The 142nd Kentucky Derby is slated for Saturday, May 7. Coverage begins early on NBCSN, with four hours of Derby prep running from 12-4 p.m., which then switches over to NBC from 4-7 p.m. for the undercard and the Run for the Roses. Best course of action, make this an afternoon soiree, with guests arriving at 4 p.m. and leaving shortly after the main race (keeps from making this a dinner party to boot).
Have betters in the crowd? Apart from private sport books, guests can place wagers on twinspires.com—one person per account—so create those accounts early to beat the race time crunch. And speaking of betting, placing a wager without a little inside info is just plain reckless; so order a few race day programs and have them delivered to your home just in time for the party.
Last year’s Run for the Roses introduced the country to American Pharoah, a bay colt that, after stumbling in the first race of his young career—a fifth place finish in a two-year-old race at Del Mar Racetrack in August 2014—ran the table in every race since, capturing thoroughbred racing’s elusive Triple Crown after an impressive gate-to-wire win at the Belmont Stakes on June 6. The 37-year Triple Crown drought was snapped in commanding fashion, making the 2015 race season one for the record books.
This year, the field is stacked headed into Churchill Downs, with 27 horses tossing their hat in the ring as of press time (April 21). Topping the leaderboard with 151 points, Gun Runner, has serious competition in point’s runner-up, Nyquist. The California-based bay colt is undefeated heading into the ten furlongs of Churchill Downs, recently vanquishing fellow unbeaten Mohaymen at the Florida Derby earlier in April. As the anticipated morning line favorite, Nyquist should be the horse to watch in the fastest two minutes in sports.
But lets be honest, the majority of Americans tuning in on race day are there for the party. From the big hats to the Southern traditions, the Kentucky Derby affair is an American tradition 142 years in the making. For those that cannot make it to the Twin Spires at Kentucky’s iconic Churchill Downs, the storied Pimlico Race Course of Baltimore, or New York’s marathon at Belmont Park, its time to throw a little Triple Crown fun here at home, Florida style. Here we offer some tips for throwing the ultimate thoroughbred party.
The story of the mint julep, and the ceremony behind its contruction, is one of mixologist lore. For a look behind the bar at proper mint julep etiquette and ingredient selection, click here.
Playing the bugle might be a lost art, but that doesn’t mean you can’t join in on the post parade festivities. Sing along to Stephen Foster’s “My Old Kentucky Home,” the Kentucky Derby’s official song, which has been performed by the University of Louisville Marching Band since 1936.
My Old Kentucky Home
By Stephen Foster
The sun shines bright in the old Kentucky home,
Tis summer, the people are gay;
The corn-top's ripe and the meadow's in the bloom
While the birds make music all the day.
The young folks roll on the little cabin floor
All merry, all happy and bright;
By'n by hard times comes a knocking at the door
Then my old Kentucky home, Good-night!
Weep no more my lady. Oh! Weep no more today!
We will sing one song for my old Kentucky home
For the old Kentucky home, far away.
For Kentucky Derby games and supplies, head to page two.