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How To Throw A Kentucky Derby Party

Jeff Gentner, Getty Images

The Kentucky Derby may be the fastest two minutes in sports, but it takes two full weeks to celebrate the event in Louisville each year.  Unless you have an excess of vacation time and a whole lot of gas money to burn, a trip to Louisville may not be in the cards.  Why not have a Derby party at home?

You don’t have to like horse racing to have a Derby party.  For 360+ days of the year most people don’t follow the sport.  But just as it’s fun to become a curling fan every four years during the Winter Olympics, it’s fun to become a horse racing fan for the Kentucky Derby.  And who doesn’t want an excuse to get together for some good food and drinks?  I’ve gone to Louisville for the race many times.  Let me share a few of the things I’ve learned over the years.

How To Throw A Derby Party

  1. Learn the language.  It’s “Derby”, not “Kentucky Derby”.  There are other “Derbys” in the world, but on the first Saturday of May none of them count.
  2. Wear a hat.  Ladies, this is your department.  As far as I can tell, the bigger the better, and pin some roses on it.  Guys, just wear your old Detroit Tigers hat and tell everyone the Old English D stands for Derby.
  3. Make a Mint Julep.  The Mint Julep is the official drink of Derby.  You’ll find a few variations of the drink, here’s one, but one thing that they all need is bourbon.  If you think you can just substitute whatever whisky you have sitting in the cabinet, don’t do it.  It’s just not the same.
  4. Pick a horse.  Everyone has an idea.  Pick the darkest horse.  Pick a horse with a proven jockey.  Don’t take the horse coming out of Post 1.  Anything can happen.
  5. Get the race on TV.  It doesn’t quite approach the week long pregame show of the Super Bowl, but you can start watching Derby programming early on Saturday.

Popularity is growing so why not have some fun with it?

Who is your favorite for Derby?

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