It’s Oaks Day!

It’s my fourth favorite day of the year, closely following Christmas, my birthday, and Derby Day.

And those aren’t in order.

For those of you not from the great state of Kentucky or familiar with the first weekend in May, today is the day of the Kentucky Oaks, the day of racing before The Kentucky Derby, which is tomorrow. You better be watching.

We’re totally joking about that whole “kids with cigars” thing. …mostly.

I would go on and on about The Oaks and The Derby, but the good folks at Churchill Downs have already done it for me. So you can go here to read all about it. And then you can come back. Don’t worry – I’ll wait!

Are you amazed? Do you suddenly have the urge to glue outrageous things onto an outrageous hat and sip bourbon in the sun while saying things like, “Go, baby, go!” and “Well bless that horse’s heart.”?

Of course you do.

Oaks Day is AMAZING and I am LITERALLY green with envy that I can’t be there.

But I’ve been there before. And here’s what you need to know:

1. Ladies drink Lilies. 
2. A fabulous hat is essential, although Kate Middleton has made the fascinator an acceptable substitute.
3. Drink like you mean it and cheer for your horse like your life depends on it.
4. Always – ALWAYS – bet on the gray.

Ok, so #4 might be my own personal rule, but it’s a good one. On Oaks Day, everyone, ladies and gents, wears pink (if they can) and there is a  Survivor’s Parade  for survivors of cancer. They walk around the track and wave and I bawl my eyes out every time. Every. Damn. Time.

I’m actually getting a little weepy right now just thinking about it. And the Oaks in general. 4th favorite day of the year, remember?

I thought I’d share some pictures from past Oaks days with you – enjoy!

Hats, hats, hats, and more glorious hats! For a while, I had a little cottage business making Derby and Oaks hats. Maybe it’s time to get that rolling again….

My amazing parents before going to the 2011 Oaks. Doesn’t Suze look extra snazzy? For the record, my Dad is not miserable about going to Oaks. He is only giving me that look because this was the 7,000th picture I took of them. But I had to capture my latest creation atop my mom’s head. 
This was Oaks 2009. I know – don’t we look like such babies? And don’t my arms look amazing? I just threw up in my mouth a little doing the Then and Now comparison. New goals, kittens. 

And we should talk about horses, I guess. Gorgeous, no?

And this is a very sleepy Lola after her first Oaks Day morning, which was crazed and frantic as we buffed and scruffed and coifed my mom. Look at those big puppy feet. Isn’t she a muffin? 

I’m sad to be missing it but am living vicariously through all of you who are there. And for those of you now from Kentucky, I hope you’ll tune in and watch some of the coverage. (Clay Matthews AND Aaron Rodgers are there. Yes, yes – “Squee!!!!” is the appropriate reaction to that kind of news.) 

You bet your ass that when I’m watching it tomorrow, when they play “My Old Kentucky Home,” I will be weeping for real because I’ve missed it so much this last year and even though it will always be home in my heart, it’s about to be physical home again, too.

You can take a Kentucky girl out of the Bluegrass, but nowhere but the Bluegrass will ever be home.

Happy Oaks Day, y’all!

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  1. That sounds like a great tradition. I’m sorry you have to miss it this year!

  2. well who wouldn’t love something like that. looking all fancy and rich. you can dress up at home and walk around the living room before race time.

    • Oh, Bev – I always feel so swank and chic. Even if I make my own hats with sil flowers and hot glue. You’ll be happy to know that my mom and I wore Derby hats from year past and sipped Mint Juleps while we watched the Derby. 🙂

      Hope you’re well and that the calves have settled down!

  3. Thank you for such an awesome post on this! From the native insider knowledge to the photos…and those hats…♥ bring it on!! I will for sure be there one day after seeing this 🙂 This is looks wonderful. And those pictures your sweet parents and you guys in ’09 — beyond adorable!!

  4. I love all the pics, Kate! Your parents look like a power couple. And you look amazing. (Well, Carter, too, but he was bound to come in a distant second due to his lack of an awesome hat.)(Yet another reason it would suck to be a boy.) I’ve never seen the race but my bestie Lauren used to make a weekend of it, even up here. She would get all fancied up and make drinks and watch it on tv. I’m guessing this is probably not the same as being down there. I’m adding it to my Bucket List.

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