Friday, May 3, 2013

It's Derby Time! or Bourbon for Everyone!

By Justin Cates

I don't really care about horse racing. Like most Americans it's not something that I realize exists outside of a few warm weeks each spring.

That's when the sun hesitantly creeps out to stretch its legs for the first time in months—except for Brian—and pastels and sundresses once again become appropriate attire instead of garishly defiant winter garments.

With the 139th running of the Kentucky Derby due this Saturday, that means it's time for some reading and drinking—not that one needs an excuse for such pursuits.

The first assignment is a yearly spring read for me and is required for a fan or would be enthusiast of the Derby.

The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved was written under duress by Hunter S. Thompson for Scanlon's Monthly covering the 1970 Derby.

It marked the first time HST had returned to his hometown of Louisville for the race in a decade and it was the first of many successful collaborations between Hunter and artist Ralph Steadman.

"And unlike most of the others in the press box, we didn't give a hoot in hell what was  happening on the track. We had come to watch the real beasts perform."

The piece represents the birth of "Gonzo journalism" and was influential in the new journalism movement of the time.

It's hilarious, vulgar, and insightful. Absolutely a must read prior to post time.

Another terrific new article published just this week comes from 8th generation Louisvillian Michael Lindenberger.

The Biggest Week In Bourbontown discusses the heritage of Louisville and the relationship between its people, horses, bourbon, food and all the cultural nuances of Derby week.

It's a bit lengthy, but certainly worth a look while you're trying to figure out which mount to blow your money on this weekend.

So read up, stock up, and get to imbibing! Make some mint juleps and enjoy the pageantry of the pre-race festivities.

The race will be over in a flash, but bourbon lasts forever*.

* subject to personal tendencies and the crowd you're with. 

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