The Kentucky Derby event has a long and illustrious history. First held in 1875, it is the longest running sporting event in the United States. Also known as "The Run for the Roses", the Kentucky Derby was originally inspired by the Epsom Derby in England. The race has gone through various changes over the years - the original track length was shortened from one and a half miles to the current one and a quarter, and the first Derby's crowd was only 10,000, compared to today's crowds of over 150,000 nattily dressed thoroughbred racing fans. Making the Mint Julep famous, Derby Day has fans of the drink searching for their faves. Have you tried the mint julep at Tampa Bay Downs?

If you can't make it to Churchill Downs in Louisville this year, don't fret - our very own Tampa Bay Downs has got you covered with their Annual Derby Day event. Known for high-caliber horse racing all over the country, Tampa Bay Downs in Oldsmar at the "Top of the Bay" opened in 1926. It briefly served as a jungle warfare training facility for the U.S.Army during and after World War II, opening back up full time for horse racing and more in 1947. Tampa Bay Downs is the place to see and be seen for this year's 143rd edition of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 6. And THE place for a perfect ice cold masterfully blended Mint Julep!

Cover photo source/credit: Tauck (copyright released and/or royalty free.)

The day gets started early, with gates opening at 10 am, and the first race posting at 10:30 am. Be sure to visit Legends Bar for a good morning Bloody Mary - unless you'd like to proceed directly to the quintessential Derby Day drink, the delightful Mint Julip. Traditionally served in a silver beaker or pewter cup, this classy beverage packs a powerful punch. It has only four ingredients: fresh mint leaf, bourbon, simple syrup, and crushed ice. The Mint Julep's signature minty flavor comes from the first crucial step in preparation - muddling or crushing the fresh leaves to release the essential oils. Back in the early 1800's, the Mint Julep was considered a medicinal drink for stomach complaints, and then became a popular morning beverage for the upper class.

And of course, don't forget your hats! The Derby is known for the spectacle of extravagant headgear for all spectators. This is an opportunity to wear your most glamorous and styling chapeau, a fascinator, perhaps a frothy creation with a big bow and a very wide brim - the sky's the limit at this year's Kentucky Derby celebration at Tampa Bay Downs. Head over to their website from their #my813 business page or call 866-TBDOWNS for your Derby Day tickets now!