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Kentucky Oaks

Get ready to be part of the dazzling spectacle of elegance and racing excitement at the ancient, awe-inspiring Kentucky Oaks!
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When it is?
May 3
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United States
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Brace yourselves for the thrilling and elegant event of the year on May 3, the Kentucky Oaks! This annual horse race, held a day before the world-renowned Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, is a spectacular event that dates back to 1875. This grandeur('s)( of a) racing tradition showcases the finest in thoroughbred female horses, which are popularly known as fillies. With its vibrant atmosphere, towering horse racing spirits, and the attendees donned in their exquisite Oaks Lilly attire, the Kentucky Oaks Day is a sight to behold. Get ready to experience a stunning amalgamation of style, excitement and heritage on the race tracks!

History of Kentucky Oaks

Kentucky Oaks Dates

Kentucky Oaks Timeline

<div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>1875</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Kentucky Oaks Inception</div><div class='timeline-text'>The inaugural Kentucky Oaks horse racing event, aimed to showcase three-year-old thoroughbred fillies, took place at the Louisville Jockey Club.</div></div></div><div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>1931</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Establishment of Tradition</div><div class='timeline-text'>The Kentucky Oaks was officially scheduled for the day before the Kentucky Derby, solidifying its tradition.</div></div></div><div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>1959</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>First Televised Kentucky Oaks</div><div class='timeline-text'>The race went national with its first television broadcast, increasing its popularity across America.</div></div></div><div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>2008</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Ladies First Campaign</div><div class='timeline-text'>The Ladies First initiative was launched, emphasizing the race's aim to focus on outstanding fillies and their female owners, trainers, and jockeys.</div></div></div><div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>2011</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Survivors Parade Tradition</div><div class='timeline-text'>Churchill Downs began the tradition of the Survivors Parade, a march of breast and ovarian cancer survivors that coincides with the Oaks race.</div></div></div><div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>2020</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Pandemic Impact</div><div class='timeline-text'>Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Kentucky Oaks race was held without spectators for the first time in its history.</div></div></div>

How to Celebrate Kentucky Oaks

<div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-header'><h3 class='facts-number'>1</h3></div><div class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 class='facts-title'>Host a Kentucky Oaks viewing party</h3><p class='facts-text'>Get together with fellow horse racing fans and host a viewing party. You can decorate with equestrian-themed decor, or select a pink and green color scheme to honor the official colors of the Kentucky Oaks. Don't forget to serve traditional Oaks Lily cocktails - a refreshing mix of vodka, sweet and sour mix and cranberry juice garnished with a slice of orange and a cherry.</p></div></div><div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-header'><h3 class='facts-number'>2</h3></div><div class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 class='facts-title'>Shop for a special Oaks Day hat</h3><p class='facts-text'>A fascinating part of the Kentucky Oaks fashion tradition involves sporting elegant ladies’ hats. Consider visiting a local millinery shop or hosting a DIY hat decorating party where everyone can create their own unique Oaks Day hat.</p></div></div><div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-header'><h3 class='facts-number'>3</h3></div><div class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 class='facts-title'>Volunteer at a local stables or horse rescue</h3><p class='facts-text'>Take the spirit of the Kentucky Oaks further by volunteering at a local stables or horse rescue center on this day. Many establishments appreciate help with their everyday tasks and it's a great way to get up close with these majestic animals.</p></div></div><div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-header'><h3 class='facts-number'>4</h3></div><div class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 class='facts-title'>Learn about thoroughbred horse racing</h3><p class='facts-text'>Build your knowledge about the sport in celebration of the Kentucky Oaks. Read up on the famous fillies of the past, study how to read a racing form and maybe even place a friendly bet on who you think will win the Oaks. </p></div></div><div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-header'><h3 class='facts-number'>5</h3></div><div class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 class='facts-title'>Cook a traditional Kentucky meal</h3><p class='facts-text'>Celebrate at home by preparing a traditional Southern meal. Consider having Kentucky fried chicken, cornbread, and Derby pie as part of your Kentucky Oaks inspired menu.</p></div></div>

Why We Love Kentucky Oaks

<div id='' class='whywelove-item'><div id='' class='whywelove-letter-cont'><div class='whywelove-letter'>A</div></div><div id='why-we-love-main-cont'><h3 id='' class='whywelove-title'>It's a celebration of heritage and tradition</h3><p id='' class='whywelove-text'>The Kentucky Oaks has a rich history dating back to 1875. It connects us with a pastime that has brought people together for generations. The event showcases the highest level of races for fillies and brings together a community of horse lovers and enthusiasts from all over.</p></div></div><div id='' class='whywelove-item'><div id='' class='whywelove-letter-cont'><div class='whywelove-letter'>B</div></div><div id='why-we-love-main-cont'><h3 id='' class='whywelove-title'>It's a fashion spectacle</h3><p id='' class='whywelove-text'>The Kentucky Oaks is not just about the horse races — it's also about the fashion! Attendees are known for their exquisite Oaks Lilly attire, including elegant ladies' hats. This provides a fun chance to get dressed up and celebrate in style.</p></div></div><div id='' class='whywelove-item'><div id='' class='whywelove-letter-cont'><div class='whywelove-letter'>C</div></div><div id='why-we-love-main-cont'><h3 id='' class='whywelove-title'>It fosters a love for majestic animals</h3><p id='' class='whywelove-text'>Participating in Kentucky Oaks Day encourages appreciation for horses and their athleticism. Volunteering at horse rescue centers or stables as part of the celebration is an opportunity to further understand these majestic creatures and the care that goes into raising them.</p></div></div>

5 Unexpected Facts about the Kentucky Oaks

<div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-number-wrapper'><p class='facts-number'>1</p></div><div class='facts-core-content'><h3 class='facts-title'>The Pink Lily Has Been the Official Kentucky Oaks Cocktail Since 2006</h3><p class='facts-content'>Named after the Stargazer Lily awarded to the Oaks victor, this light and refreshing cocktail is made using Finlandia Vodka, sweet and sour mix, cranberry juice, and a splash of triple sec. Served over crushed ice in a commemorative stemless glass, it is a symbol of the event's spirit.</p></div></div><div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-number-wrapper'><p class='facts-number'>2</p></div><div class='facts-core-content'><h3 class='facts-title'>The Historic Twin Spires of Churchill Downs Are Iconic Landmarks of The Kentucky Oaks</h3><p class='facts-content'>These structures were completed in 1895 as part of the Grandstand's design by architect Joseph Baldez. They have since become symbols not just of the Kentucky Oaks but also of horse racing in general.</p></div></div><div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-number-wrapper'><p class='facts-number'>3</p></div><div class='facts-core-content'><h3 class='facts-title'>Kentucky Oaks Has Its Own Unique Theme Song</h3><p class='facts-content'>Every year, Dan Fogelberg’s classic “Run for the Roses” is performed during the post parade, just before the running of the Oaks. It enhances the race's ambiance and reinforces its identity among racing enthusiasts.</p></div></div><div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-number-wrapper'><p class='facts-number'>4</p></div><div class='facts-core-content'><h3 class='facts-title'>In Recent Years, Race Attendance Has Surpassed 100,000 Spectators</h3><p class='facts-content'>Although it once played second fiddle to its more prestigious counterpart, the Kentucky Derby, today the Oaks attracts a large crowd of race-goers in its own right. This goes to reflect its burgeoning popularity and status.</p></div></div><div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-number-wrapper'><p class='facts-number'>5</p></div><div class='facts-core-content'><h3 class='facts-title'>The Race's Winner Receives a Purse of $1.25 Million</h3><p class='facts-content'>Attracting some of the best three-year-old fillies from around the world, the stakes in the Kentucky Oaks are high. The first-place finisher brings home a hefty purse, ensuring the competition remains fierce and thrilling.</p></div></div>

Kentucky Oaks FAQs

Kentucky Oaks Dates







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