April 30, 2010


So the Derby is amazing, we have established that. But alas, we average folk are sequestered to the infield unless we want to shell out the big bucks for a box. And I don’t have the big bucks. So most Louisvillians go to the Oaks instead. The Oaks is the Derby for fillies (girl horses) and is on Friday. To Louisvillians, it is a big of a deal as the Derby – that’s why Oaks is a holiday in high school. No one would be at school anyways, so it was always closed the Friday before the Derby. One of my poor science teachers in high school (she was from Boston or Rhode Island – something like that), when she saw Oaks Day as a holiday on the syllabus, thought we had a day off to celebrate nature. Oh how wrong she was.

The Oaks is just as big of a day of races. You see, the Derby and the Oaks are not the only races to run on those days. There are usually around ten races each day, with the Oaks and Derby falling towards the end, but not the last race. And the other races run on today and tomorrow have huge purses and draw the best horses in the sport. For example, Rachel Alexandra will be running today in another race than the Oaks (she already dominated that one). Besides the difference in the gender of the horses running, there are other minor differences between the races. The winner of the Oaks is draped in a garland of 133 lilies whereas the Derby winner gets red roses. Also, instead of the Mint Julep, the drink for the Oaks is the Lily. So tasty. It has vodka, sweet and sour mix, cranberry juice, and triple sec. Yum. But the fashion is the same, as is the feel at the track. And this year, Oaks is the day to go since Louisville is supposed to get HEAVY rain on Saturday and today is 85 and sunny.

For the past two years, the signature of Oaks day has been the Pink Out. Churchill Downs partners with Susan G. Komen for the Cure ® and Horses and Hope to host the Pink Out. They encourage everyone to incorporate pink into their Oaks outfit (very fitting for the race for the fillies). One of my parents’ friends last year sported his pink Chuck Taylors with his suit. I want to be my parents when I grow up.

Anyways, I am off to have a Bloody Mary, enjoy the weather, good friends, and some beer pong.

Talk Derby to me.

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