The Kentucky Derby dates back a long time and there is more to it than just racing horses. There is a two week period prior to the derby where many wonderful events take place. Lots to do, lots to see and the great finally, the race!
What I did not know about the Kentucky Derby:
There is a Festival – The Kentucky Derby takes place the first Saturday in May, so we are only a few weeks away. The festival is the single largest annual event in Louisville, Kentucky. It began in 1935 and took a few years off from 1938 until 1956, Wow, I was a year away from being born.
There is a Royal Court – Among the oldest traditions of the festival tradition this dates back to the 1950s and consists of six young women. These same six women will be directed to preside over other events that are related to the Kentucky Derby. A very prestigious honor as these women are the official representative of both the festival and the city of Louisville. A great honor this is when you consider that only six will chosen from over one hundred applicants.
There is Cruising – This is not an official event never the less it takes place each year. Those participating in this cruising event are motorcycles and cars with many of them showing off their elaborate modifications. A great event for on lookers who also enjoy the street vendors and their unique offerings.
There Was A Queen – In 2007, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, while on a visit to the United States, was among the crowd of racegoers at Churchill Downs. Can you imagine what a memorable day that was for everyone knowing that the Queen of England was right there in the crowd with them watching this historic race?
There are traditions – There is a drink that has long been a tradition among race goers and it plays an important part of the Derby atmosphere. The drink is called a mint julep which is an iced drink. You make a mint julep by mixing bourbon, mint and what is called simple syrup which is a mixture of sugar and water. This historic drink can be poured into a silver julep cup that has been frosted but if you want to drink it like the majority of patrons at Churchill Downs you will buy yourself a souvenir glass and drink from it. This was offered for the very first time back in 1939.
There Is The Best –
- The jockey that won the most races was Eddie Arcaro winning 5 races in 1938, 1941, 1945, 1948 and 1952.
- The horse that was the longest shot to win the Derby with odds of 91-1 was in 1913 and was named Donerail.
- The win with the fastest time was in 1973 and was run in 1:59.4 minutes by the great Secretariat.