The front-runner this year? Orb, a horse out of Phipps Stable and co-owned by Stuart S. Janney III. We spoke to Daisy Phipps Pulito, whose grandfather founded the family-owned stable in 1932, to get her insider’s take on the event. Plus, here’s a cocktail recipe to get you in the cheering mood.
- My favorite memory of the Kentucky Derby…
Watching Carl Nafzger call the stretch run of Unbridled’s 1990 win to his owner Mrs. Genter, who couldn’t see the race. It melts me.
- My Derby Day always starts (and ends) with…
Taking a shower.
- My favorite thing about Derby Day is…
This year it’s that we have a really good horse running. Most years it’s seeing the 100 thousand-plus people at Churchill Downs all dressed up looking great and cheering for the horses.
- Craziest horse name I’ve ever heard of…
My Wife Knows Everything vs. The Wife Doesn’t Know. Out of pure luck two horses with these names wound up in a race together and just happened to duel down the stretch! And ARRRRRR — self explanatory! There are other more “interesting” names, but that’s what Google is for!
- Craziest good-luck ritual I’ve ever heard of…
Well, I have a friend who considers his wife to be a “jinx” or bad luck, so if she insists on watching a race with him, she has to wear a blindfold.
- Orb is…
A leading contender to win the Derby because he has been running great and winning in previous races, plus he is training very well at Churchill Downs. He has a perfect style and pedigree for the Kentucky Derby. By style, I mean he will sit back and relax about mid-pack and wait till the right moment to unleash his powerful run. No horse in the Derby has run 1 1/4 miles (the distance of the Derby) so you have to rely on great breeding to get those final few yards. So while the front-runners in the early part of the races start to get tired around the final turn, you’ll see Orb passing horses like they are standing still — or at least that’s how my dreams have unfolded over the past week.
- About his name…
His sire is a horse named Malibu Moon and an orb is a sphere.
- My favorite thing about Derby Day…
I hope I haven’t experienced that yet.
- For those of you unfamiliar with the sport, you should know that…
1. The racetrack wants you to win because you are betting against each other and not the “house.” That’s one of the biggest misconceptions and the major difference from gambling in a casino. Now you understand how/why those casinos are so big!
2. The blanket of roses that they put on the winning Derby horse has more than 400 red roses sewn into a green satin backing.
3. The jockeys are wearing the silks of the owners. When you become a horse owner you get to pick your colors and pattern so everyone knows that’s your horse! They used to run in actual silk, but now the silks are made of a more aerodynamic material.
4. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the horses. Only three-year-old horses are allowed to compete in the Kentucky Derby so it’s the horse’s only chance to win the RUN FOR THE ROSES!
5. The official drink of the Derby is the Mint Julep and they taste terrible. Have one and be done or have a second because they always taste better.
6. There will be 20 horses in the Derby so truly anything can happen. The Derby sometimes looks like the 405 or Times Square. You need a little bit of luck and a whole lot of patience to navigate the Derby field!
7. Tune in to NBC at 6 PM on Saturday and don’t be late — the race is only two minutes!
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