Ahh….it’s that time again. The first Saturday in May is a ”holy day of obligation” for those born and bred in the bluegrass state commonly known as Kentucky. Yes, it’s The Kentucky Derby! The Jones Real Estate Group wants to hear from you! We want to know Which horse do you think will win & the number of lengths for the win. Monday, the lucky winner will receive a set of Derby glasses from Greg & Ann Jones.
As many of you may know, Greg and I are Louisville, Kentucky natives who grew up going to the Derby. But perhaps you didn’t know, that another member of our group, Mike Giddens, also spent time attending the Derby and shares our great love of the entire experience that is The Kentucky Derby. Together we have created a great guide to help you experience The Kentucky Derby at it’s finest and pick the prize winning pony this weekend.
The Kentucky Derby is NOT just horse racing…it’s the whole experience of being in Louisville, KY among thousands of people celebrating a sporting event that lasts only two minutes and has been consecutively run since it’s inception in 1875! Whether you are a racing fanatic, or looking to find a gorgeous Derby hat, or digging into the Derby fare at the buffet tables or tasting a Mint Julep for the first time- it is a treat to place on your bucket list! Don’t wait…bite the bullet and plan your adventure!!
The Derby Parties are back to back…very little time to rest in between and there is lots of eating, drinking and reading the Racing Form. For Greg & I, we love to go back and stay with the good friends we love and miss so much! These are friends we see on a regular basis, but we always seem to run into someone at the track from years gone by. That’s why this is so much fun for us.
There are lots of fun events and the partying can go on until the early hours of the morning, but you really need your sleep to be fresh and ready for a long day on the track at Churchill Downs!
Greg has been going to the track since he was a wee boy and would sneak under the fence where all of the horse stables are to get in. In those days, the security was not as sophisticated as it is now. I started going to the track in high school and was hooked! I actually started betting when I was 9 years old. Mike Giddens went to his first Kentucky Derby when he was 16 years old and loved it so much that in the late 80’s he helped host a radio show on horse racing in Baton Rouge, LA . Mike also had a 900 number that would give you a selection for the race at $10 dollars a clip! Today, Mike said this about his first experience there, “My first Kentucky Derby was in 1978, I was 16 and bet 2 across on Affirmed…..At the window after getting paid, I told the Teller, this is too easy. The gentleman in the plaid jacket behind me replied, ‘Have a nice life Kid.’ It took me several years to understand what that meant. Fast forward 41 years . . . I miss going to the Derby with my lifelong friends.” As you can see, Mike & I agree that the Derby is best spent with great friends!
Here are some of our BEST tips to help you enjoy your Kentucky Derby experience:
#1-Pack sunscreen – Men this applies to you too ! The sun can be brutal and if your seat is in the sun you need to be ready.
#2-Pace your alcohol consumption and drink lots of water– Plan ahead to visit the restrooms in plenty of time to see any of the races. The lines get long…especially in the cheap seats.
#3-Place your Derby bets early and often– Both Mike & I agree that the lines get long…especially in the cheap seats.
#4- Wear comfy shoes-Ladies, I know you want to dress the part but…remember to take a pair of comfortable shoes. The heels will not be comfortable by the time the Derby race starts at about 5:30 or so in the afternoon. There is concrete everywhere and lots of steps. Depending if you have a parking pass, you will have to walk!
#5- Derby Hats- Let’s just be honest hats do get in the way….I hate to say this but once the hat goes on, you’ll have hat hair and if it’s hot, the hair will be worse! By the end of the day, you will swear never to wear a hat again. But what the heck…It’s the Derby!
#6- Plan ahead where to stay & eat– Google places to stay, restaurants for eating (RESERVATIONS ARE A MUST IN ADVANCE) and there are lots of packages available for tickets. Overnight is usually a three day minimum and may include Derby tickets, dining and different parties around the city. If you fly, take a cab to your hotel and plan on taking the bus (reserved buses) that takes you to the front entrance of the track.
#7- Say Cheese!– Take lots of pictures and enjoy the people watching. It’s some of the best in the world!
#8- Know Your Budget– Expect to spend $3,000 per person for just the minimum stay (3 nights) this does not include air fare, food, or betting money. Some packages do include a bus to and from the track. (This is by far the best way to travel to and from Churchill Downs) Or, if you are lucky enough to have friends in Louisville, call them now for your trip next year.
And what would the Kentucky Derby be without the horses? If you don’t know much about the horses in this year’s race check out this great link: https://www.kentuckyderby.com/horses. Here you can check out the horse’s number, starting gate, owner, trainer, breeder and lots more!
Have you decided what horse you think is going to win this Saturday? Here are Greg’s, Mike’s and my own pics for who the winning horse could be.
Greg’s first pick is Gormley.
Greg’s long shot is Fast and Accurate. (If you know Greg, you’ll know why!)
Ann’s pick is Always Dreaming.
Mike’s picks even though he has no wager on Saturday are:
Girvin– Top choice coming off a foot injury. This horse is fresh and has tactical speed!
Gormley-Destroyed a weak field in the Santa Anita Derby.
MCracken—Loves the track and will be closing!
Enjoy your weekend and remember: Clink Clink Pour! Sip Sip Hooray, Happy Derby Day!