It's Derby Time!

I LOVE everything about the run for the roses! Horses carry an ineffable grace and serenity about them. Horses know an invaluable lesson about trust… if you are not afraid of them, they will trust you. I try to carry that into all of my interactions with people (my second favorite animal.) I haven’t had the chance to ride since I was a child, but I still jump at the opportunity to put on my fanciest hat and attend a Kentucky Derby Party with close friends. And who doesn’t love the HORSE NAMES? They are an endless source of lulz. To name a few for this year:

Medal Count

Vicar’s in Trouble

California Chrome

Wicked Strong

Candy Boy


They’re fantastic. As a child it was my dream to own a horse, just so I could give it a great name… Frankenstein The Horse?  Kierkegaard’s Nose?  Supermodel Anklet?  The BIG decision is… where to watch the big event? I think this year I’ll settle in with some friends at a little get-together in the West Village: it’s hard to beat walking distance from my apartment.  I received a few really nice invitations, but I think my new Derby hat is dying to decorate a balcony.  I’m going a bit simpler than usual this year, an understated monochrome…. and I have a milliner friend who is dying to put the perfect hackle in my hat!

Though it is somewhat lengthy, the poem “Kentucky Derby” by Andrea Cohen from her book of the same title has such lovely evocations of The Derby. I went ahead and pared it down for a quicker read, but the whole piece is well worth the time!


“Kentucky Derby” by Andrea Cohen

Next year in Jerusalem,

with mint juleps. This year

in Peterborough, with Wyatt and Anna,

arriving at Brady’s Sports Bar one minute

before the two-minute event begins.

In my minute, I circle the oval

faux-oak bar slowly, scanning for someone

I know. I say hello, people

make space for me and bring

a very cold beer. Anna says:

I would not like to get in those

small spaces, meaning whatever you call

the starting pens. Wyatt sizes me up

the way jockeys do. Full disclosure:

I’m too big to ride, too small

to amount to anything big. Then

they’re off to the races: a muck-up

at the start, par for the course, and one

horse falls back.


This is a moment to be in the moment and I

fail terribly, knowing nothing about

ponies, thinking: this is like a whirlwind

tour of abstract expressionism, which I don’t

get because I don’t get what was poured into it.


This poem begs to be read in its entirety, but I’ve got a party to get ready for!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *