We all have experiences just waiting to be scratched off our bucket list; last weekend I scratched off one of mine by attending the 139th running of the Kentucky Derby.

Held at the famed Churchill Downs racetrack  in the city of Louisville, Kentucky which has hosted what has been coined “The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports” for over a century for the equestrian sport. Historically, the sport can be traced back to ancient Greece which is known for introducing the brutal art of chariot racing; but today it’s evolved into one of the biggest sporting events in history.While most assume that the derby is “just a horse race,” it has proven to be a cultural phenomenon; attracting some of the biggest names in music and entertainment. Names who can be seen throughout the weekend on the red carpet, at charity events, and at the hottest parties.

There are some who attend to gamble or rub elbows with an assortment of “Who’s who’s” and there are others who simply come for the fashion.

The Kentucky Derby even produced the wide-brim hat; a staple that has even trickled into mainstream fashion; it’s helped increase the level of creativity in updating traditional hats of choice. I chose a simple straw wide-brim hat; and was overwhelmed with the different flowers, ornaments, and even Solo cups that I saw adorning both male and female derby hats.

The women are seen mostly in A-line or wrap style dresses, while men typically complete their Derby look with softer, lighter suit fabrics like seersucker.

So on to the important stuff …. the libations; because that’s why we’re all here right? Made up of Early Times Whiskey, fresh mint and sugar, no trip is complete without the drink that has become synonymous with Derby weekend; the Mint Julep. Each year, nearly 120k “Early Times Mint Juleps” drinks are served in just two days.


But if whiskey isn’t your drink of choice, don’t fret. There are many choices to suit your palette; and other brands like Moet & Chandon, Woodford Reserve, and Stella Artois made their presence felt with major sponsorships throughout the racetrack. Thankfully, the alcohol seemed to be enough to keep the 150k in attendance, from focusing on the steady down pour as they eagerly awaited the main event. This years race featured a number of prominent owners, trainers, and jockeys.

Even Rick Pitino, coach of the Louisville men’s basketball team got a piece of the action; as the horse he co-owns named Goldenscents, became 1 of 20 horses that took to the sloppy track as post time approached. Finally, the moment we had all been waiting for had arrived; the thoroughbred Orb rallying late after the last turn to take home the victory. No matter one’s reason for attending, there is literally something for everyone. The Kentucky Derby is truly a once in a lifetime experience, rain or shine.