Run for the Roses… with Tequila?

By: Lisa Coleman

It’s considered the greatest two minutes in sports. It takes place at the oldest race track in America. And if you have ever walked into Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby, you’ll experience a feeling like nothing else on earth. I don’t say that lightly. I have been to enough places in this world to understand awe and I have felt some pretty amazing emotions, but to walk through the passageway in the shadow of the twin spires and gaze upon the track on Derby Day is something that simply can’t be duplicated.

I bought my new hat today and will leave next week for my 23rd trip to the Kentucky Derby. It’s a sacred, magical place for me personally. It’s all about my family, my father, my brother and the bond the race built in our lives. It’s also about spectacle, dazzling outfits, hundreds of thousands of people, high energy, gorgeous creatures, roses, and, of course, the famous Mint Julep.

If you’ve never had a Mint Julep, you’re not missing much. It’s a rather difficult drink  if you aren’t a fan of cheap bourbon, crushed ice, some sugar and mint sprig. But, it is the definitive drink of the Derby. Whether you like it or not, you have to go for the Julep… it’s part of the experience. So today I read that Tequila Herradura is now the “official” tequila of the 2008 Kentucky Derby… Are they serious? This isn’t spring break, it’s Kentucky… it’s the Derby… it’s about tradition, it’s about the Mint Julep… not the margarita!

That’s like saying Sake is the official drink of the Super Bowl. It just makes no sense to me to have an “official” Derby tequila.  I could go on and on about the ridiculous nature of this story, but suffice to say that Tequila and the Derby aren’t exactly what I would consider a necessary pairing. Herradura, which translates to “horseshoe” in Spanish, released a statement saying “horses run deep in our DNA.” What kind of a statement is that? So because the logo is the horseshoe some inept marketing agency thought this might work? Hummm.

Well, all I can say is I’ll pass on the shot until I’m back to the beach in Acapulco. This trip I’ll stick with my ice cold Early Times Bourbon Mint Julep. The races start at 11:00 AM, but once you get the first one down, the next one isn’t nearly as “difficult.” Be sure to tune in on Saturday, May 3rd. I’m thinking Big Brown might go all the way!