Finding Inspiration in: Derby Day!
Pedigree, pride and pomp all combine, year after year, on the grandiose backdrop of Churchill Downs to make the Kentucky Derby the “most exciting two minutes in sports.”
Americans have had a love affair with the Derby since 1875, making it the oldest continuous sporting event in the United States. The first race was won by a chestnut stallion by the name of Aristides, with a time of 2:37.75. The Stakes Record is held by the infamous Secretariat, a huge chestnut colt who, in 1973, won the run for the roses in 1:59.2. Secretariat won the U.S. Triple Crown that year by capturing not only the Derby, but the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes as well, making him one of the most well known thoroughbreds in racing history.
Just as the stories of triumph and heartbreak make us adore the Derby, so too do the rituals and traditions. A few examples:
It wouldn’t be Derby Day without Kentucky Whisky!
The official Kentucky Derby Mint Julep Recipe:
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 cups water
- Sprigs of fresh mint
- Crushed ice
- Kentucky Whisky or Bourbon
- Silver Julep Cups
Make a simple syrup by boiling sugar and water together for five minutes. Cool and place in a covered container with six or eight sprigs of fresh mint, then refrigerate until chilled. Make one julep at a time by filling a julep cup with crushed ice, adding one tablespoon of mint syrup and two ounces of Kentucky Whisky/Bourbon. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.
It’s amazing to watch the colors at a race track, the small jockeys look like something you’d see at an Egg Hunt on Easter Sunday. This isn’t exactly a fashion statement being made by the horse owner’s wife, but sort of:
The tradition of jockey silks started during the time of King Charles II, when the racing silk was adopted to help spectators identify their horse during a race. The bright and distinguishable colors represented the chosen colors of the horse owner, and this continues in racing today. Because there are so many farms and owners, the silks have become even more colorful and identifiable.
My [not mine] Old Kentucky Home:
It is a moving moment when the horses step onto the track and the University of Louisville marching band begins to play “My Old Kentucky Home.” This is when the pride runs deep, and the crowd is moved to silence, as they watch the stream of magnificent animals parade from the paddock to the starting gate. And then the race begins!
Who’s Your Pick?
Mine is Union Rags. With a strong pedigree, a proven trainer (he trained the 2006 winner, Barbaro) and a female owner, Phyllis Wyeth, I am going with the #4 horse and 9-2 odds.
I hope you have a great Derby Day!