Kentucky Derby | First Saturday in May | Tradition

Well most of you know this but I am from Kentucky!  This saturday is the DERBY, it is always the first saturday in May and in Kentucky it is quite a tradition!  So I thought since I am born and raised in Louisville, KY home of the Derby (the first race of the triple crown) that this week my blog should be slightly dedicated to it.

Today I thought I would start with some tradition, and history behind the Kentucky Derby!

Thank you to the official website of the Kentucky Derby so I will not get my facts mixed up :)

The first Kentucky Derby was run in 1875 making this year the 136th running of the Kentucky Derby!  There are up to 20 horses in the field barring there are no scratches the week of the derby.

Another time honored tradition is the blanket of roses that is only a piece of the trophy that the horse, jockey, owner, and barn receive for winning the face paced race around the track.  This blanket of roses is hand sewn at a local Louisville Kroger, the Kroger Company has been the official florist of the Kentucky Derby since 1987. After taking over the duties from the Kingsley Walker florist, Kroger began constructing the prestigious garland in one of its local stores for the public to view on Derby Eve.   This tradition was something my sister and I took part in by going to the Kroger on Derby eve and getting a little piece of the blanket. It was a nice thing to do as a small child, to be able to walk away with a little rose and then the next day see that same blanket draped across the winner in the winners circle.

courtesy of the official Kentucky Derby site

here is a short video of the garland being made

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-p-qyEnZVj0&feature=related]

They not only get the beautiful blanket of roses they also get a lovely gold trophy and lots of money!

you can find the history behind the trophy here (http://www.kentuckyderby.com/experience/traditions/derby-trophy).

The Kentucky derby and Churchill downs are known for the beautiful twin spires that grace the downs.

They were constructed in 1895 and have given a striking remembrance to the track and Louisville ever since.

If you know anything about Kentucky we love our song ” My Old Kentucky Home”  We sing it at the end of basketball, and football games, and of course it is sung at the beginning of the Race before the call to post of the running of the Kentucky Derby.  Its something I grew up to singing and just sitting her typing have already begun to hum the tune.  Here are the words for your humming.

“My Old Kentucky Home” By Stephen Foster
The sun shines bright in the old Kentucky home,
Tis summer, the people are gay;
The corn-top’s ripe and the meadow’s in the bloom
While the birds make music all the day.
The young folks roll on the little cabin floor
All merry, all happy and bright;
By’n by hard times comes a knocking at the door
Then my old Kentucky home, Good-night!
Weep no more my lady. Oh! Weep no more today!
We will sing one song for my old Kentucky home
For the old Kentucky home, far away.

and a video to give you chills of thousands singing before the race begins.

Then lastly of course you have to have a Mint Juliep!  Its a must on Derby Day, if you go to the derby you can get really fancy ones, but if you stay home to watch on tv and of course throw your own personal party here is the recipe!

The Early Times Mint Julep Recipe 

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • Sprigs of fresh mint
  • Crushed ice
  • Early Times Kentucky Whisky
  • 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 overnight. Make one julep at a time by filling a julep cup with crushed ice, adding one tablespoon mint syrup and two ounces of Early Times Kentucky Whisky. Stir rapidly with a spoon to frost the outside of the cup. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.

Each year, almost 120,000 Early Times Mint Juleps are served over the two-day period of Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby weekend at Churchill Downs Racetrack. That’s a feat that requires more than 10,000 bottles of Early Times Mint Julep Ready-to-Serve Cocktail, 1,000 pounds of freshly harvested mint and 60,000 pounds of ice.  This has become a time honored tradition and believe me I love to share it with all my friends who are not from Kentucky!

Well that is it for tradition and history today!  Tomorrow I will bring you your stylish hats to wear and don at the Derby or at your home party!

[…] and as I was saying earlier the Fillies run for the Lillies so like they do on Derby with the Blanket of roses, they create a blanket of Lillies for today’s race! The local Kroger store had makes this one as well! As I talked about in my earlier post on the Kentucky Derby. […]

[…]  and as I was saying earlier the Fillies run for the Lillies so like they do on Derby with the Blanket of roses, they create a blanket of Lillies for today’s race! The local Kroger store had makes this one as well! As I talked about in my earlier post on the Kentucky Derby. […]

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