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Kentucky Derby traditions add to the most exciting two minutes

Brittney Elkins

The Kentucky Derby is the first race in the US Triple Crown.

Derby Day is Saturday, May 5

The Kentucky Derby is Saturday, May 5, so dust off your most flamboyant hats and get ready for the most exciting two minutes in sports.

The 138th Kentucky Derby will be raced Saturday by twenty Thoroughbred colts. No fillies will race in the Run for the Roses this year.

The Kentucky Derby is a one and a quarter miles race at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky and is raced by three-year-old Thoroughbred horses. It’s the oldest continuous sporting event in the United States and marks the first leg of the US Triple Crown, followed by the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. To win the Triple Crown, the horse must win all three races.

Tradition abounds at the Kentucky Derby. Second only to the horses (and perhaps upstaging the stars of the show at times) are the hats.The tradition of hats at the Kentucky derby dates back to the era when men and women of the upper-class were expected to wear a hat outside of the house. Now it is a time-honored tradition, up there with Mint Juleps and blankets of roses.

The Mint Julep is the traditional beverage of the Kentucky Derby. The sweet minty drink made with fine Kentucky Bourbon keeps the spectators cool and starts a nice buzz for the revelers in the infield.

While those in the infield have little chance of seeing the race, they still enjoy the essence of the Kentucky Derby. They show up to the general admission area for the party, and the hats here are typically more of the Mad Hatter variety.

Whether seated in Millionaire’s Row, the lavish box seats for the rich and famous, or reveling in the infield, spectators know when the horses are being paraded before the grandstands when the University of Louisville Marching Band begins to play My Old Kentucky Home.

This Saturday as the band begins to play, pour a cool Mint Julep over some crushed ice, don your flashy hats and see which colt will wear the blanket of roses at the end of the Kentucky Derby. If you already have plans, don’t worry. It only takes two minutes.

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