Follow these tips for throwing a Kentucky Derby party
Posted: Tuesday May 2, 2006 3:43PM; Updated: Wednesday May 3, 2006 11:15AM
Nothing says Kentucky Derby more than ridiculous hats.
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
It's almost the first Saturday in May, which means it's Derby time. For everyone outside of Kansas City, the Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports has nothing to do with how long it takes the Pirates to be mathematically eliminated from the playoffs after the first pitch of the season -- it's all about enjoying spring weather and a brief annual spike in interest in horse racing. Sure, the Belmont and the Preakness are also in the Triple Crown, but the Derby is the undisputed main event. The Belmont is only interesting if the same horse has won the first two; it's racing's equivalent of the RBI title.
The race itself is great, but to only watch the horses run is to miss out on the best part of Derby: having a ridiculous party. There's no substitute for being at Churchill, but with these tips, you can turn your apartment into a reasonable proxy for the infield.
As a native Kentuckian, I know that the Derby is more than just an excuse to drink bourbon in the afternoon (not that you even really need one). It's also an excuse to eat little sandwiches with the crusts cut off and watch one of the most underrated events in all of sports. The nation's racing passion may have turned to NASCAR, but the ponies still hold an allure all their own: Imagine how much more exciting each Nextel Cup Series race would be if the winner got to retire out to stud and the loser got turned into dog food.
To enjoy the race, make sure you've learned the names of all the horses, because it's easy to find yourself yelling for the wrong horse. This confusion is because all horses sound like they were named by someone who knew the English language but didn't know it particularly well. Do not, under any circumstances, place a bet on the horse "because you liked its name," unless you are in fact a lawyer named Ron or someone's brother named Derek. If this is your betting strategy, take your two dollars and buy two tacos. It's still like losing, but at least you can eat them.