Saturday, May 4, 2013

It's "Derby Day" At My Old Kentucky Home!

Yes, you read it right.  I lived in Kentucky at Murray State University.  But I will always be a Buckeye...

While at college in 1980, my roommate Julie and I were invited to go to the Derby by a native "Louisvillian."  It was great fun!  I normally hate being at large crowded events, but we camped out on the infield where the "average" folks go and were able to run up to the rail whenever there was a race.  The Derby is just one of many.  "The Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports" (Mark says he's heard "Fastest Two Minutes In Sports") derby race occurs precisely at 6:04 p.m.  (5/5 update--Sure wasn't precisely this time!) It is the longest running sporting event in the US, as this is the 139th running.  (Second is the Westminster Dog Show!)  The winning horse is given a rose blanket, thus it's the "Run for the Roses."

Though I am pretty sure I only broke even at the end of the day, I do remember winning my first horse racing bet (haven't won since.)  I bet $2 on Genuine Risk who was a) a filly, b) me betting was a genuine risk, and c) she was wearing green and white like me that day.  Very scientific, don't you think?  I won around $22!

I don't particularly like them, but one has to get a watered down Mint Julep if only for the collectible glass.  They aren't expensive and make a nice keepsake.  Some of them are highly sought after.  Someone put mine in the dishwasher and the writing disappeared, so I decided to get a replacement on Ebay.  That was the first of several glass purchases though I could never afford a full set of 48 (approx. $16k) Most people can't either, so they buy ones from meaningful years in their lives and or important races.  I bought the one from the year Secretariat won and one from my birth year, etc.  Beware, there are lots of fakes out there!  Check out online reference guides to be sure.  One I've seen is "Equillector." (

Here is the 2013 official glass.  (Frankly, I don't find it as appealing as several previous years...)   It does list the past winners, which is a tradition.

If you would like to try a Mint Julep, here is the recipe (from

Makes one serving---

4-5 mint sprigs

2 sugar cubes or 1/2 oz simple syrup
2 1/2 of bourbon
mint sprig for garnish

1.  Place the mint and simple syrup or cubes in a julep cup, Collins glass or double-old fashioned glass.

2.  Muddle well to dissolve sugar and to release the oil and aroma of the mint.

3.  Add the bourbon.

4.  Fill with crushed ice and stir well until the glass becomes frosty.

5. Garnish with mint sprig.

Another Derby tradition is "Derby Pie."  It comes under other names because that one is licensed by Kern's Kitchen, Inc.  It's available for purchase online.  Traditionally, it is made with walnuts, but some folks basically make a chocolate pecan pie.  It is so decadent, it should be illegal.  Really rich, so a small slice will satisfy even me.

Makes 1 Kentucky Bourbon Chocolate Walnut Pie ( version)

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes


  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons Kentucky bourbon
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 ready-made pie crust


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine flour and sugar in a mixing bowl. Add the eggs and butter; mix to combine. 

Stir in the bourbon, walnuts, chocolate chips, vanilla, and salt. 
Pour the mixture into the unbaked pie crust. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool before slicing. 
So, be sure to tune in at 6:04 p.m. Saturday, May 4th and watch the race on NBC.  
Better yet, the pre-race show starts at 5:00 p.m. That's when they show the horse, owner 
and trainer's stories.  If you can't see it in real time, be sure to set your DVR and don't 
let anyone tell you who won!  If you do watch it in real time, you might like the words 
to the traditional song everyone sings just before the "Call To The Post."  

My Old Kentucky Home Words and Music by: Stephen C. Foster

The sun shines bright in the old Kentucky home
'Tis summer, the people are gay;
The corn top's ripe and the meadow's in the bloom,
While the birds make music all the day;
The young folks roll on the little cabin floor,
All merry, all happy, and bright,
By'n by hard times comes a-knocking at the door,
Then my old Kentucky home, good night!

Weep no more, my lady,
Oh weep no more today!
We will sing one song for the old Kentucky home,
For the old Kentucky home far away.

They hunt no more for the 'possum and the coon,
On meadow, the hill and the shore,
They sing no more by the glimmer of the moon,
On the bench by that old cabin door;
The day goes by like a shadow o'er the heart,
With sorrow where all was delight;
The time has come when the people have to part,
Then my old Kentucky home, good night!


The head must bow and the back will have to bend,
Wherever the people may go;
A few more days and the trouble all will end
In the field where sugar-canes may grow;
A few more days for to tote the weary load,
No matter, 'twill never be light,
A few more days till we totter on the road,
Then my old Kentucky home, good night!

Happy Race Day!!!!


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