Kentucky Derby Breakdown

If you’ve grown up in Louisville, you’re probably quite familiar to the Kentucky Derby. There’s no way to avoid the excitement and fanfare that comes with the big day. If you’re new to town, trying to figure out all the specifics of Derby can be overwhelming. Here’s the basics that you need to know for the 140th Kentucky Derby.

The Kentucky Derby is the first of three races that make up the Triple Crown. The ultimate goal of any Derby winner is to also win the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes, making them the Triple Crown Winner and a legend in their own right. Few have done it and it’s an extraordinary feat to accomplish for any thoroughbred.

The Kentucky Derby is always held on the first Saturday in May. The Grade 1 stakes race is open for three year old thoroughbreds, who travel 1.25 miles around the Churchill Downs track. Their post positions are drawn the Wednesday prior to the race, as buzz increases around the track where Derby horses can be seen during their early morning workouts.

A wide variety of guests attend the Derby. The crown jewel of the ladies outfits are their Derby hats. Many celebrities and dignitaries can be spotted in Millionaire’s Row, located at the finish line. The Turf Club and Stakes Room are also sought after spots to view the finish. Many locals want to attend the Derby and can be found in the infield. While it’s difficult to see the race itself, guests still enjoy the Derby atmosphere.

It’s important to note that a lot of locals head to the track on the Thursday or Friday for The Oaks. On Saturday, they may attend a Derby Party or even host one. Whether you’re at the track on Saturday, or cheering on your favorite from an off-site party, there are a few traditions you need to incorporate. Do you know the words to My Old Kentucky Home? The state song, written by Stephen Foster, is sang while the horses come out at the post parade. If you don’t know the words, study up or be prepared to read the words posted at the track or on your television screen. It’s a beautiful moment you won’t want to miss.

Who can enjoy a great event without good food? The Kentucky Derby is known for its Derby Pie. The delicious dessert consists of chocolate, pecans and walnuts in a flaky crust. Depending on the creator, it can also include butterscotch, caramel or Kentucky bourbon. The drink most associated with the Kentucky Derby is the Mint Julep. It’s a mixed drink consisting of bourbon, mint leaves, powdered sugar and water. If you’re at the track, make sure you request the collector’s glass with your Mint Julep.

Once the trumpeter gives the call, make sure you’re paying close attention. The Kentucky Derby only lasts two minutes, making it one of the fastest and most exciting two minutes in sports. Once the winner crosses the finish line, they will be adorned with a beautiful garland of red roses. That moment is almost here, so pick your favorite horse and get ready to celebrate the 140th Run for the Roses!

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