The Kentucky Derby 2013: From past traditions at Churchill Downs to Orb… and a little fashion in between

Photo credit= AP | Joel Rosario rides Orb during the 139th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. (May 4, 2013)

Oversized hats and mint juleps can only mean one thing: The Kentucky Derby 2013! Held at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, on the first Saturday in May every year, the Derby is THE place to be and be seen! And not just for the horses. This year, over 150,000 people flocked to the race and the festivities. If you couldn’t make it down to Kentucky or if you missed the broadcast (which started later than scheduled), don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. Read further for a live-cast video of the race, celebrity fashions, the Derby winner, Orb, and everything you need to know about this year’s famed race!

You don’t monkey with tradition

The first running of the Derby dates back to 1875, but the horse race didn’t gain its current fame and popularity until the 1920s–and credit for this, and a number of other traditions, goes to Matt Winn. According to a U.S. News & World Report article by Tierney Sneed on May 03, 2013, “The Origin of Your Favorite Kentucky Derby Traditions,” Winn “served as the face of the race from 1902 until his death in 1949.” It was because of him that the Kentucky Derby is synonymous with:

  • “My Old Kentucky Home”
  • Gambling
  • Hats
  • Celebrity Sightings

Winn, however, is not credited with making the mint julep the unofficial drink of the Derby. An actress by the name of Helena Modjeska gets this honor. The famous drink, made with Kentucky whiskey, has been served at the Derby since its inception. But it was Modjeska who ordered it, loved it and made it a household name.

Need a great mint julep recipe or just want to learn more about the renowned drink? Check out the Los Angeles Times‘ Daily Dish article “Kentucky Derby 2013: A mint julep recipe now being served,” posted on May 04, 2013, by Rene Lynch. If only you had one of the souvenir glasses…

Fashion is key

Winn is also credited with making the Kentucky Derby a fashion scene. He needed a way to market the event to women, so he used fashion as a way to make the race seem like a must-do event! And this is exactly what it has become.

Today, celebrities from musicians to sports stars attend the event, and women can be seen donning some pretty elaborate headgear. Check out‘s “Celebrities at the 2013 Kentucky Derby” posted on May 04, 2013, with photos by Darron Cummings, to view some of this year’s top fashion statements.

AP Photo/Darron Cummings, Author Nora Roberts at the Kentucky Derby 2013, credit

And the winner is…

Orb! Ridden by Joel Rosario and trained by Shug McGaughey, the young colt crossed the finish line with a time of 2:02.89. Just in case you missed it, here’s the “Kentucky Derby 2013 Full Race | LIVE 5-4-13.” And what a story this is–not only for the horse but for the trainer as well.

Prior to this year, Kentucky native and esteemed trainer Shug McGaughey had entered the Derby six times–and lost each time. Although he has achieved numerous awards and victories and has been inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, the Derby always eluded him–until this year. covered the story in a post on May 04, 2013, by Matt Rybaltowski, titled “Orb gives McGaughey first Kentucky Derby victory.”

The article explains, “McGaughey began to gain confidence in the son of Malibu Moon in February when he upset highly-regarded Violence in the Fountain of Youth. Orb then defeated a strong field in the Florida Derby in March that included Its My Lucky Day and Shanghai Bobby. It was only then that McGaughey felt he had a legitimate shot of winning his first Kentucky Derby.”

And it paid off. With his first Derby win under his belt, an emotional McGaughey told the media that he “‘always dreamed of this day.'”

What about you? Was Orb your favorite? If not, whom were you rooting for in the Derby? Did your bets (pun definitely intended) pay off?

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