Saturday, April 19, 2014

Kentucky Derby Style

My tips for a successful trip to the Kentucky Derby!

We're only two weeks away! Hopefully you have your tickets, your hotel reservations, and your outfit. The next week and a half is the hard part- the prep races are over and post positions haven't been determined yet so there's nothing to do but wait. While you wait, here are my tips for a comfortable trip to the Kentucky Derby.

First, review my Top Three Tips:
Don't drink too much the night before and have a miserable morning.
Bring a back up pair of comfortable shoes.
If you just have to have a certain souvenir, buy it early in the day.

Review my Top Three Things to Bring to the Derby (that aren't money).
Travel pack of Kleenex
Cheap plastic poncho, if there's rain in the forecast

Bring a spare bag for mint julep glasses. Even if it's just a plastic grocery bag, it's nice to have somewhere to put your julep glasses. And don't throw away your past performance papers after each race- wrap your glasses up in them for extra padding.

Pack your painkiller of choice, just in case you didn't remember my #1 Tip of not drinking too much the night before.

Put a couple anti diarrhea pills in your purse or pocket. Just in case, better safe than sorry. It's long day of port-o-potties and long lines for said potties. 'Nuff said.

Bring a few Bandaids in case your heels or dress shoes rub a few hot spots on your feet.

There are two more races after the Kentucky Derby race but the majority of the crowd leaves after the Derby.  Stick around, place a few more bets and let the crowds clear out.

For some reason, they say "Last call" shortly before the Derby. I have never seen them actually stop selling alcohol so don't bother stocking up.

Eat a big breakfast! Especially you whipper snappers headed to the infield. And pace yourself. Don't be the guy puking in the trashcan at 2 pm. Yeah, I saw you last year and I laughed at you. Rookie.

 Most importantly, have fun and be nice. There will be over 100,000 people there. It's a crowded, expensive day but it's worth it. Hopefully you'll cash some tickets and create some great memories.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Tip- Kentucky Derby gift cards are on eBay

If you're planning on buying souvenirs at the Kentucky Oaks or Derby, consider buying gift cards on eBay. In the presale, certain tickets included a $25 gift card per ticket and some of these gift cards have found their way to eBay. They're good at the merchandise tents and trailers throughout Churchill Downs and at the two gift shops (one at the Kentucky Derby Museum and one inside Gate 17). Please note that they are good ONLY May 2nd and 3rd.  I just got one for $16 and it had free shipping. Just search for "Kentucky Derby gift card" or "ChurchillDowns gift card." 
It's a no brainer if you want to buy souvenirs. My advice- shop early! This guarantees the best selection and I've seen long lines just to get in the gift shops later in the day on Derby day.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

My Kentucky Derby favorites (so far)

With only four more prep races to go (and, really, only the Bluegrass Stakes and Arkansas Derby this weekend are the only ones who matter), I started taking a look at the horses at the top of the leaderboard.

Right now my favorite is Intense Holiday. He came in first in the Risen Star Stakes after a photo finish with Albano (race replay here)  and second in the Louisiana Derby (race replay). He has earned some good Beyer speed figures and he has a "rally" running style- he saves some gas in his tank to come from behind in the stretch. Plus, he's ridden by Mike Smith and by now you know he's my favorite jockey!

My other favorite is Wicked Strong who came in first in the Wood Memorial (race replay here). This is another horse with a rally running style. His previous Beyers were OK, not great but it's possible he's peaking at just the right time.

Everyone is all abuzz about California Chrome. I won't deny that he is one helluva race horse but I don't think he's the Derby winner. He's a speed horse and speed horses typically don't win the Derby. He's from California and a Cali-bred horse hasn't won the Derby since 1962. However, with the right post position he could win it!

The more I look at the prep races and paste performances, the more my head starts to spin and I realize I might as well throw darts and pick my horses that way!

They're here! The tickets are here!!

 The tickets are here! I don't think the FedEx lady has seen anyone as excited as I was today! I have my dress, hat, shoes, backup shoes, jewelry, purse and now tickets. There's nothing left to do but wait (it's agonizing!) until May 1 when we hop in the car and cruise to Louisville. 
I'm so excited!


Friday, April 4, 2014

It's all happening so fast!

Last weekend I bought my Derby dress. Yesterday I got my Derby hat. Today I got the email that our Derby tickets have shipped! 
My countdowns are:

29 days till the Kentucky Derby

27 days till we leave for Louisville

15 days till the extended forecast for Derby Day is on Wunderground. Most likely it will be totally wrong two weeks out. Last year, nine days out they were calling for low to mid 70's and sunshine. It was about 60 degrees and rained all damn day. 

It'll be here before you know it!