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The 2013 Kentucky Derby: A Preview To Louisville's Hottest Annual Event

There is perhaps nothing that Louisville is more famous for than the Kentucky Derby. Once a year, horse racing fans from around the world gather at the historic Churchill Downs to witness what some call "the most exciting two minutes in sports." But make no mistake; this is not just a two-minute event. There is plenty more to this event than just horses running around a track. Here's what you need to know about what makes Louisville's hottest annual event so popular.

The Horse Race

The main event of the Kentucky Derby is the race for three-year-old thoroughbreds, which takes place this year on May 4th. This one and a quarter mile race is the first race of the prestigious U.S. Triple Crown series, with the next two races in Baltimore, Maryland and Elmont, New York. The winner of this series is declared to be the best thoroughbred racer in America.

The Kentucky Oaks

The day before the Derby, Kentucky hosts a race for fillies, or young female horses, at Churchill Downs. The event was originally thought of as an event for locals, while the Derby was more of an event for out-of-towners. But now, with the growing popularity of the Kentucky Derby and the events surrounding it, the Oaks has become a major attraction with visitors as well. In addition to the race for fillies, Churchill Downs will also open up its grounds on May 3rd with live music, games, entertainment, and food and drink vendors.

The Mint Julep

To get the full Derby experience, you will definitely want to try a Mint Julep. The Mint Julep is the official drink of the Derby, and is traditionally made with bourbon, mint, and some sort of sweetener. Every year, the city of Louisville is flooded with these drinks - at Churchill Downs, in bars and restaurants, and in people's homes.

What's With the Hats?

The answer to this question is that it really depends on where you're sitting. Fancy hats were traditionally seen to bring good luck, and that tradition lives on today at the Derby, although it has gone through some changes over the years. In the more exclusive seated areas of the park, hats are typically of the high-end variety, and typically employ traditional symbols of spring such as flowers and bright colors. In these areas, almost all of the women wear hats, while hats in the non-seated infield area are optional. Additionally, infield hats are known to sometimes be wilder and more expressive than the rest.

What if I Don't Like Horse Racing?

If you don't like horse racing, don't worry about it. There is plenty to do at the Derby that doesn't involve thoroughbreds. During the two weeks before the event, which is known as "Derby season," there are a number of other events to attend that include parades, dining events, concerts, parties, and even the largest annual fireworks display in America.

With so much to see and do, your Kentucky derby celebration could go on for weeks, and in any event, should at least last longer than two minutes. The joy of this annual event extends far beyond the race itself, and many see it as an opportunity to enjoy the city of Louisville and the incredibly warm hospitality of its residents.

About the Author:  Joe Hayden is the Team Owner and Manager of the Joe Hayden Real Estate Team - !

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