There is a 147th run for the roses on Saturday in Kentucky, the first Jewel of the Triple Crown and the “most exciting two minutes in sports.”
A day for wild and crazy hats (no red caps, puh-leaze), spring dresses, and mint juleps. And if you’re watching from the comfort of home, you won’t need to consider whether to wear the mask in the Kentucky outdoors or not.
I’ll skip the mint julep — just hand me the bourbon, or make mine a Kentucky Mule (add ginger beer and lime garnish).
The official bourbon of the Kentucky Derby is Woodford Reserve….. and this is the mint julep.
2 oz. Woodford Reserve
1/2 oz. Simple Syrup
3 Fresh Mint Leaves
The favorite has been Essential Quality, a two-year-old who has won all five of his previous races. This beautiful horse should be easy to spot and follow. Other names to listen for are Rock Your World, Hot Rod Charlie, Known Agenda, Highly Motivated, and Mandaloun.
The winner takes a garland made with over 400 red roses, $3 million, and a lot of press coverage until the second jewel of the crown, the Preakness Stakes, on May 15. The final leg at the Belmont Stakes is on June 5.
But it’s not likely any of the contenders will compare to the 9th winner of the Triple Crown in 1973, Secretariat. Big Red, at 16.2 hands, won his Kentucky Derby by two and a half lengths with a standing track record 1:59 2/5.
At the Preakness he also won by two and a half lengths.
But at the Belmont, I remember it well……..Secretariat ran the race like a madman and won by 31 lengths.
And in his retirement, another astonishing feat, siring over 600 foals!
So grab your hats, some roses (or tulips will have to do in the cool Midwest), a bourbon cocktail or mocktail, and enjoy your Friday evening — but set your alarms for the 1 1/4 mile Derby tomorrow afternoon, post time at 6:57pmET. And raise a glass to Big Red, the most astonishing thoroughbred horse in history. Cheers!