Time To Prep for The Kentucky Derby

Me with my handicapping buddy, Jennifer Tilly at Derby 139

We are only weeks away from the “Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports”; the 141st Running of The Kentucky Derby on May 2nd at Historic Churchill Downs in Louisville, KY. It’s a great time for our Commonwealth, and for the Bourbon Industry too. They will serve almost 150,000 Mint Juleps at the track that week alone. All throughout Kentucky Old Fashioned’s, Brown Derby’s, Manhattans, Boulevardiers, and Gold Rush’s will be muddled, shaken, and stirred quenching the thirst of locals and visitors alike. If you’d like to know how to make any of these cocktails you can visit our brands websites or go to one of our good partners, Liquor.com.

There are 20 horses in the Kentucky Derby and these are the “best of the best”. They have to earn their way in to the first Saturday of May. I might suggest that instead of just opening the program that day and going from there, why not start to see the progression of those horses in the Derby Prep races around the county. To get in to the Derby you have to win points by placing in these Derby Prep races. These young horses (just 3 years old) have to run further distances and win over steep competition to get to the Run For The Roses on the first Saturday of May in Louisville, KY. Just like not everyone gets to be an Eagle Scout, and not every whiskey gets to be a Bottled In Bond, not every horse gets to be in the Kentucky Derby.

We’ve already had big wins from Firing Line at the Sunland Derby, Dortmund at the San Felipe, El Kabier in the Gotham, and a very impressive win by American Pharoah by 6 ¼ lengths at the Rebel Stakes. See; you’re getting to know some of the horses already. When ya throw in the personalities of the trainers like Bob Baffert and Todd Pletcher, and jockeys like Gary Stevens and Ricardo Santana, Jr, well it just makes great drama and something to sip more bourbon while pondering the winners.

What I like to do is to take my ipad down to my local watering hole, order a bourbon cocktail and get on their wifi. I sign on to TwinSpires.com and then I can look up the track that’s running that day, download the racing form, and even make bets if I like. Set up an account, just takes a couple minutes, and “you’re off! You can even watch the races live from that site, and see the horses run while sipping on your favorite bourbon with friends.

Here’s a list of the upcoming Derby Prep Races. Get your friends together, and follow along in these horses, trainers, owners, barns, the jockey’s and fans, in their pursuit of the 141st Running of the Kentucky Derby.

March 28th
Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park (ItsAKnockOut, and Materiality are running)
Louisiana Derby at Fairgrounds (D. Wayne Lukas’ horse Mr. Z is running)

April 4th
Wood Memorial at Aqueduct
Santa Anita Derby at Santa Anita
Bluegrass Stakes at Keeneland

April 11th
Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park (American Pharoah runs here again)
Lexington Stakes at Keeneland

Triple Crown
May 2nd – The 141st Running of the Kentucky Derby
May 16th – The 140th Running of the Preakness
June 6th – The Belmont Stakes

Now it’s up to you, and whatever courage your favorite bourbon brings you. I hope you have a more enjoyable Kentucky Derby and Triple Crown now that you’ll be more prepared. As always, Stay Bonded!
Bernie Lubbers; Evan Williams Whiskey Professor

About bernie
-Whiskey Professor for Heaven Hill -2009 and 2012 Icons of Whiskey Award Winner - Whiskey Ambassador of the Year US and Global

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