Kentucky Derby proves to be significant for more than BCHS student

Audrey Donaldson, Reporter

In mostly southern states, the Kentucky Derby, or Derby week, is a very big deal. Some Northern states also celebrate this week, but it is most popular in states that surround Kentucky. The derby is a very old tradition of horse racing and betting, with many traditions that come with it. There are currently twenty horses racing. 

The winner of the 2021 Kentucky Derby is a horse named Merdina Spirit who was predicted to finish 8th place. Merdina Spirit is owned by Zedan Racing Stables and ridden by John R. Velazquez. Many students at BCHS celebrate the derby such as senior Evan Terrell. “We have a family cookout and dress up to celebrate,” said Terrell. 

Freshman Collin Kirchgessner said his family celebrates by going to the Kentucky Derby or going to all the races leading up to the derby. “Normally we spend the entire week watching horse races,” said Kirchgessner.

The Kentucky Derby was established in 1875 according to kentuckyderby.com. 

After the 58th champion, the derby first introduced the tradition of the Garland of Roses. This tradition started the nickname for the race, The Run for Roses, and has a very long history. Every year over 400 red roses are sewn into a green back for the winner of the race. The garland has a “rose crown” in the middle that entails a single rose pointing upwards. This symbolizes the heart and hardwork it takes to win the derby. 

One of the most prominent traditions is the hats worn at the derby. Extravagant hats are worn to the race because the founder wanted it to be seen as a high-class event, similar to European races which mandated full morning dress for men and women. 

Quickly, fashion at the race became just as important as the actual horse race. The derby became a way to show off wealth and the newest spring fashions. After fashion norms became less strict, these extravagant hats became a staple of the Kentucky Derby.

Over the years many celebrities have been spotted attending the derby such as Kim Kardishan, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, President Richard Nixon, President George Bush, and many more.