Kentucky Derby Traditions
This weekend, America and the world will watch the fastest 2 minutes in sports, The Kentucky Derby. To fully appreciate the race, you need to know these few traditions and parts of the Derby.
The Garland of Roses draped on the winning team started at a party. Ladies attending a fashionable Louisville Derby party, were presented a garland of roses. It was such a sensation, that the president of Churchill Downs, Col. Lewis Clark, adopted the rose as the race's official flower. The rose garland, now synonymous with the Kentucky Derby, first appeared in the 1896 when winner Ben Brush received a floral arrangement of white and pink roses.
The Twin Spires were constructed in 1895. They were the creation of a 24-year-old draftsman, Joseph Dominic Baldez, who was asked to draw the blueprints for Churchill Downs' new grandstand. Originally the plans did not include the Twin Spires atop Churchill Downs’ roof line, but as the young designer continued work on his design, he felt the structure needed something to give it a striking appearance. He was successful and right on all assumptions.
In the world of sports, there is not a more moving moment than when the horses step onto the track for the Kentucky Derby post parade and the band strikes up “My Old Kentucky Home.” Event if you don't know the words, you can appreciate the tradition.
Finally, the Mint Julep has been the traditional beverage of Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby for nearly a century.The Old Forester Mint Julep Ready-to-Serve Cocktail is "The Official Mint Julep of the Kentucky Derby".
Now that you have an appreciation Derby Traditions, you will be able to enjoy the Derby even if you don't bet on your favorite horse. In my book, it is a tradition that signals Spring has arrived in the Stateline.