I woke up in Louisville, KY, to close friends hustling and bustling around the house. As a makeup artist and hairdressers made small talk amongst themselves as they helped the ladies get ready while sipping Mimosas. The gentlemen read over the horse statistics in “The Louisville Courier-Journal” for the most important day of the year, The Kentucky Derby. In the old-fashion southern town of Louisville, on the very first Saturday in May each year, you would think it was Christmas morning by the way everyone was acting.
As I slipped on my Lilly Pulitzer hot pink floral shift dress and placed my extravagant floppy hat at the right angle on top of my head, the gentlemen were shouting from the bottom of the stairs, telling the ladies to “hurry it up.” Everyone was eager to get to Churchill Downs, the racetrack where the Derby is located. We left the stunning southern charm house for the day with one similar goal in mind, which was to join the winner’s circle.
Spectators were crammed into the Churchill Downs stadium seats like sardines to watch the 143rd annual horserace. The Kentucky Derby was established in the year of 1872, by Meriwether Lewis Clark, Jr. who was the grandson of William Clark. The younger Clark, first organized the Jockey Club back in the day in Louisville, to raise money for top-notch racing facilities. The track soon became known as Churchill Downs.
Today, individuals still gathered in the stands to cheer on their favorite horse as they place their bets, while they enjoyed the nostalgic taste of the Derby’s favorite adult-beverage the Mint Julep. The weather was not in our favor that day, as the sun was playing a game of hide-an-seek. The grass was moist, the sky was gray, and the track turned into dark brown mud. Ladies and gentlemen that watched from the infield were slipping and falling in the mud. The mud was destroying their designer pastel attire, as they ran to the racetrack or the betting booths.
Still today, in the United States the Kentucky Derby is known to be “The Run for the Roses.” During the 143rd annual Derby, the spectators who gambled all their money on the horse “Always Dreaming” and jockey John Velazquez had a successful day at the Derby and won big bucks back. Within a three-minute race both horse and jockey became champions and officially joined the “winner circle.”
The year of 2017, the competing horses left behind groundbreaking records and the jockeys created new traditions that altered history at Churchill Downs. The spectators, including myself, joined the “winner circle” in the pouring rain and created unforgettable memories by attending an unforgettable experience. This horse race in Louisville, KY was one for the history books.