Admittedly, pulling off a trip to the Kentucky Derby at this late date is probably pretty hard to do, given it's now 8 days away and counting. If you love a good, stiff bourbon drink (and our friend over at the Liquid Muse has a recipe for a killer mint julep), look for any excuse to don a totally over the top hat (we wish we had British friends who would invite us to their wedding) and your last name doesn't rhyme with Bilton, we've got a few alternatives for you:
Try to go on Kentucky Oaks Day on May 2--the annual race the day before the Derby for 3-year old fillies, which is as old as the Derby itself (134 runnings to be exact). Granted, our mind is in the gutter, but when else can you get away with a statement like jockey Kent Desormeaux's recent comment without getting slapped: “I think if you were out there, you just got a treat because those two little fillies were flying down the lane. They are multi-talented and I had a lot of fun.”
You may still be able to get tickets for the notoriously debacherous infield and if not, we're sure you can flirt your way in.
Option B is to wait until May 17 and head to Maryland for the Preakness. The second leg of the triple crown isn't quite as iconic as the Derby, but it still holds some sway. You'll find ladies in hats and you'll still have the opportunity to drink bourbon--albeit in a Black Eyed Susan (a concoction of bourbon, vodka, oj and sweet and sour mix--drink at your own risk). If the winner of the Derby wins this race, you're in for quite a party!
The third option--wait for NYC's Belmont Stakes on June 7. This is one of the few times when NYC comes in dead last on the excitement of an event. Forget about the horses--and if there's not a Triple Crown contender, most people will--consider that the drink, the Belmont Breeze was created in 1998 and is basically a Shirley Temple with whiskey and cream sherry. It's down right embarrassing.
Which leads us to our final option: Waiting until the season at Saratoga opens on July 23. However, we don't plan that far in advance. We'll get back to you on that one.