Derby Day

I love Derby Day.  In fact I love all three Saturdays of the Triple Crown.  Not that I know anything about horse racing or horses, it’s just that these races brought me closer to my Mom.  A few years after my Dad died, I found out that my Dad was a big horse racing fan and could actually pick out the winners.  Never knew that and only have one memory of going with him to the local harness racing track for the Atlantic National Exhibition.  I spent most of that day at the amusement rides next to the track so I never saw the excitement Dad had during the races.  So when I heard the stories, I suggested that my Mom and I watch the races together and toast my Dad. She was into it but the tricky part was she was in one part of Canada and I was 18 hours away, so we did it over the phone watching the same TV channel for the actual race. She would pick a horse and I would pick another. An for the most exciting two minutes in sports we would cheer our horses over the phone. It was good fun and even got to the point that I sent her Smarty Jones hats and T shorts for us to cheer Smarty Jones during it’s Triple Crown run.  We always remembered to toast my Dad too.  So later today, I will call my Mom, watch the race and toast my Dad.

But what will I toast my Dad with?  Since this race is the famous Kentucky Derby, the drink of choice is the Mint Julep. You knew some how I was going to work food and/or drink into this post didn’t you.  The classic Mint Julep is steeped in tradition but pretty simple to make.Mint Julep for Derby Day

Mint Julep

4 fresh mint sprigs
2 1/2 oz bourbon whiskey
1 tsp powdered sugar
2 tsp water

Muddle mint leaves, powdered sugar, and water in a Collins glass. Fill the glass with shaved or crushed ice and add bourbon. Top with more ice and garnish with a mint sprig. Serve with a straw.

Maker's Mark Kentucky BourbonSince it’s the Kentucky Derby, you should use a good bourbon. They are only made in Kentucky so it tightens the connection with actual race.  However any whiskey could be used in a pinch but if you substitute rum, you are into the Mojito territory and that would be a different posting for sure.  Anyway have a beverage and enjoy the race.  I know I will.Derby Day Mint Juleps

One of the ways the race will be special today is that we have “green” riding along with riders.  Poker buddy and Facebook friend Matt has arranged a betting pool for today’s race.  A bunch of us have thrown in $12 each for Matt to bet with.  The overall strategy is to bet on long shots so that if they ever hit the group wins big.  The weather reports that the track in Louisville is going to be a bit muddy so that takes away the advantage for the favourites – that’s good for us.  I just checked in with Matt on Facebook and he let let us know “well right now we can have 8 longshot horses in an exacta box for $56 dollars. That leaves us with around $76 dollars for trifectas.”  Not sure exactly what that means but I am hoping I have a couple of horse to cheer on later today.  Wish me luck.

Tell us your traditions by clicking on the comments link below this post.

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