The 144th Kentucky Derby

Fun Facts, Fascinators, and everything Derby

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For as long as I can remember, going to the Kentucky Derby has been on my bucket list. I FINALLY had the opportunity to go and have been dying to write this post to share my experience with all of you! If you have ever dreamed of going to derby or any race for that matter I will share some tips I learned from my weekend as an honorary Kentuckian.

First things First… The Wardrobe

The fashion is one of the biggest aspects of the Kentucky Derby. It is a long standing tradition to dress up for the races and EVERYONE is dressed to impress. So if you are going to the derby or any race for that matter do not be afraid to go all out. Since the Kentucky Derby is a spring race, women wear beautiful spring colored dresses, heels, and either a coordinating hat or fascinator. The more unique and creative the better! And YES… high heels are a must to complete your derby look. However, let me warn you that even though heels are a must, there will be a ton of walking. I feel like I have pretty tough feet when it comes to wearing heels thanks to Miss USA but I was really not prepared for the amount of walking.

Derby is a long day and the weather may not always be ideal so make sure that you choose your wardrobe wisely so that you aren’t miserable by the time you have to hike back to the car. As for your headpiece, your hat/fascinator can be custom made or hand-crafted but you want to make sure that it compliments your outfit. I will link the details for my looks for both the Oaks and Derby below.

The Kentucky Oaks

Kentucky Oaks

The Kentucky Oaks is the race on Friday before Derby, for 3 year old Fillies (aka Female horses) that awards the winning filly a garland of lilies, appropriately named “lilies for the fillies.” During Kentucky Oaks Day, the historic racetrack is decorated in pink bunting and the more than 100,000 guests are asked to prominently incorporate pink into their attire in an effort to raise funds and drive national attention to the fight against breast and ovarian cancer.

Dress |  Marchesca Notte Rose Throw 

Shoes| Steve Madden – Blush Nubuck High Heels

Earrings | Neila Teardrop Earrings Rose Gold

Fascinator | SK Hat Shop

Derby Day

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Dress |  Nicole Miller Mint Pleated Sweetheart

Earrings |Khaleesi Drop Earrings Mint

Fascinator |Derbyology 

Makeup | Becky Minger for The Perfect Face

Planning Tips

  1. Start planning early. Tickets for Derby go on sale in the Fall. If you are wanting to have an actual ticket into the Grandstand or Box areas then plan to snatch up your ticket early. Tickets will sell out or increase in price greatly in the months leading up to the event.
  2. Hotels are limited and expensive. This goes back to planning your trip early. I started looking for a place to stay a little late in the game. So, most of the AirBNBs that I looked up were well over a $1,000 and the hotels will be any where from $400-$800 a night.
  3. Bourbon for beginners – go easy! I read somewhere that “Derby is a Marathon not a race.” This is very true! The day is long and the juleps are strong be careful not to over do it before the big race.      ( Fun Facts: The signature drink for the Kentucky Oaks is the “Lily” made with Finladia vodka, Triple Sec, and cranberry juice. The famous Mint Juleps are made with 3 ounces of Old Forester over crushed ice, a hint of simple syrup, and mint leaves to garnish.) 31933658_912269219724_951078253810941952_n.jpg
  4. Bet like a pro and learn to read a tip sheet. I have never gambled before in my life, but I was so enthused about the race I studied the horses and their stats! I also watched the horses run on the track every morning during the Facebook live broadcast. It gave me a feel for what the horses would do on race day. I’m not quitting my job anytime soon but I did win on the Oaks and Derby! 31939528_912269229704_1660576447036653568_n.jpg
  5. HAVE FUN!!! You really are witnessing history and the beginning of what could be a Triple Crown victory! Rain or Shine (and even when its a record breaking 3 inches of rain) the experience is amazing. Whether you are partying in the infield, cheering in the Grandstand, or walking the Red Carpet the Kentucky Derby is something you will never forget!

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Are you a Derby fan? Have other tips about attending races? I’d love to hear from you! Comment Below!

P.S. Best of luck to Justify in The Preakness this weekend!!

Kentucky Derby Winner - Justify
This photo is not owned by me and was taken from Google images. 

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2 comments

Reply

Great review! I hope to go someday. Thanks for all the info 😀

Reply

Thank you…I hope you get the chance to go! It is an awesome experience!

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