I have always heard about the Kentucky Derby and this year I was finally able to attend. I convinced my co-worker to dive three hours there with me this past weekend for the 144th annual Kentucky Derby. For those of you who don’t know, the Kentucky Derby is a famous horse race that happens on the first Saturday in May. “The Kentucky Derby is the longest running sporting event in the United States, dating back to 1875. The race is often referred to as “The Run for the Roses®” and has continuously produced ‘the most exciting two minutes in sports’; uninterrupted, even when coinciding with profound historical events like The Great Depression and World Wars I & II.” (https://www.kentuckyderby.com/history/kentucky-derby-history) The Kentucky Derby is the first of the Triple Crown Races.
We went without a plan and just showed up at the Churchill Downs track last Saturday. We were dressed to impress in nice dresses with our big derby day hats! The hats are apart of the tradition and are fun to wear.
The ticket booth was still selling general admission tickets day of for $80.00. There were a ton of scalper selling tickets for $60.00, but they made us nervous. After we got our tickets, we headed in the gate. It was raining but that was not going to stop us from having a good time.
The first thing that I wanted was a Mint Julep. A mint Julep is another Derby tradition that you must partake in, if you are of age of course. “Each year, almost 120,000 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 Old Forester Mint Julep Ready-to-Serve Cocktail, 1,000 pounds of freshly harvested mint and 60,000 pounds of ice.” (https://www.kentuckyderby.com/history/kentucky-derby-history)Mint Juleps are made with sugar, water, fresh mint, straight bourbon whiskey, and is served over crushed ice.
I took a sip of my first ever Mint Julep and I fell in love! It was strong but delicious. You could taste the mint and I know that the drink would not be the same over regular ice. I had three over the course of the derby.
I watched the races with my Mint Julep.
And I placed my bets with my Mint Julep.
I was even entertained by people running across the tops of the porta pots while drinking my Mint Julep.
I didn’t eat any of the Derby day food, but if you ever go, bring a lot of cash. They do not accept credit cards and at $14.00 per Mint Julep, I was going through my cash pretty quickly. There are ATMs everywhere but they charge a $5.00 fee…. so beware. Over all, I had a lot of fun at the Derby, but the rain kinda ruined a lot. I didn’t take many pictures because I was wet and cold. I want to go back another year when they do not have record breaking rain fall.