleman Larkin created 100 of the oddball souvenirs. They went on sale today on the Kentucky for Kentucky website for $200 apiece (holy crap!). A portion of each sale will benefit Old Friends Farm in Georgetown, Kentucky. 

That's where Silver Charm, now 25, resides. Larkin visited the property and harvested the manure straight from the horse's you-know-what.

Was it easy to get the stuff? Nay! says Larkin.

"It's a very long, very ridiculous procedure," he says. "The most difficult step is probably the one where I have to ask the type of people that own million-dollar thoroughbreds if I can please have some horse turds to put in jars."

Hey, sometimes, you gotta suffer for your art. (Or should that be … hay?) 

Some readers might recognize Kentucky for Kentucky as the brainchild of Whit Hiler, the creative madman at Lexington, Kentucky, ad shop Cornett. His past wacky efforts to boost the Blue Grass State include an unofficial "kick-ass" tourism campaign, a series of commercials shot by horses (some issues there with holding the camera steady) and the Kentucky Fun Mall complete with Cocaine Bear (a real party animal). 

"I'm very fortunate because promoting Kentucky is a big part of my job," Hiler says. "My incredibly talented friend Coleman Larkin came to me with this brilliant idea of selling horse turds, and wanted to see if Kentucky for Kentucky would be down to help him promote them. Being that it's weird, funny, timely, awesome, and it promotes Kentucky, I said 'Hell yes!' immediately. I've always loved selling shit—now I get to literally sell some shit!"

Now, normally, a post like this would close with a clever equestrian kicker. Sorry, no can do. Larkin escaped from his escapade unscathed by the Charmer's hooves. 

David Gianatasio
David Gianatasio is senior editor at Clio Awards.