Popular Kentucky Derby Traditions


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“The most exciting two minutes in sports” is more than just a horse race but a culture. With rich traditions dating back to 1875, the Kentucky Derby vitalizes Kentucky’s biggest industry- Horses.

Below are some of the traditions that make the Kentucky Derby so great.



Every year, the winning horse of the Kentucky Derby is given a garland of more than 400 red roses. Thus, the Kentucky Derby has the nickname ” Run for the Roses”.


Mint Juleps

The Mint Julep is the official drink of the Derby. Made with Louisville’s own Old Forester Bourbon, more than 120,000 Mint Juleps are served during the weekend of Derby.


Derby PiesImage result for derby pies

Kern’s Kitchen makes the official Derby-Pie. Filled with chocolate chips, bourbon, and walnuts this pie is a tradition not to miss.




Probably the most well- known tradition of the Kentucky Derby are the over-sized women’s hats. Getting bigger, more colorful, and more extravagant every year, viewing all the hats is part of the entertainment of the day.


“My Old Kentucky Home”

As the Kentucky Derby races horses walk onto the track before the race, more than 160,000 people sing along to “My Old Kentucky Home” by Stephen Foster. This song, performed by the University of Louisville Marching Band since 1936, shows every Kentuckians pride for their state. Click the link below to listen to Judy Garland’s version.

My Old Kentucky Home- Judy Garland

*Photos and figures provided by kentuckyderby.com