Kentucky Derby: The Facts and My Fiction

by | May 4, 2018 |

Kentucky Derby: The Facts

The 144th annual Kentucky Derby will be held this Saturday, May 5. It has two nicknames: Run for the Roses and The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports. The Derby is held at Churchill Downs, Louisville Kentucky. The length of the track is 1.5 miles (12 furlongs, 2.4 kilometers). The field is open to 20 horses, and the purse is worth $2 million dollars.

This year’s favorite is Justify, a 3-year-old thoroughbred who drew a favorable post in Tuesday’s draw. He’ll be starting from the Number 7 spot and tops the field at 3-1 odds. Jockey Victor Espinoza will be aboard, seeking his fourth Derby win. He is 5’2” and weighs 112 pounds. The smaller and lighter, the better.

The Kentucky Derby is full of traditions.

As the horses parade the grandstand on their way to their position at the post the crowd of more than 150,000 spectators sing “My Old Kentucky Home” played by the University of Louisville Marching Band. The song was composed by Stephen Foster in 1853.

Watch, listen and maybe sing along.

Then there are the hats. Lots and lots of hats.

Kentucky Derby

Mint juleps are a favorite.

Kentucky Derby

Recipe: 8 – 10 mint leaves plus more for garnish; 1 ounce simple syrup; 2 ounces Kentucky bourbon, crushed ice, and powdered sugar (optional).

Drink up and watch your winner gets draped with the famous garland of roses.

Kentucky Derby

Last year’s winner Always Dreaming with jockey Joel Rosario

Kentucky Derby: My Fiction

Every year, and in anticipation of the first Saturday in May, I like to mention my novella DeMarco’s Cafe. It’s set in New York City and features city girl Danya DeMarco and Kentucky farm boy Bo Grisham. Although I try to avoid stereotypes, I couldn’t resist making Danya a bit of a stereotypical Manhattanite in that she has a hazy and undifferentiated idea of most things west of the Hudson. Thus, she has no notion that the kind of farm Bo grew up on is a horse farm. She certainly learns over the course of the story that he has his own kind of sophistication.

However, the main dynamic between them isn’t Big City Girl v. Backwoods Boy. It’s more that she’s cautious and he’s a charmer. She plays for keeps, while he’s a love ’em and leave ’em kind of guy.

But what does this have to do with the Kentucky Derby and any of its traditions?

You’ll have to read the story to find out!

Check it out: DeMarco’s Cafe

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This post was written by Julie Tetel Andresen

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