The Run for the Red Roses
Hoofs beat against the tan colored dirt. In a frenzied excitement they eat up the floor.Three races in three states, in just five weeks. The Kentucky Derby is the first of three races leading you to the Triple Crown. It is one of the greatest sporting events that has spanned decades. The Derby begins this age-old tradition Saturday, May 2nd, in Louisville, Kentucky.
Horse owners, jockeys, and trainers have all been preparing for this race in what they call, “The Road to the Kentucky Derby”: a series of 35 qualifying races at different tracks across the country. Each year twenty horses have the once-in-a-lifetime chance to run in the race.
The Derby is full of hope, optimism, risk, and anticipation. Not only is it an honor to sit in the stands cheering on these magnificent animals, but it is an honor for the horses to race where the ‘greats of the greats’, like Secretariat, have run before. Every horse has a different story, and a different breeding. These horses are all royals amongst Thoroughbreds.
Many have adored The Derby. The horses, the fashion, and the delicious cocktails. This occasion is imbedded with tradition and sophistication.
If you have ever attended or watched The Kentucky Derby, you will know that there are a few aspects that characterize this glorious event. The men and women’s attire, a Mint Julep cocktail, the Garland of Roses, and singing “ My Old Kentucky Home”.
The race begins promptly at 6:45 pm with the twenty horses dancing into the gates while anxiously awaiting the sound of the bell. True Derby Day goers attend the event from morning ‘til night, mingling and socializing. Men wear summer suits and women wearhats that are works of art. They are all studying racing charts while sipping on mint juleps.
As the horses march out onto the track the crowd begins to sing “My Old Kentucky Home”. Their voices fill the Churchill Downs venue, reverberating and echoing as the horses continue their parade. Even some of the most stoic horse owners will have a glint of emotion in their eyes as Stephen Foster’s words are sung.
And now: the Run for the Roses, the most famous two minutes in sports. A mile and a quarter around the track may only seem like minutes for the viewers but for the jockey and horse it is their destiny. The winning Thoroughbred, draped in 400 roses, stands tall and proud as dozens of photographers and journalists vie for his attention.For some, the sound of the horses hooves thundering through the track is like music to their ears, and for others it is the ornamented hats and traditional cocktails that make this event so special. But all who watch or attend know they have just been witness to something truly spectacular.
Don your audacious hat and use this recipe to celebrate the Derby.
The Mint Julep
2 oz. Bourbon
1 barspoon sugar
1 oz. water
6 mint leaves
Muddle sugar, water and mint in julep cup. Fill half cup with crushed ice. Add bourbon. Stir. Fill with ice. Serve with mint sprig.