A Quick Guide to the Kentucky Derby

If you did not know already, this weekend is the Kentucky Derby. As a lifelong equestrian and horse racing aficionado, this is one of my favorite weekends of the year. Today I am providing a little guide for those who may not understand the Derby and everything that goes along with it... it is so much more than just a horse race.

What is the Kentucky Derby? 
Held every year on the first Saturday in May since 1875, the Kentucky Derby is America's most famous horse race. It is held at Churchill Downs, a storied race track in Louisville, Kentucky. Called "The Run for the Roses" due to the rose blanket that is draped across the shoulders of the winning horse, the race is 1 1/4 mile long and is open only to the top 3-year-old Thoroughbred racehorses in the world. 

At its heart, the Derby is always a horse race but it has become a huge event. Thousands gather in Louisville every year to watch the race live wearing summer dresses, big hats and a Mint Julep in every hand. Celebrities, foreign dignitaries and a bunch of regular people all gather together for this special day. The Queen of England even attended in 2007. Those not present in Kentucky can tune in to watch the race live on TV. 

A few of the most famous Derby races include: Secretariat winning at the fastest Derby time on record in 1973, Regret, the first female horse to win, in 1915 and 2015's American Pharoah starting his road to the Triple Crown with a huge win in the Kentucky Derby. 

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One for the girls: Regret becomes the first filly to win the Kentucky Derby
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American Pharoah was victorious in the Derby on his way to become the first Triple Crown Champion in 37 years 
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Secretariat flies to victory in the 1973 Kentucky Derby 

The Kentucky Derby is the first leg of the prestigious Triple Crown. To win the Triple Crown, a 3-year-old racehorse must win the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes all within a short 4 weeks. It is a grueling and difficult accomplishment that only 13 horses have won in the history of American horse racing. Most recently, American Pharoah and Justify were able to snag the Triple Crown. Every Kentucky Derby opens up the possibility of another Triple Crown Champion; something all horse lovers hold their breath for. 

What should I know about betting on the Kentucky Derby?
Just like any kind of betting, it is a gamble. I always tell people to bet in a way that they enjoy if they do not follow the horses enough to make an educated choice. Pick a horses name that you like or one with cool racing silks. Make a "show" bet so that if they come in first, second or third, you win something back. I would just caution that betting on the Derby is fun and part of the experience but let it be just that: fun. Horses are unpredictable and anything can happen. 

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What should I wear to the Kentucky Derby or a Derby Party?
Attire is one of the biggest parts of the Kentucky Derby. Big hats and bright clothes rule the day. It is usually a warm day so people dress for a hot day under the sun. The Kentucky Derby is also known for its big hats and fashion moments. 

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Luke Bryan and his wife did Derby fashion right!

Ladies: wear a bright summer dress, summer heels or wedges, and a big hat or fascinator. 
Hat: https://amzn.to/2vv4vsL
Dress: https://us.shein.com/Halter-Neck-Guipure-Lace-Flared-Dress-p-597456-cat-1727.html
Shoes: https://www.target.com/p/women-s-wendi-d-orsay-closed-toe-wedge-heels-a-new-day-153/-/A-54156224?preselect=53810198#lnk=sametab

Hat: https://amzn.to/2Vcs6xG
Shoes: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Women-s-Time-And-Tru-Covered-Wedge/966972113

Boys: wear a light colored suit

Enjoy the Derby! I am rooting for Maximum Security to win!

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