The first Saturday in May has been the day the world stops for the fastest two minutes in sports since 1875. It’s the day that everyone around the world becomes an honorary Kentuckian by donning their best Derby hat, singing My Old Kentucky Home, placing bets on their favorite horse and sipping one of the bourbon industries most famous drinks the Mint Julep. And even if you don’t like Mint Juleps it’s pretty much an unwritten Kentucky law that requires everyone (of legal drinking age) to drink at least one on Derby Day.
Unfortunately like most in-person events around the world the Covid-19 outbreak has cancelled just about every face-to-face event and the Kentucky Derby, the nation’s longest running horse race is no exception. A few weeks ago Churchill Downs, the home to the Derby announced that only for the second time in the tracks 146 year history the race would not happen on the first Saturday in May. The only other time this occurred was in 1945 when World War II forced the race to be pushed from May to early June. The 2020 race has been rescheduled from May 2 to September 5, the first Saturday in September.
Woodford Reserve and Churchill Downs to Host ‘Kentucky Derby at Home’
But, don’t fret, you can still don your favorite Derby hat, pour an ice cold bourbon filled Mint Julep (the mint part is optional) and enjoy the first virtual “Kentucky Derby at Home” day. Churchill Downs along with its presenting sponsor Woodford Reserve still plans to celebrate Saturday May 2, 2020, by hosting a day-long at-home Kentucky Derby party to raise $2 million for COVID-19 emergency relief efforts. Churchill Downs and Woodford Reserve invites fans to honor the annual tradition while staying “Healthy at Home.”
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Fans can tune in to a special broadcast on NBC on May 2, from 3 to 6 p.m. EDT, which will feature the 2015 Kentucky Derby that began the legendary American Pharaoh’s historic Triple Crown run. In addition, the NBC broadcast will highlight Churchill Downs’ first ever virtual horse race—The Kentucky Derby: Triple Crown Showdown, a computer-simulated version of a race under the historic Twin Spires of Churchill Downs. The virtual race, created by Inspired Entertainment, will feature the 13 past Triple Crown winners and use data algorithms including historical handicapping information about each horse, which helps to determine the probability of their potential finishing positions.
Churchill Downs to Match Donations up to $1 Million
Beginning on April 30, fans will be able to visit KentuckyDerby.com to choose their favorite horse to win the virtual race and also join Churchill Downs in making a charitable donation to COVID-19 emergency relief efforts. All participants who select the winning horse will be entered to win the ultimate Kentucky Derby 146 VIP Experience. Churchill Downs has pledged to match up to $1 million of donations with funds to be directed to the Team Kentucky Fund and Direct Relief. A small percentage will be earmarked for the R.E.I.N. Fund (Relief for Equine Industry Needs), a program managed by Churchill Downs Foundation designed to benefit workers of the backside whose livelihood has been impacted by COVID-19 and also to help ensure essential care for horses throughout the pandemic.
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A full day of online festivities is planned on May 2, designed to encourage the perfect interactive Kentucky Derby party at home. Churchill Downs will join the Kentucky Derby Museum and other partners to offer virtual tours, Derby cocktail and fascinator-making instructions, ideas for party decorations, kids’ crafts, Derby-inspired recipes, an at-home Derby fashion contest and much more.
Churchill Downs and Woodford Reserve will be offering unique content on social media during the day, which will be followed by NBC’s 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. re-airing of the legendary 2015 Kentucky Derby that began American Pharaoh’s historic Triple Crown run.
“The Kentucky Derby is not just a horse race — it’s tradition, pageantry and history — and it brings people together from across the globe for the Greatest Two Minutes in Sports,” said Woodford Reserve Master Distiller Chris Morris. “Now more than ever, it is important to preserve that history and keep the tradition alive.”
A series of interactive virtual experiences, from Kentucky Derby Museum tours to Derby-inspired recipes are scheduled to air on Kentucky Derby’s official social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram— @KentuckyDerby). To further lift spirits and encourage safe and healthy at-home Derby celebrations, Woodford Reserve will join the at-home celebration with the following programming.
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12:00 PM,The Greatest Race
12:15 PM,Kids Craft
1:00 PM,DIY Fascinator Making
2:00 PM, “Bourbon, Horses & History — Woodford Reserve Master Distiller Chris Morris will demonstrate how to make the perfect Mint Julep while speaking about the history that connects thoroughbreds, bourbon and Derby. Assistant Master Distiller Elizabeth McCall, an expectant mother, will share her favorite mocktail recipes that are inspired by Derby cocktail classics. She will also share tips to enjoy the day with the entire family.”
3:00PM,”A Global Live Toast to Derby — Morris and McCall will join Derby fans from all over the world join for a toast to celebrate the First Saturday in May and look forward to the Sept. 5 Run for the Roses. The toast will be on Woodford Reserve’s YouTube Live channel.”
3:00-6:00 PM,2015 American Pharoah Derby & Kentucky Derby: Triple Crown Showdown on NBC
5:00 PM,Virtual Toast
5:15 PM,My Old Kentucky Home Sing-a-long
6:00-8:00 PM,Arkansas Derby on NBCSN
All times are ET and subject to change.
Join the virtual party by posting your home Derby Party experience using #KyDerbyAtHome on Saturday, May 2, and follow @KentuckyDerby on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram on the first Saturday in May to engage with a full day of exciting content and other at-home Derby parties from across the country.
You can start practicing ‘My Old Kentucky Home’ right now.