Friday, May 4, 2012

Kentucky Derby and Mint Jelups







This weekend is the Kentucky Derby.  Two weeks ago I was in Louisville and was able to take a little tour of Churchhill Downs the track where the race is run.

You enter through the museum through starting gates.  I thought this was very clever. 

The Kentucky Derby was run on a 1 ½ mile track from the first 20 years and is now run on a 1 ¼ mile track. While many tracks have gone to synthetic surfaces, Churchill Downs remains a dirt track, sticking with its tradition.

Somewhere in the neighborhood of 155,000 fans attend the Derby each year, making it one of the highest attended sporting events in the United States and one of the largest "cities" in Kentucky on race day.
Besides the excitement of seeing powerful horses in action and wagering on that action, the Derby is a big social event with the Mint Julep at the center of it. It is an iced drink with Kentucky bourbon, mint, and a sweet sugar syrup. You’ll see race aficionados carrying them around in their souvenir cups with all the previous Derby winners printed on them. 

The Kentucky Derby is also known by its nicknames, “the most exciting two minutes in sports” and “the run for the roses.” The first one refers to the approximate duration on the race and the second one stems from the tradition of the winning horse getting a blanket of roses draped on its back.

The  purse for winning the Kentucky Derby is 2.2 millions dollars.

Besides its 130-plus year tradition, the Kentucky Derby is the biggest horse race of the year because it is the first leg of the Triple Crown, which also consists of the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes.

The Derby has had some great horses, 11 that have gone on to win the Triple Crown.

The most famous is the great Secretariat. Secretariat won the race in 1 minute 59 2/5 seconds in 1973, breaking the previous record held by Northern Dancer in 1964. Secretariat went on to win the Triple Crown and also set a track record at the Belmont Stakes.

And there is the finish line...

Mint Julep

by Emily Morris
    For the Mint Julep
    • 1-1/2 parts Bourbon
    • Fresh mint
    • 2 tablespoons simple syrup muddled with mint
    • Splash of distilled water
    • Powdered sugar
    For the Simple Syrup
    • 1 cup granulated sugar
    • 1 cup distilled water
    For the Mint Julep
    Mix together simple syrup muddled with mint, Bourbon and distilled water. Fill glass with crushed ice and pour mixture over top. Sprinkle top of ice with powdered sugar. Garnish with a mint sprig.
    For the Simple Syrup
    Heat to dissolve sugar, stirring constantly so the sugar does not burn. Set aside to cool.
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    1. The derby is going to be tons of fun for you I just know it :D
      Especially with these refreshing drinks on hand!

      Choc Chip Uru

    2. Hahaha I read the first couple lines and I was like, "was she drunk when she wrote this?" But I get it now! I'm loving that pink dress. I don't care if it's old-fashioned; I'd totally wear it.

    3. Wow, what a crazy event! Have fun!

    4. Thank you for sharing! I would love to attend Kentucky Derby sometime!

    5. I used to know a salesman that always got free tickets every year..oh the perks! No doubt just being at Churchill downs is something to behold and I know Derby day can be a mad house, but a visit before would much more peaceful. Thanks for sharing your visit to Churchill downs and thanks for the reminder of Derby day. Have a good weekend!

    6. Great pictures! I was able to visit there a few years ago when I was in town for a conference. This is the perfect drink to sip while watching the race!

    7. Oh, this is delish and I LOVE the photos of The Downs! Thanks for sharing!


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