Kentucky Derby
Dec-21-2020 2
America's Greatest Race

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Kentucky Derby (Demo)
Dec-21-2020 2 570 1531
Kentucky Derby Official Ticket Packages
Direct from Churchill Downs®, we have your unmatched, insider experience to the Kentucky Derby® and Kentucky Oaks®!
Churchill Downs, the world's most legendary racetrack, has conducted thoroughbred racing and presented America's greatest race, the Kentucky Derby, continuously since 1875.
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Constructed in 1895, the Twin Spires 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’ roofline, but as the young Baldez continued work on his design, he felt the structure needed something to give it a striking appearance. Described as towers in the original drawing, the hexagonal spires exemplify late 19th century architecture, in which symmetry and balance took precedence over function. Although Baldez designed many other structures in Louisville, the Twin Spires remain as an everlasting monument to his memory. Former Churchill Downs President Matt J. Winn is reported to have told Baldez, "Joe when you die there's one monument that will never be taken down, the Twin Spires." Today, visitors from all over the world come to have their photos taken in front of the iconic Twin Spires.

What sets the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks apart from other sports and entertainment events? It's the hats! Part Southern tradition, part spectacle, the Kentucky Derby hat parade is much of what makes "The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports" one of the greatest people-watching events in the world! The long-established fashion was started with Col. Meriwether Lewis Clark Jr.'s vision for the Derby as an event that the high-class would attend, similar to European-style racing events, which mandated full morning dress for men and women. For the first running of the Kentucky Derby, he used high-class women to recruit his target clientele to attend the race. The event quickly became just as much about the fashion as the racing. Going to a horse racing event became an opportunity to show off the latest in spring fashion and women were known to coordinate their hats, dresses, bags, shoes, and even parasols. The extravagant hats that have become associated with the Kentucky Derby did not really come around until the 1960s, when social fashion norms loosened up and the presence of television gave women a reason to stand out. The hats became larger, brighter, and more extravagant.

The Mint Julep has been the traditional beverage of Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby for nearly a century. Each year, almost 120,000 Mint Juleps are served over the two-day period of Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby weekend at Churchill Downs Racetrack. That’s a feat that requires more than 10,000 bottles of Old Forester Mint Julep Ready-to-Serve Cocktail, 1,000 pounds of freshly harvested mint and 60,000 pounds of ice.

The rose garland, now synonymous with the Kentucky Derby, is the source of the nickname "Run for the Roses®" and has a history almost as long as the Derby itself. Each year, a garland of more than 400 red roses is sewn into a green satin backing with the seal of the Commonwealth on one end and the Twin Spires and number of the race's current renewal on the other. Each garland is also adorned with a "crown" of roses, green fern and ribbon. The "crown," a single rose pointing upward in the center of the garland, symbolizes the struggle and heart necessary to reach the Derby Winner's Circle. The Kroger Company has been crafting the garland for the Kentucky Derby since 1987. After taking over the duties from the Kingsley Walker florist, Kroger began constructing the prestigious garland in one of its local stores for the public to view on Derby Eve.

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