It’s No Joke, it’s the Oaks!

The Kentucky Derby and Oaks are both annual traditions in Louisville, Kentucky that Kentuckians and people from all over the country come to. Derby is on the first Saturday in May and the race is a Grade I stakes race for three-year-old Thoroughbreds, that is a length of one and a quarter miles, at Churchill Downs. If a horse were to win a race in the Kentucky Derby, it would win a blanket of roses and its jockey would win a lot of money. For Oaks and Derby, Churchill Downs fills with people betting, wearing hats and having field fun! This year was the 141st year that Kentuckians have been celebrating the Derby. Traditionally, everyone shows up sharp and clean-cut! The Oaks race is on the Friday before the Kentucky Derby. During this race, three-year-old thoroughbred fillies are staged. On Oaks, people from all over come to see and bet on the female horses. The winner of the Oaks receives a blanket of lilies. Since the filly horse races are held on Oaks Day, attendees incorporate pink in their outfits for the female horses, and to show support for breast cancer survivors. The most popular place to be on Oaks Day is the infield. The infield is located on the inside of the track and many people meet there for fun festive activities. The infield could be compared to Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras. Over 80,000 people pack into the infield to catch a glimpse of the horse race winners, to re-unite with old friends and to have the experience of a lifetime. The infield offers a family-like picnic setting for people of all ages. It also offers a space for young college-aged rookies to socialize with friends. Though Oaks day is not the day of the male horse races, it is still packed with great music, fun, food and hats! An annual tradition that thousands of ladies and even men participate in are wearing extravagant hats. Big hats, little hats, colorful and even bland hats. Wearing a hat is much like getting into costume; you might be pleasantly surprised to see what type of character you have become. Another fun festivity at Oaks is a fashion contest. In 1875, when the Derby began, women at the Derby wanted to wear their finest to the races, and in those days that definitely included a hat. Though headwear isn’t necessary for formal attire in America today, the tradition stuck at the Kentucky Derby. Whether you are there for the fashion, the fun, or the racing Derby and Oaks are races that you don’t want to miss. Make sure to mark your calendars now for the 142nd Derby race next May. Two ladies at Churchill Downs dress in their finest for Oaksderby

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