Two minutes, $2 million on the line and 20 speeding horses with the weirdest names imaginable. You might not be able to make it to Churchill Downs on Saturday, May 4, but that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate the 145th Run for the Roses in true Southern fashion. The festivities start well before the horses are off at 6:50 p.m., so put on your best hat, pick a racehorse to root for and get ready for a cup overflowing with mint juleps at these Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky Derby Day parties.
Covington Trifecta Derby Party – In honor of the Derby, Braxton Brewing Co. is tapping Our Kentucky Home, a mint julep-style ale aged in bourbon barrels with mint. Hats, bowties and other appropriate attire is strongly encouraged here: Braxton gift cards will be awarded for Best Tie, Best Hat and Best Couple, so dress to impress and be in the taproom at 7 p.m. sharp to enter. Braxton is partnering with Hotel Covington, The Hannaford, Sapphire Room and Rich’s Proper Food and Drink for a Derby Day extravaganza: Get your program stamped at any three locations to be entered to win swag and gift cards, a Woodford Reserve barrel head and a one-night stay at Hotel Covington. Noon-11 p.m. Free admission. Braxton Brewing Company, 27 W. Seventh St., Covington, braxtonbrewing.com.
Belterra Park Derby Celebration – If you’re more serious about the races than the bourbon, kick off Derby Day early on Friday with live racing, music and a Rozzi’s Famous Fireworks Show. The festivities continue into Saturday with more races, commemorative Derby Day glasses for your beverage of choice and a live stream of the 145th Kentucky Derby. Racing starts at 12:35 Friday and Saturday. $5-$150. Belterra Park, 6301 Kellogg Road, California, belterrapark.com.
Hotel Covington Derby Day Party – Hotel Covington will celebrate the race in style, so dress accordingly in your Saturday best — there’s a rose wall backdrop just waiting for your Derby #fitpic. A cash bar will be at the ready with Braxton’s Our Kentucky Home as well as juleps and a craft Derby Day Lily cocktail. If you’re hungry, grab a bite from their walk-up window, but be careful not to make a mess and ruin your chances at a variety of outfit contests. Hotel Covington is partnering with Braxton Brewing, The Hannaford, Sapphire Room and Rich’s Proper Food and Drink for a Derby Day extravaganza: Get your program stamped at any three locations to be entered to win swag and gift cards, a Woodford Reserve barrel head and a one-night stay at Hotel Covington. 2-8 p.m. Free admission. Hotel Covington, 638 Madison Ave., Covington, hotelcovington.com.
Queen City Derby Party – Head to JACK Casino for a Derby party fundraiser for the Delta Gamma Lambda Foundation with signature cocktails, cigars and live entertainment from Natural Progressions and DJ Magnificent. Take your chances and “Bet the Derby” with complimentary race books and access to online wagering at the event. VIP attendees will be treated to a top-shelf open bar, gift bag and VIP lounge access with a private Jazz concert from the Kathy Wade Trio. 4 p.m. $45-$160. JACK Casino, 1000 Broadway St., Downtown. Tickets and more info here.
Maker’s Mark Derby Party – Maker’s Mark is bringing the race to Fueled Collective with Derby Day drink specials, food, games and giveaways. Dress your best; prizes will be awarded for multiple outfit categories. 4 p.m. Free admission. Fueled Collective, 3825 Edwards Road. Get more details here.
Elementz Notorious 2019 Urban Derby – Celebrate all of “the fashion, food and fun of the Kentucky Derby with an urban twist.” Hosted this year by Kyle Inskeep of Channel 12 with drink specials from Revel OTR, Rhinegeist and Jack Daniel’s, this Derby party-turned-fundraiser helps support Elementz Hip Hop Youth Center’s mission to help kids foster creativity and community ties through the power of Hip Hop, dance, art and poetry. 4-8 p.m. $85, $100 at the door. Union Hall, 1311 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, elementz.org.
Derby Day at Laurel Court – A special outfit calls for a fancy setting to show it off. Hosted at historic Laurel Court, the College Hill Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation is celebrating Derby Day with a themed catering, live and silent auctions, a hat contest and other Derby games and a complimentary cocktail hour featuring beer, wine and, of course, mint juleps. 5 p.m. $75-$85. Laurel Court, 5870 Belmont Ave., College Hill, chcurc.com.
Overlook Lodge Derby Viewing Party – You probably can’t find a bar in town that’s more enthusiastic about a themed party than Overlook, and there’s no exception when it comes to Derby Day. Watch the race with a Woodford Reserve mint julep in your hand and dress to the nines for the chance to win a Woodford Reserve gift basket. 6 p.m.-midnight. Free admission. Overlook Lodge, 6083 Montgomery Road, Pleasant Ridge, thatshiningbar.com.