Derby Day 2018 – horses, gambling, booze, and food

May 5 is Derby Day in Louisville!

Horses train on the track before the running of the Kentucky Oaks horse race at Churchill Downs Friday, May 4, 2018, in Louisville, Ky. The 144th Kentucky Derby is Saturday. (Darron Cummings | AP Photo)

Weather looked ominous on Friday, and there is a chance for rain on Saturday – also known as Derby Day – as well. According to AccuWeather,

Showers may dampen Louisville, Kentucky, on Saturday, when more than 100,000 people are expected to be on hand to watch the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby.

“There is now the potential for another round of showers to move through during Saturday,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Brian Thompson said. “Due to the showers, the odds of a fast track are diminishing, and if showers linger into the afternoon, the track could be muddy or sloppy for the Derby.”

“There is still the potential for the rain to stay mostly to the east, but recent trends don’t look promising,” he added.

NBC will carry full coverage of the day, starting at 2:30 p.m. ET. Post time will be at 6:46 p.m. ET. Live-stream options will be available through NBC’s Live Extra service.

Here are the 20 post positions assigned in Tuesday’s draw, with the early-morning odds assigned by the track:

1. Firenze Fire/Jason Servis/Paco Lopez/50-1
2. Free Drop Billy/Dale Romans/Robby Albarado/30-1
3. Promises Fulfilled/Dale Romans/Corey Lanerie/30-1
4. Flameaway/Mark Casse/Jose Lezcano/30-1
5. Audible/Todd Pletcher/Javier Castellano/8-1
6. Good Magic/Chad Brown/Jose Ortiz/12-1
7. Justify/Bob Baffert/Mike Smith/3-1
8. Lone Sailor/Thomas Amoss/James Graham/50-1
9. Hofburg/William Mott/Irad Ortiz Jr./20-1
10. My Boy Jack/Keith Desormeaux/Kent Desormeaux 30-1
11. Bolt d’Oro/Mike Ruis/Victor Ezpinoza/8-1
12. Enticed/Kiaran McLaughlin/Junior Alvarado/30-1
13. Bravazo/D. Wayne Lukas/Luis Contreras/50-1
14. Mendelssohn/Aidan O’Brien/Ryan Moore/5-1
15. Instilled Regard/Jerry Hollendorfer/Drayden Van Dyke/50-1
16. Magnum Moon/Todd Pletcher/Luis Saez/6-1
17. Solomini/Bob Baffert/Flavien Prat/30-1
18. Vino Rosso/Todd Pletcher/John Velazquez/12-1
19. Noble Indy/Todd Pletcher/Florent Goreoux/30-1
20. Combatant/Steve Asmussen/Ricardo Santana Jr./50-1

Since most of us will be watching from our living or family rooms, the chances of rain will only affect our bets. While we watch, we might want to have a snack or two – and a drink or two – available. It will be cocktail time, after all. So here are some traditional Derby treats (I’m sure my friends from the South will correct any errors on my part):

MINT JULEP (recipe courtesy of the NYT)

Ingredients (for one)

  • 12 to 15 fresh mint leaves, plus one sprig for garnish
  • 1 ounce peach syrup, like Monin
  • 2 ½ ounces bourbon
  • Superfine sugar


  1. Place mint and 1/4 ounce peach syrup in julep cup or 8- to 10-ounce old-fashioned glass and gently crush leaves with a wooden muddler, working them up sides of glass.
  2. Loosely pack glass with finely crushed ice, then add bourbon. Drizzle remaining peach syrup on top and garnish with mint sprig lightly dusted with sugar.


If you make a simple syrup make it a day ahead of time and soak your mint leaves in it while it is still warm and keep them there until ready for use. Skip the peach.



  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ pound sharp orange Cheddar, room temperature
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature


  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Grate cheese.
  2. In a food processor, pulse dry ingredients until combined, then add cheese and butter. Process until dough becomes smooth and has the texture of Play-Doh. Alternately, make the dough in a stand mixer by creaming cheese and butter until smooth. Then combine dry ingredients in a bowl and combine with butter mixture at low speed until smooth.
  3. Shape the dough into a cylinder, wrap with plastic wrap or parchment and allow to rest for 20 minutes. Or store in the refrigerator until ready to bake.
  4. Bring dough to room temperature and pack it into a cookie press fitted with a star disk. Pipe long ribbons of dough across the baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat, about an inch apart. Then cut into six-inch lengths. Repeat with remaining dough. Dough may also be hand-rolled into long ropes and cut to size, or shaped into a cylinder and sliced into rounds and baked.
  5. Bake for about 13 minutes or until the edges just begin to brown. Store between sheets of parchment or waxed paper in an airtight container. Will keep for up to three weeks.



  • ¼ cup bourbon, plus more for you
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 1 cup flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts


  1. First, take the bourbon out of the cupboard and have a small snort for medicinal purposes. Now, preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Butter and flour an 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch loaf pan. Using a mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, add the beaten eggs, a little at a time.
  2. Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg, and add to the batter. Then beat in the milk. Combine the molasses and baking soda and mix into the batter. To help prevent the raisins and pecans from sinking, dust them with flour, shaking off excess. Mix them, along with the bourbon, into the batter until combined. Transfer to the loaf pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes up clean, 1 3/4 to 2 hours.


Whiskey cake keeps practically forever, wrapped in aluminum foil, in your refrigerator. It gets better and better too, if you buck it up once in a while by using an eyedropper to add a little more whiskey.


Ingredients (for one)

  • Lemon wedge
  • Lime wedge
  • 4 oz. tomato juice
  • 2 dashes Tabasco
  • 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Pinch of celery salt
  • Pinch of coarsely ground pepper (pepper too finely ground will bring more heat and less flavor)
  • ¼ teaspoon peeled and freshly shredded horseradish (avoid using prepared horseradish from a jar)
  • 2 oz. vodka (not flavored)


  1. Squeeze lemon and lime wedges into a shaker. Add all other ingredients except vodka, and stir. Taste the mix, and adjust the seasoning if needed. Make as much as you think you will need, put the mix in the fridge, and let it sit overnight.
  2. Pour vodka into the shaker. Add ice cubes, and shake.
  3. Fill an 8-ounce glass about halfway with ice, and strain the shaker contents over it.
  4. For garnish, use slice of seedless cucumber, also known as a hothouse or English cucumber, rather than celery. Spear the pitted green olive with a toothpick, and stick it through the rind of the lemon wedge. Place the wedge on the rim of the glass. Crack a little freshly ground pepper on top. Or, if you are me, just use celery.

Since it’s also Cinco de Mayo, this would be a good choice too:


Ingredients (makes enough for two)

  • 3 tablespoons chopped onion
  • ½ teaspoon minced Serrano chili, or more, to taste
  • 1 ½ teaspoons finely chopped cilantro leaves
  • ½ teaspoon salt, or more, to taste
  • 1 small vine-ripened tomato
  • 1 ripe Hass avocado
  • Tortilla chips for serving

I would also add the juice of half a lime.


  1. In a medium-size bowl, mortar or a Mexican molcajete (lava stone mortar), thoroughly mash 1 tablespoon of the onion with the chili, 1/2 teaspoon cilantro and the salt to make a paste.
  2. Cut the tomato in half horizontally, squeeze out the juice and seeds and discard. Chop pulp, and add it to the bowl.
  3. Cut the avocado in half lengthwise, cutting around the pit. Gently twist the top half of the avocado off to separate the halves. Carefully rap the pit with the edge of a sharp knife and twist it out. Using a paring knife slice the avocado flesh of both halves lengthwise, then crosswise, cutting down to the skin, to form a grid. Scoop the avocado into the bowl with a spoon.
  4. Add the remaining onion and cilantro, and gently fold all the ingredients together. Season with more chili and salt if desired. Serve at once with tortilla chips.

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12 Responses to Derby Day 2018 – horses, gambling, booze, and food

  1. Lucille says:

    I’m going with Justify for the win…mainly because the pundits are saying he may be the fav but he won’t win. He’s so beautiful…

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I like “My Boy Jack”. I’d bet $5 on him, but we have no gambling in Georgia. Just as well, I’m probably better off not having to go to “Gambler’s Anon.”, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lucille says:

      Oy, one of my grandnephews has a gambling addiction. The thing is, he wins thousands at cards because he’s very good. Then he loses thousands. It all started when he was 19 and making $120,000 a year on his regular job. Went gambling with some of his buddies one weekend and now he no longer has the job and just gambles instead. Scary!


      • stella says:

        My ex was a really good poker player, and would pick up extra cash when we needed it. One time he won a really expensive guitar playing poker, but he was never in the Vegas category, at least when we were married. I sat in on a ‘friendly’ game once, and even I was better than some of these guys! I wasn’t allowed in the game after that. The ex was also a good chess player.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve known a few obsessed gamblers! It truly is a ruination, just as bad, if not worse than drinking! I like betting, but I’m not exposed to it very much. In the UK, you can place a bet on every street corner!
        I knew a young lady who got very worried when her DH was late home from work on a Friday. It always meant going without, and sure enough, it soon meant without him! Such a sad thing.


    • I’d also bet $5 on “Lone Sailor”, just because. He’s purdy!


  3. joshua says:

    tons of rain and mud…and Justify wins….


  4. czarowniczy says:

    When the NOLA race track opens for the season we call that a ‘weekday’, rest of the year if you remove the ‘horses’ (unless NOPD mounted patrol’s called to break up the party we still call it ‘weekday’.


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