The Kentucky Derby has been a southern staple for generations – not unlike most southern staples, come to think of it. It has been called the greatest two minutes in sport, and I must agree that it is certainly thrilling. The horses competing are beautiful animals, powerful, but with a grace and dexterity that few can comprehend without seeing them run. But there is more to horse racing than just the race – and the Kentucky Derby is the very definition of this. There is an entire culture surrounding this one event, steeped in tradition, glamour, history, and grace.
I truly wish I had the time to go into an appropriate level of detail on all of the most important aspects of today’s festivities; the fashions, the hats, the mint juleps, the jockeys, the gambling, and the horses themselves. But alas, nothing I could say at this point would do the subjects justice without overwhelming the reader.
When you watch the race today – and I sincerely hope that you do, please take in everything that it means. The beauty, the pageantry, the tradition, and the race itself. I don’t have an event to go to this afternoon, but I will still be in white linen, out of a sense of duty to the southern drawl that occasionally reveals itself in casual conversation. Feel free to do the same. When the Derby post begins at 6:24 EST, adjust your wide brimmed hat, sip your mint julep, hold tight to your wager slips, and absorb 139 years of culture and tradition. Pay attention though, it will over in two minutes.