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Everything You Need to Know to Enjoy the Kentucky Derby

Date: 5/24/2022

The first race in the coveted Triple Crown of horse racing in the United States (the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes complete the trio), the Kentucky Derby is often called "the greatest two minutes in sport", a reference to the approximate length of the race. First held in 1875 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, the “Run for the Roses” is the longest-running sporting event in the United States. Three-year-old thoroughbreds run the distance of 1 1/4 miles to claim the historic race on which fans have been betting on for a century. Today, some 150,000 spectators gather annually to watch the race but you can enjoy the Sports Interaction bonus available now after reading everything you need to know to enjoy this legendary event.

Get Good Seating

Temperatures in Kentucky in early May can be scorching, or cold and humid, so we recommend indoor seating with easy access to the interior. Visit the Kentucky Derby website between September and December and sign up for a lottery that gives you the chance to buy tickets in the grandstand. If you don't get them this way, the Churchill Downs website usually offers up to the last minute available seats. There is a section of the Derby website that allows fans to resell their tickets, so be sure to check that out too. You can buy a general ticket at the infield area for $65, but the cost increases as time goes on: on race day it's $85. Keep in mind that the infield becomes the stage for a party, but it can be hard to watch the races.

Plan Your Outfit

The Derby is very famous for the fashion style of the visitors. Hats (the bigger the better) are the key accessory for women. Plus, big hats are handy for a long day in the sun. For men, a suit will suffice, but seersucker or khaki combined with a straw fedora hat will be even better.

Enjoy a Cool Drink

Kentucky is popular for its bourbon, as the city is one of the pioneers in the production of this variety of whiskey. It's no surprise then that the official drink of the Kentucky Derby, the mint julep, is made with bourbon. The recipe is very easy to learn: simple syrup (water and sugar), mint and bourbon are poured over crushed ice and garnished with more mint.

Savor the Local Cuisine

Louisville restaurants excel at “New American” or modern American cuisine. It's a different take on traditional dishes with a strong influence from the Southeast and incorporating elements of other cultures or modern cooking techniques. The New Louisville (known as NuLu), Highlands, and downtown neighborhoods are home to many of Louisville's best dining options.

Pay Homage to The Louisville Lip

Louisville is also home to legendary boxer Muhammad Ali. Located downtown, the Muhammad Ali Center celebrates his life and legacy with an interactive museum. You can also find the home where he spent his childhood on Grand Avenue. It has been recently renovated to showcase exhibits about his years of professional training and is open for tours.

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