Photo by Stephanie Breijo
Get your silver cup ready, because it’s that time again — time to drink bourbon until you can’t stand up any more! Oh, wait, this just in: There’s also a big horse race happening. Saturday, May 2, is the big Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, and if you’re not putting your money where your mouth is, at least you can put a mint julep there. How’s Richmond celebrating this most equestrian of occasions? And what horse should you bet on*? Take a look at our cache of events, complete with our customized lucky horse guide!
1. Derby Day at The Rogue Gentlemen. Get started on the fancy hat appreciation, the suit brandishing and of course the beautifully-crafted-cocktail drinking at 4 p.m.; be well-prepared to yell pseudo-science about horses by the start of the race at 6:30 p.m. Prizes, a raffle and chicken liver pâté with white chocolate will keep things lively. 618 N. First St. Free.
Your horse: American Pharaoh sounds like a good fit for a Rogue Gentleman.
2. Lickinghole Creek’s Fearnought Release and Derby Party. A 10.5-percent ABV bourbon barrel imperial brown ale is a proper stand-in for a mint julep if you’re looking to drink a beer — especially one that’s “named for the famous Colonial-era Virginia stallion whose bloodline is at the heart of American horse racing.” This party’s got everything: pony rides, face painting, hat contests, live music, food vendors (KavaKava and Great White Buffalo food trucks) — and it benefits the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation. The fun starts at noon. 4100 Knolls Point Drive, Goochland. Free.
Your horse: A beer’s best in a Frosted mug, right?
3. 3rd Annual Derby Bash at Center of the Universe Brewing Co. Similar festivities are going down at Ashland’s favorite brewery from 1 to 9 p.m.: live music, food trucks and raffles. Grab a specially-created steel pint glass while you’re there and fill it with Derby-inspired brew. Raffle proceeds benefit childhood cancer nonprofit CJ’s Thumbs Up Foundation. 11293 Air Park Road, Ashland. Free.
Your horse: Find yourself at the center of the universe? Carpe Diem, friend.
4. Derby Day Party Presented by PROC Foundation. Professionals Reaching Out to the Community Foundation teamed up with The Brickstone Grill to put together a li'l South Side Derby action, complete with VIP table options and DJ Danja Mowf. It’s a comparably brief four-hour affair, but it promises to be a potent one. Proceeds will benefit the community service programs of the Pi Rho Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha. 9826 Midlothian Turnpike. Regular admission is $25.
Your horse(s): Danja Mowf’s an Upstart destined to be an international Star.
5. Kentucky Derby Bus Trip Fundraiser for Sarcoidosis Research. Ready to go all out? Hop a bus for Louisville, Kentucky, on May 1 and spend your weekend at the races! It’s a perfect opportunity for non-sports fans, because seriously, the thing only lasts for two minutes. And you get to eat a weekend’s worth of meals in Louisville. (Milkwood! Edward Lee!) Pick up locations in Richmond, Norfolk and Newport News. Single ticket is $475.
Your horse: Leading contender Dortmund might just win you some cash.
*Bird Cox is not under any circumstances a horse racing authority. In fact, the only time she ever rode a horse, she fell off and was nearly trampled.