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Lilies, Fillies & The Kentucky Derby

If you don’t live in Kentucky and don’t follow horse racing, then you probably haven’t heard of the Longines Kentucky Oaks, commonly known as The Kentucky Oaks. Modeled after the British Epsom, The Kentucky Oaks is held the Friday before the Kentucky Derby. Both races, founded by Meriwether Lewis Clark Jr. in 1875, are the oldest running sporting events in history. In addition, they are the only horse races to be held at their original site since it began.
While the The Kentucky Oaks has largely been considered a local event, it has grown in popularity over the years, bringing in a crowd, on average, of over 100,000 people with traditions of its own. While the Kentucky Derby is about the boys, The Kentucky Oaks is definitely one for the girls.

Fillies run the race. For those of you who are not familiar with the lingo, fillies are female horses. The only horses eligible to run in the Kentucky Oaks are 3-year old fillies.

Pink. If you are going to attend the Kentucky Oak the only color you need to be concerned about wearing is Pink. For the seventh consecutive year, Churchill Downs will be decked out in pink in honor of the Oaks official flower – the stargazer lily – and in support of Churchill Downs’ official partnerships with Bright Pink and Horses & Hope. Both organizations focus on breast cancer awareness and prevention.

Lilies. The stargazer lily, as stated above, is the official flower of the Kentucky Oaks and is also the name of the official drink. Yes, I said drink, which is served in a commemorative Kentucky Oaks glass. And the color of this drink, you guessed it – Pink.  You can grab the recipe here.

The Survivor Parade. For the past seven years, the Survivors Parade has taken place before the running of the Kentucky Oaks Race. The Survivors Parade is a march of breast cancer and ovarian cancer survivors, which are all nominated to walk by family, friends and community members. This year, according to Churchill Downs, over 540 survivors were nominated and 141 were chosen to participate in the parade.

Fashion. You can’t forget about the fashion. Both the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby is a great opportunity for everyone to get dressed to the nine. But if you are attending The Oaks, then pink is a requirement. And don’t forget to accessorize with a hat or fascinator!

So, if you ever decide to visit the great city of Louisville for the Kentucky Derby, be sure to attend The Kentucky Oaks – you won’t be disappointed.

To learn more about Churchill Down’s partnership with Bright Pink and Horses & Hope, The Kentucky Oaks or the Survivor’s Parade visit

Photo Credit: Chibbie via Compfight cc

Sarah Brom-Criscola

Sarah Brom-Criscola is a Sr. Marketing Specialist where she oversees digital and content marketing. She earned her Bachelors Degree in Marketing from Eastern Kentucky University and MBA from Bellarmine University.