Hampton Daze

Kentucky Derby

May 5 marks the 144th Kentucky Derby horse race. And while you may not be donning a Derby hat while sipping mint juleps in Louisville, the East End has a few events that could be considered the next best thing.

Here are a few ways you can experience “The Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports” when the first leg of the triple crown comes to a TV near you.

The Shelter Island Historical Society is hosting a Kentucky Derby Members’ Party on Saturday from 4:30 to 7 PM at the Havens Barn. Guests are encouraged to wear their ascot or favorite Derby hat. The event is free to historical society members. Not a member? Join for $50 by visiting www.shelterislandhistorical.org.

Centro Trattoria & Bar in Hampton Bays is celebrating the derby on Saturday, May 5, starting at 3 PM. There will be a grand prize for best hat and participation giveaways.

The Montauk Beach House is hosting a “Derby De Mayo” Party. On Saturday, May 5, from 2 to 7 PM, celebrate the Kentucky Derby and watch the races live. There will be a champagne tower and official race toast. Enjoy ragtime and southern lovin’ sounds. Derby attire is encouraged and there will be a prize for the best dressed. For more info visit www.thembh.com.

The Hampton Bays Historical Society presents a Derby Party at the Lyzon Hat Museum on Saturday, May 5, at 4 PM under the tent. There will be cocktails and hors d’oeuvres by Inn Spot on the Bay. Tickets are $50 or $60 at the door. Visit www.hamptonbayshistoricalsociety.com.

For those hosting a soirée at home, the opportunities are plentiful for you to style your party in race day tradition. In true Kentucky Derby fashion, be sure to serve guests mint julep cocktails. The mint julep, an iced drink consisting of bourbon, mint, and a sugar syrup, is the traditional beverage of the race.

Ladies, be sure to dress in lavishly accessorized outfits with large, elaborate hats. Race day also gives men an excuse to be equally decked out. According to kentuckyderby.com, “The modern Derby man possesses an unparalleled color palette. Sun-drenched, tropical colors in bold stripes or busy plaid and bright pastels steal the limelight.”

Decorate with roses. The Derby is frequently referred to as “The Run for the Roses,” because of the lush blanket of 554 red roses that is awarded to the winner each year.

The tradition originated in 1883 when New York socialite E. Berry Wall presented roses to ladies at a post-Derby party that was attended by Churchill Downs founder and president, Col. M. Lewis Clark. This gesture is believed to have led Clark to the idea of making the rose the race’s official flower.