Last weekend I attended the Maryland Hunt Cup Steeplechase. The weather and scenery couldn’t have been more perfect or picturesque, and the actual scene, to coin my brother’s clever label, was a venerable “WASP nest.” Every colorful dress from Lilly Pulitzer’s new spring line was represented at least twice over, and the men sported bow ties and trousers in the kinds of pastels usually found on Easter eggs. It was a grand display of wealth and good old-fashioned society.
And today, the granddaddy of them all: the “decadent and depraved” Kentucky Derby. The Derby always symbolizes to me the real start to summer—a striking celebration of warm weather made vibrant by posh attire, garish hats, and lots and lots of mint juleps. The jockeys’ silks are over-the-top, as are the wonderfully flamboyant names of the horses. “Devil May Care,” “Decisive Moment,” and “I’ll Have Another” are all-time favorites, and this year, “Will Take Charge” and “Normandy Invasion” win the name game.
The Derby has it all: the intense anticipation as the horses and their jockeys make way to the gate, the clamor of the bell which sets the steeds flying off at full charge, the mounting excitement as they round the track and battle for position, the fast-talking announcer who builds the drama…
The Derby is reputed to be “The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports.” Last year’s race more than lived up to the reputation. Let’s hope this year’s race is as thrilling—and might we finally have a Triple Crown winner‽