April 21, 2010

The Run for the Roses

I realized I was making an error of monstrous proportions believing that anyone really understood the full awesome-ness of the Kentucky Derby. I mean, if the Queen deigns the Derby cool enough for her attendance, than it is pretty amazing. British people are automatically cooler than Americans, ergo whatever the Ruler Supreme of the Brits chooses to do is important. In business terms, it’s a Grade I stakes race for three year old Thoroughbred horses that is held every year on the first Saturday of May. It is the first race of the Triple Crown and a horse has not won the Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978. I thought Big Brown had it in 2008 – he just gave up…loser. And according to Wikipedia (which must mean it’s true), the Derby is considered the most prestigious horse race in the world. Final fun fact – did you know the Kentucky Derby is the oldest, continuous sporting even in the US?? It's been running since 1875 - that means it's cooler than say...The Masters! Take that Augusta!

Some fun traditions:
  • Every year the winner of the Derby has a garland of 554 red roses draped over his haunches. You can go to Kroger to watch them assemble it the night before. And of course, when I think of flowers, I think of Kroger Supermarkets....
  • Every year, one of my favorite moments, is when they play My Old Kentucky Home when the horses step on the track for the Derby. Every year I get chills. It’s not even the song really. It’s the masses of (drunk) people singing a song together that touches on the spirit and life of the state. Goooood times.
  • Churchill Downs serves approximately 120,000 mint juleps over Derby weekend. I think last year I drank 738 of them.
  • Bobby Flay comes to the Derby every year. And last year I saw Mario Batali. Louisville loves food. We’ll get more into Derby food later. And Jessica Simpson came with Nick Lachey – see that Newlyweds episode??
  • The mint juleps at the track are served in a mint julep “glass” and lists the winning horse from every Derby. This glass is second best if you can’t get your hands on a Wakefield-Scearce julep cup. It's a really good idea to give intoxicated peole their next drink in a glass. I think I broke 727 of the glasses from my juleps last year.
More to come! Can’t believe there is more awesome to the Derby than what you have already seen??? Be prepared to be amazed – shocked – and on your way to Louisville to celebrate.

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