There’s no great sport that does not have a backbone of tradition. Sports wouldn’t be what they are today without some history and legacy attached to it —which is all wrapped up into the history of the event. Days are becoming shorter and you might just wake up one day that Kentucky Derby is just a jump away.

When it comes to Kentucky Derby, the tradition is bigger than the race itself. The buildup to the event owns a spotlight just as much as what’s going on off the track and about what is going on during the race.

Also, this is mainly the reason as to why people flock over to Churchill Downs each year since it’s about taking part in the spectacle and being able to join Derby’s traditions. Know more of the race’s traditions as another Kentucky Derby is set to take place this year.

My Old Kentucky Home

As the horses step onto the track, the song My Old Kentucky Home begins and you’ll probably have your hair on your arm stand as horse racing fans singing in unison with the event’s anthem. This song was originally written by Stephen Foster and is composed around the year 1853.

This ballad song talks about an enslaved servant’s description of the natural beauty and the feelings associated with the Kentucky terrain. It is believed that it has been originated as a Derby Day tradition in the year 1921 for the 47th running, later on, it was then dubbed as the Kentucky state song in 1928.

Kentucky Derby Hats

This is the cherry on top of Kentucky Derby’s traditions—wearing a hat that is completely over the top that makes you a head-turner for the event. Wearing this type of a hat is essentially the dress code for attending the event which everyone tries to show off with their giant hats because for an event that runs on dirt, it’s still all about elegance and class.

This tradition dates to when the Kentucky Derby has first started way back in 1875. At that time, the race track had immoral as a reputation, Colonel Meriwether Lewis Clark Jr. which is the founder, added some aristocratic flair to the Derby to ensure favorable crowd at his event.

Clark then encouraged high society women to tell their circle about the event and to have a lovely and proper picnic at the racetrack, which eventually worked in changing the culture of the race. This tradition has now then evolved into a hat that is believed to be a good luck charm which men and women alike will be wearing hats.

Mint Julep

The Kentucky Derby and the parties for the event always feature the mint julep. Mint julep is the official cocktail of the Kentucky Derby for nearly a century. This cocktail is traditionally made with Bourbon, mint, sugar, and water which is served in a silver or pewter cup. Although it is unknown as to what’s its exact origin, the drink still became popular in the South and is especially popular In Kentucky.

Just as how there’s Mint Julep for the Kentucky Derby, other Triple Crown events have their own signature drinks too and dishes as well. In a setting where it is about sophistication, a humble beer wouldn’t cut it as the official drink of the Kentucky Derby.

Garland of Roses

Just like how Preakness Stakes has their Black-Eyed-Susan garland, the Kentucky Derby has their garland of roses wherein the roses symbolize the struggle and heart that is necessary to reach the Derby Winner’s Circle.

The first rose garland appeared around 1896 when Ben Brush has received a floral arrangement of white and pink roses for his win, later in, it has caused the red rose to become the official flower of the Kentucky Derby in 1904.

Kentucky Oaks

The Kentucky Oaks is a Grade I stake race for the three-year-old Thoroughbred fillies which is annually staged at the Churchill Downs on the day before the Kentucky Derby. The first operation of the Kentucky Oaks was on May 19, 1875. The race, which is founded by Meriwether Lewis Clark, which was the grandson of explorer and Missouri governor, General William Clark of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.


If you’re a true horse racing enthusiast, then shouldn’t you learn more about horse racing, its tradition, and its history? Nothing beats a horse racing fan packed up with loads of information about the horse racing events people are excited for. That’s why you should do your homework and look for more history info of Kentucky Derby on the internet.

Even though it wouldn’t help you out in terms of betting, the things written here would surely heighten up your experience for this year’s Kentucky Derby by attending and participating the said gimmicks they have prepared for this year’s event.

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