The country’s hautest celebrities, fashion mavens and horse enthusiasts gathered for the 140th Kentucky Derby on Saturday. From feather fascinators to fuchsia suits, there was no shortage of sites to take in at the famous at Churchill Downs racetrack—and Haute Living got a front row seat for all the action.
To kick off Derby weekend, more than 1,000 guests gathered at the Kentucky Exposition Center for “Taste of the Derby” where award-winning chefs from popular horse racings cities across the nation showcased an assortment of southern culinary creations. The event also raised funds and awareness for various hunger relief organizations where the participating chefs are located. And because no Derby event would be complete without a little bit of healthy competition, the chefs took part in a cooking competition timed by Longines, the official timekeeper and watch of the Kentucky Derby.
The next day, we headed to Churchill Downs for the 140th Kentucky Oaks, a competition for female thoroughbreds. In honor of the Oaks official flower, the stargazer lily, and in support of the racetrack’s partnerships with Bright Pink (a national non-profit organization that focuses on the prevention and early detection of breast and ovarian cancer in young women) and Horses & Hope (an organization aimed at increasing breast cancer awareness, education, screening and treatment referrals among Kentucky horse industry workers and their families), guests were asked to don head-to-toe pink.
Even though more than 100,000 fans came on to cheer on the fillies, it paled in comparison to the mania of Derby Day. On Saturday, we gathered in the exclusive the Terf Lounge and watched the races while sipping on mint juleps and succulent southern delicacies.
After watching California Chrome win the big race of the day, we were led to the private Winner’s Circle event to celebrate with jockey Victor Espinoza and co-owners Steve Coburn and Perry Martin. “I never dreamed I’d win a second Kentucky Derby, but here it is,” Espinoza said excitedly. “This was a typical race for him. He ran like he always does. I had the trip I wanted. I don’t mess with him too much. I just stretch his legs and little bit and then let him do his thing.”
The chestnut colt was considered the favorite at post-time with 5-2 odds and covered the 1 1/4-mile distance under the twin spires in 2:03.66. “It was a picture-perfect ride,” exclaimed the horse’s trainer, Art Sherman. “He was right where he should have been all the way around. Coming down the stretch I was thinking: ‘Keep rollin’ big boy. Keep rollin’.’ This has to be the sweetest moment of my life.”