Posted in Traditions

Kentucky Classics: Oaks/Derby

Hello and happy Tuesday.

While I think most people know that the Kentucky Derby is the “greatest two minutes in sports,” many aren’t as familiar with the Kentucky Oaks. Last year, I wrote this post sharing all about the Oaks.

The first week in May in Louisville is pretty festive. It used to just be Oaks and then Derby, but as the years have gone on and there’s horse racing all week, there are many days of fun.

Thurby (Thursday before Derby) is another busy day at Churchill Downs. Now, another big day is the Tuesday before Derby which is dubbed “502-uesday” (the Louisville area code). Now, many Louisville locals use that day the have fun at the track because so many from out of town are now there the rest of the week.

Anyway, Travis is pretty busy throughout that week, but he usually goes to Thurby with friends, and then I join him in Louisville on Friday for Oaks. We’ve done this for quite a few years as when the kids were little, it was hard to get away…or they had sports on the Saturday of Derby. Honestly, I think Travis really enjoys Derby at home now because he watches the races all day, has the tv on, his computer out, and has fun keeping tabs on everything and placing bets. I’m sure some day we’ll get back to going to Derby, but for now, this schedule seems to work for us.

We talk about having a Derby party, but the month of May is just so busy and hectic with kids’ activities and school, I’m usually just lucky to commit to going to the Oaks.

I always buy a new dress for Oaks, and I usually order a few, hoping one works, and then return the others.

Since pink is the color for Oaks (as the Oaks race honors breast and ovarian cancer survivors), I always look for a dress with pink in it…or one that could be worn with a pink fascinator. That’s what I did last year…

Well, this year I was really cutting it close, and had a few dresses arrive on my doorstep Thursday afternoon. (I did have one in my closet that I was going to wear if all else failed, but was hopeful one of the ones I ordered would work).

Well, guess what…I had a couple I liked, but my favorite was this one…from Amazon!

As soon as I put this dress on, I loved it so much. (I honestly want to get it in another color!)

Once I decided on the dress, I second guessed the fascinator that I had, and reached out to my friends.

My neighbor let me borrow this one…and Hadley snagged it off her porch.

Who wore it better?! haha (Actually, don’t answer that!)

Hadley wearing the fascinator reminded me of a few years ago when I borrowed one from the same friend…and Hadley looked like quite the fashionista!

Anyway…off to the races!

I picked up Travis from our friends’ house in Louisville, and took a quick photo!

Then, we headed to…

Thankfully, Travis knows a guy who lets us park right by the track. My feet were already thanking him.

Every year, we seem to end up sitting somewhere different, and it’s always a fun experience. We’ve sat in the Finish Line suites, an outside box near the finish, the Turf Club, and this year, were were in the outside Winner’s Circle suites.

Trav’s work had two suites in that area for Oaks. One was right behind the winner’s circle and the other was on the end.

I never really place any bets. If I do, it’s a simple bet based on the name (or if there’s a connection to Trav’s farm).

The Lily is the signature drink on Oaks Day. There was also a buffet inside with food and desserts. There is a bartender for each suite as well as one near the food.

We went to the paddock area before a few races. On Derby day this is where KC Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes said the famous, “Riders up!”

After a few races, we walked around and found our friends/neighbors. I have Krista to thank for the fascinator!

The green space in front of the suite was a nice spot to watch the races, and snap a couple of pics.

The weather was amazing. Honestly, it was hot. That being said, I’d take a hot day over a rainy one. The past few Oaks have had a significant chance of rain. Friday’s forecast called for afternoon showers, but we never saw a drop of rain. Derby day weather was the same…it did eventually rain, but it was after the race.

Before the Oaks race, breast and ovarian cancer survivors walk around the track. It’s a moving experience seeing all the survivors in pink and Rachel Platten sang “Fight Song” as they walked.

The Oaks race is always exciting. Congrats to this year’s Oaks winner, Pretty Mischievous.

Then we stayed for the race after the Oaks because Trav’s farm had a horse running.

Then, we headed home. Thankfully, the walk to the car wasn’t too bad. Traffic was a bit hectic at first, but Travis knows the back ways. haha

We pit stopped for a snack, and then told the kids we’d order some pizza to pick up on our way home. We were both so tired that I also told the kids Travis and I were going to bed by 10! I really was asleep by then. It was such a long (but fun!) day.

Derby Day

Y’all, I couldn’t sleep Saturday morning, and I woke up around 5:00. I ended up watching quite a bit of King Charles’s coronation. Around 8:00, I told Travis I was going to shut my eyes for a bit. Then, I woke up at 11:30. Can you believe it?!

Thankfully, we didn’t have much planned…and spent most of the day at home. Like I said above, Travis worked a bit (phone calls, etc), watched all the races, and placed some bets. (He does a few large group bets too.) Hayden wasn’t feeling well, so it was a good day of downtime for him too.

I guess we all just needed a day to recoup.

My mom does more on Derby day than we do! In KC, she throws a party every year. It’s fun to see her friends in their hats, holding their Derby draw winnings, and “loser” cups. She has a quite a few cute decorations that she’s acquired through the years.

I did go to the grocery store before the Derby to pick up steaks and sides for dinner.

Then it was time for the race…

Congrats to Mage, the 2023 Derby Winner!

After the race, Travis grilled out, and we ate as a family on the patio. Overall, it was a really great day at the track and then a relaxing day at home. To me, that’s the best of both worlds.

6 thoughts on “Kentucky Classics: Oaks/Derby

  1. Sounds like two great days! I love that dress and I love that it’s really versatile. I can see it working in fall, winter, spring, and summer. The fascinator was gorgeous, too. I like that you always wear a bit of pink and it helps decide the outfit, too. Your mom is so cool! I love that she does that!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes โ€ฆitโ€™s definitely a dress that can be worn for many events. Looking for a dress with pink in it, heโ€™s me narrow my focus haha
      Yes- her derby party is a fun tradition for her and her friends .


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