The Kentucky Derby is a “bucket list” item that everybody should experience at least once during their life. Here are five reasons why you should make the big trip to Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May.
As a Kentuckian, there are no two minutes in any sport that I look more forward to than the Kentucky Derby. The first Saturday in May has always meant something special to me.
As a kid, my parents would always have or attend Derby parties. I was eight years old when I hit my first exacta on the race. Needless to say, the day has always been special.
When I got to college I made my first trips to Churchill Downs for the big day. Three straight years in the infield where I think I saw a total of three horses, but the experience from what I remember, was unforgettable. I have been to some amazing places for some amazing parties, but the infield on Derby Day tops the list.
My love for the sport and respect for the tradition led me to enjoying the day from a different level for several more years later in life to do it up in style. After five consecutive years of the Churchill Downs Lounge, a private room with an open bar and private betting windows, I stopped going and it’s been a handful of years since I made it back. Don’t let that stop you.
Here are five reasons you should make it a point to go to at least once in your life:
(1.) THE TRADITION
They have done it for 148 years. How much more tradition do you need? From the mint juleps to the Kentucky Burgoo, the day is full of traditional Bluegrass rites of passage. However, there is nothing better than when the horses head to the track for the post parade and the band strikes of “My Old Kentucky Home”. I still get goosebumps every time I hear it.
(2.) THE BUZZ
I have been to Louisville so many times in my life I have lost count, but something happens to that city during Derby weekend. Words can not describe it. It is electric! Celebrities and tourists flock to the city from all around the world. The people and workers in the city open their arms up to all of it and are always gracious hosts!
(3.) THE BUCKET LIST
The Derby is just one of those things you have to do before you die. The movie Bucket List was a perfect example of this as Morgan Freeman created a “bucket list,” or things to do before “he kicks the bucket” after his character is diagnosed with cancer. I’m not saying you have to get crazy like me and go every year, but you should do it at least once.
(4.) THE THOUGHT THAT THIS COULD BE THE YEAR
I’m 47 years old and only four times in my entire life has there been a horse to win the Triple Crown. American Pharoah broke the 37-year drought in 2015 when he won all three legs of the sport’s most-prized honor then Justify accomplished the feat himself in 2018. To see a Triple Crown winner start the epic journey in person would be amazing. There have only 13 horses all-time accomplish the feat.
(5.) THE CARD
The Derby is a crapshoot. There’s 20 horses and with that many horses going around the oval anything can happen. Handicappers will rejoice in a full day of quality races to bet on and good prices to boot.
Let me know your favorite KY Derby memory on Twitter @DanClasgens