Happy (Belated) Derby Day to You!

bigdog posted on 05/16/11 at 12:23 PM

Things have been so busy over here, I haven't had a chance to share my Derby Day photos yet. But spring has been slow in coming for many parts of the U.S., and I know nothing says "spring is here!" to me quite like my annual sojourn to the Derby. As always, this tradition is thanks to our good friends and trading partners at Knight Capital. This is definitely the most fun industry event I attend all year!

Let's start with the Oaks, the all-mares-and-fillies race that takes place the Friday before Derby Saturday. A few years back, Churchill Downs began working with the Susan Komen Breast Cancer charity, and the crowd is encouraged to wear pink to support the day's theme. The ladies like to whoop it up at this race with lots of pink bunting, gorgeous arrays of flowers, and of course some really cool, elaborate hats.

I'll begin with my girl Courtney's latest creation - she often designs or enhances these hats every year herself. Courtney opted for a fantastic swooping affair for 2011, plus a matching pink cast for her broken pinkie finger.  I rocked a rakish trilby in plaid myself. I'm not usually a hat guy, but I had some fun wearing this one. (Note the pale-pink stripe running through the plaid - Courtney knows how to work the details into these outfits!)

This truck loaded with pink lilies and roses gives you a sense of the scope and grandeur involved with these races. (I like the contrast in this image between flowers and pickup truck, myself.) 

We've been at Derby Days where the weather was rainy and dreary, but we got lucky this year with just some mid-day drizzles that soon faded. As Jordan Sparks sang the national anthem to kick off the event, Churchill Downs was sparkly with sunshine. A great day for the races! 

Thanks again to Courtney, we had an outfit change for Day Two. Here's Courtney in her "fascinator" hat. With this purchase, Cort supported a relatively obscure artist she found online, Frigid Couture, adding only that sterling silver horse to it:

Of course, in the midst of all the julep-sipping, song-singing, and general revelry, there's those exciting couple minute bursts of actual racing. We got this crisp shot of the horses in full gallop as they passed us during one of the turf races: 

The Derby winner this year was the aptly named Animal Kingdom. Here he is, just moments after the race was won: 

It's always fun to track down friends from around the country who also converge on Louisville for the big day. Here's a shot of Courtney in the infield with our good friend Blayne Thompson (Blayne was also the officiant who married us back in 2007):

Last but not least, here's a nice shot of me with one of our hosts, Steve Kay of Knight Capital. We call him the Kentucky Colonel of Trading - thanks for a great time, Steve and team! 


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Posted by bigdog on 05/16/11 at 12:23 PM


buynhold posted May 16, 2011 (03:08PM)

Looks like fun, Don.  We enjoyed a Derby Day at a friend's house, complete with hats and a 3 Hundred Grand prize for the winning triple play entry.  My wife took home the prize, and was kind enough to share the 3 candy bars!

bigdog posted May 17, 2011 (12:51PM)

Now that’s my kind of party, buynhold. 364 days out of the year, I’m not much of a guy to dress up – my TK colleagues could tell you that my daily “uniform” in Florida is khakis, shorts or long pants, with a navy-blue TradeKing polo. But it’s strangely fun to go the full nine once every year, and the Derby outfits are so outlandishly great it’s easy to get into the spirit. Plus my wife always looks like a million bucks, so I can’t let the family down by looking like a slob!

I’m curious: do you serve mint juleps at your Derby party? If so, what’s your recipe? It’s a devilishly good drink that I’m still learning to make well, so I’m on the hunt for good recipes / preparation tips. This year I mostly drank Woodford Bourbon with a splash of ginger ale – didn’t turn out to be a “lucky” drink for me. ;-)

buynhold posted May 18, 2011 (03:54PM)

Only the non-alcoholic version, enjoyed by kids and adults alike.  I'm sure there are some blue-blooded Kentuckians on TK that have some ancient family recipes--maybe they could share with you.

bigdog posted May 27, 2011 (09:31AM)

My blog editor, Jude Stewart, descends from a long line of Kentuckians – they’re all from Louisville too, no less! Her favorite mint julep recipe isn’t a family one, but it’s a solid standby: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/sara-moulton/the-perfect-mint-julep-recipe/index.html She skips the powdered sugar on top at the end, but experiment and see what you like.

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