Thursday, May 2, 2013

Derby Days

In our house, Shimmer's love for horses started around the time she was eighteen months old.

When she was in first grade, the movie Secretariat was released, and we all went to the theater to see it on opening night.  Of course, you and I know that Secretariat won the Triple Crown; but, she didn't know the history, and was literally on the edge of her seat with her "heart pounding so fast" down the stretch.  The rest is history... we follow horse racing (at least the Triple Crown circuit), pretty closely around here, and know the movie Secretariat word for word. 

Last year, we went to our first Kentucky Derby Party at the home of some friends. 

Love said I better do my homework and choose a horse because this would be a serious party.  So, I watched some early season races online and picked my horse and read the bios on several in the field.  I chose I'll Have Another, but Love, and Shimmer and Shine, decided they each wanted to have their own horse to cheer on in the Derby.  They chose Bodemeister, Take Charge Indy and Daddy Nose Best, respectively (if I remember correctly).  I'll Have Another came from behind to make it a super-exciting win!  We told our friends that night, that if the horse went on to win the Preakness, we would host a Triple Crown Party for the Belmont. 

Well, if you follow horse-racing, you know that I'll Have Another won a heart-stopping Preakness.  Were we ever excited!!!  The chance of a Triple Crown winner just does not happen very often, and is thought to be unattainable anymore in some circles.  The last Triple Crown winner was Affirmed in 1978.

Plans went into high-gear for our Triple Crown Party.  I made the perfect e-vite on my favorite online invitation site, Paperless Post. 

You can see, since this was the Belmont Stakes, I went with a New York themed menu.  Sadly, the day before the race, I'll Have Another was scratched from the field at Belmont ending the renewed hope of a Triple Crown.  Silver lining... the owners did what was right for the injured horse. 

Despite the letdown, our party went on and it was a lovely afternoon spent with friends.  I thought I would share a few of our photos to inspire any Triple Crown series parties you have planned this year.

My favorite creation, and most asked about, was a Triple Crown winner display of buttons I purchased on etsy and arranged on burlap with a vintage horse show ribbon and the traditional flowers of the Belmont Stakes, white carnations.

Cocktail bar setup, including fresh squeezed lemonade, and the rest of the mixers for the official Belmont Jewel.

A display of a few of our favorite horses over the years, including Triple Crown winners Secretariat and Seattle Slew.  His son, Swale, (who won the Derby and the Belmont, only to die tragically eight days later breaking my heart) and the hopeful, I'll Have Another. 

Shimmer and I threw together some pretty paper buntings the morning of the race to decorate for the party.  Took these photos just before our guests were due to arrive.

We also decorated one of our twig trees with the silks of former Triple Crown winners. 

Post time and some of our guests begin to gather for the race.  More pretty doily buntings by Shimmer and I.

Our dessert table complete with New York style cheesecake and more white carnation arrangements.

I also made horseshoe-shaped sugar cookies to send home as favors.

Here's to a great summer... and, may the best horse win!!! 
I've done my homework again this year and my pick for the Derby is Revolutionary.  I just can't resist a come from behind horse!