Today, like most days, I am in Texas. And, like most days, I wish I were in Kentucky. Because today, if I were in Kentucky, I would be at Churchill Downs wearing pink (my nails are painted a ridiculous shade of *PINK*, does that count?!?!), sipping an Oaks Lily® (alcohol, for some unknown reason, is prohibited on school property), and watching three-year-old fillies race for the garland of lilies. Today is a special day for the ladies. Today is the 138th Kentucky Oaks.
A bit o’ history on the Oaks:
The stargazer lily became the official flower of the Kentucky Oaks in 1991, when the Kroger Company was commissioned to create a feminine garland for the fillies who contested the Derby’s sister race. Lite Light, winner of the 117th Kentucky Oaks, was the first filly to receive the garland.
The stargazer lily was selected for its femininity and strength. A total of 133 lilies are sewn into a white moiré fabric backing with a fleur-de-lis pattern, which, like the green satin of the Kentucky Derby garland, is embroidered in white-on-white with the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s seal at one end and Churchill Downs’ Twin Spires and the number of the race’s renewal at the other. The garland of lilies is trimmed with a dramatic border of oak ivy leaves, also symbolic of the Oaks event.
Similar to the Derby’s mint julep, the Kentucky Oaks official beverage is the Oaks Lily®, made with 1 oz. Vodka (preferably Grey Goose), 1 oz. Sweet and Sour Mix, 3 oz. Cranberry Juice, and a splash of Triple Sec. When the ingredients are mixed, the pinkish cocktail is placed in an official glass (a stem-less wine glass) with crushed ice, add a straw and garnished with an orange wedge and cherry.
Attire for the Kentucky Oaks is similar to the Derby but with one exception …. everybody wears *PINK*. Everybody, including the fillies (female horses) and jockeys, wear pink for Kentucky Oaks. You’ll see pink dresses, pink handkerchiefs, pink hats, pink sunglasses, pink shoes, pink bow ties, and pink silks on Oaks Day. There’s pink everywhere! Prior to the Oaks race, cancer survivors and their families walk in the special Survivors Parade around the track. It’s an emotional time, but a cause worth supporting and celebrating.
Now, for the most important part of any trip to the race track … betting on a horse. I’m not going to explain the ins-and-outs of race betting, but I’m giving you my pick. Because I’m a fan of gray horses (and my new-found love for Mr. Grey from 50 Shades) … because I’m feeling feisty … and because I’m feeling lucky, I’m placing my Monopoly money on On Fire Baby. I’m a high-roller like that. Don’t hate. If I win, you’ll hear me squeal.
Because I have such wonderful and awesome aunties, they placed a REAL bet at Churchill Downs for me. I have $15 on On Fire Baby to win/place/show. In simple terms, I will win if this horse places first, second, or third.
Tomorrow, Saturday, May 5, is the 138th Kentucky Derby, a day when the boys (mostly) run for the roses. If I were in Kentucky, I’d be watching that too. But, alas, I’m not in Kentucky and my Texas peeps don’t understand all this hoop-lah. They obviously don’t understand my unbridled spirit for Kentucky.
Happy Race Days!
All photos, unless otherwise notes, are courtesy of Churchill Downs.