The Kentucky Derby is the most-watched horse race of the year in the United States.
It is widely considered one of the most important sporting events in the country, having grown to become much more than just a horse race since ARISTIDES Won the first edition in 1875.
The 149th running of the Kentucky Derby is Saturday, May 6th- the first Saturday in May.
The pandemic in 2020 pushed the Derby back to September, however, in 2021 it returned to its regular place on the calendar.
As the United States and the rest of the world began adjusting to life in the post-COVID era, things for the most part returned to normal last spring.
Hopefully this year’s event(s) will follow suit with a typical (although there is nothing typical about it) Kentucky Derby.
Here are a couple things Derby goers have come to expect.
The Kentucky Derby has evolved from a sporting event into part of the fabric of American culture.
And as you might expect, there are many traditions associated with the race from the garland of roses presented to the Winner to the Twin Spires that overlook the Churchill Downs stretch. But wait…there’s more.
Other notable traditions include hosting the Kentucky Oaks for 3-year-old fillies on the Friday before the Kentucky Derby; the mint julep, the official drink of the Kentucky Derby.
And let’s not forget the singing of My Old Kentucky Home when the racehorses walk onto the racetrack before the start of the race; celebrities coming from across the country and the world to attend the race; and the Kentucky Derby hat as the focal point of the fashion of the event.
Part of the allure of the Kentucky Derby each year is undoubtedly the party aspect. The infield on Kentucky Derby day typically draws all kinds of fans, from partiers to families to gamblers and more.
Many mint juleps are consumed in the infield at a typical Kentucky Derby, which from 2000 to 2019 drew from 140,000 to 170,000 total fans.
After the pandemic attendance quelled for a couple years, but the Derby drew more than 147,000 fans again in 2022.
There are certainly those that travel to Louisville for the party – both the main event and the dozens of others soirées in Louisville the week leading up to the Kentucky Derby.
Alas, there is much more to it than food and booze.
There are thousands of wide-eyed fans that wander around Churchill Downs to soak in the atmosphere, the gamblers (of course) with their eyes glued to the Racing Form, and others just there to have a great time and socialize on the big day.
It’s a cornucopia of horseracing delights.
But the Kentucky Derby party is far from limited to Churchill and the surrounding area.
Tracks across the country regularly host fans on Derby day, sometimes even when they don’t offer live racing.
In addition, people all over the U.S. host family and friends to celebrate at home- Wine, Dine, and Equine is the theme of the day.
The Daily Racing Blog will have plenty more to offer in regard to the Run For The Roses in the days and weeks leading up to the race.
So stay tuned.
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