It’s Derby Day, Tune-Up fans, “the most exciting two minutes in sport.” For my international readers who don’t follow or care about horse racing – unforgivable! – the Kentucky Derby is arguably the most important race of the year, and has been held on the first Saturday in May every year since 1875. It is the first in what’s called the Triple Crown: the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness (held in Baltimore, Maryland), and the Belmont (in Elmont, New York, and no, that’s not a typo). Whoever wins the Derby continues on to compete in the other two. Kentucky being the seat of American horse country, it makes sense for the race that begins the Triple Crown to begin here.
The Derby has a number of traditions. Official drink: the mint julep (which was invented in Washington, D.C., at the Round Robin bar, in case you had a trivia night planned later today). Official flower: the red rose. And, official song: My Old Kentucky Home. Some call it the most moving moment in sports when the horses take the field and this song is played. I think that’s a bit rich, and I love the Dixieland version much more. So raise your julep and have yourself a grand day. My money is on Wicked Strong (7-1 odds), by the way. Obviously.
3 thoughts on “Salubrious Saturday: “My Old Kentucky Home,” The Kings of Dixieland”
And we mustn’t forget the Official Sandwich: the Hot Brown, named after downtown Louisville’s Brown Hotel. Or the Official Writeup: Hunter S. Thompson’s Gonzo tale of covering the Derby with illustrator Ralph Steadman. Gotta love Derby Day!
Oooh good call on the Hot Brown! And good old Gonzo. I might reread that tonight.
Yes, it is the Christmas Carol of Derby Day–required reading aloud, in full, at some point during the day.