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Kentucky Derby Celebrations

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Kentucky has been home to America’s longest running sporting event since 1875. Over the years, the Kentucky Derby has evolved considerably, morphing from an exciting two-minute race to a cultural event in its own right, ubiquitous with elegant, and at times over-the-top, hats, and mint juleps.

The track, which is 1.25 miles around, is the first and shortest of the races in the coveted Triple Crown. Until last years, decades had lapsed without a Triple Crown winner, but American Pharoah defeated the odds, capturing the title, ridden by jockey Victor Espinoza. Prior to that victory, Steve Cauthen, riding Affirmed, was the last winner, in 1978.

The races follow throughout the early months of summer, but it is the Kentucky Derby, also known as the Running of the Roses, which garners much of the attention, from casual viewers to horse racing enthusiasts. This year’s race, which will be broadcast on NBC Sports, has a post time of 6:34 p.m.

For those who can’t make it to Louisville, Ky.’s Churchill Downs, bring the spirit to the Main Line, with local events or with these recipes, perfecting for creating lavish tailgates and viewing parties.

Parx Racing

Head to Parx for a day of Derby entertainment. It will offer a special menu for the occasion, a hat contest, a picnic, barbecue and plenty of mint juleps. The event will also have a charitable component with a silent art auction benefiting the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund. 2999 Street Road, Bensalem.

Paramour

This Wayne favorite is hosting its 5th annual Kentucky Derby Party. Dress in your best and sip mint juleps while watching the excitement unfold on the track. The restaurant will serve Southern-inspired hors d’oeuvres in the lounge and on the veranda. There will also be best dressed prizes. 139 E. Lancaster Ave., Wayne.

Valley Forge Casino Resort

Join the watch party dressed in your best threads. The casino will be serving cocktails, beer and wine, along with southern barbeque throughout the watch party, and will be awarding guests for its Best Dressed competition. 1160 First Ave., King of Prussia.

Want to throw your own party? Try one of these savory, Southern-inspired recipes. 

–Lisa Dukart

 

Southern Living offers a simple, classic take on this Derby staple. 

 

If juleps aren’t your drink, try sipping on this raspberry and bourbon concoction

 

This whiskey drink is meant for a crowd. With a citrusy sparkle, it’s sure to please. 

 

These simple, tasty treats from Bon Appétit get an upgrade with a sliver of bacon. 

 

Bon Appétit’s wing recipe makes liberal use of Kentucky bourbon. 

 

This salad is both on trend and delicious. Making use of raw kale and pears, it’s light, summery and easy to make.

 

Serve this classic Southern comfort food as a main dish or offer petit servings to make it an appetizer. 

 

Crab cakes are always a crowd pleaser. Consider this Baltimore-inspired recipe a preview for the Preakness. 

 

Southern Living gives the classic pecan pie an upgrade appropriate for the Kentucky Derby. 

 

This torte has a bourbon bite mixed with plenty of chocolate.