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By Pink Lady
It’s May, which means it’s time to bust out those fancy hats, Julep cups and get excited about “the most exciting two minutes in sports: “the Kentucky Derby! Much ink will be spilled by lifestyle writers this month about the mint, bourbon, ponies, and horse-folk who power this iconic sporting event, but the Derby isn’t the only horse race in town. If you want to get in on the fun like a local, and a full day in advance, allow me to introduce the Kentucky Oaks.

The Kentucky Oaks, as described on the official website, is “America’s premier and most lucrative race for 3-year-old fillies ­— female horses — held each year on the day before the Kentucky Derby.” Fillies are permitted to run in the Derby of course, but in its 150-year history only three have won, owing to differences in size and speed. The Oaks was established in 1875, just like the Kentucky Derby, by Colonel Meriwether Lewis Clark Jr. The race is open to outsiders but is heralded as a big day of celebration for locals, with most schools and many businesses closing for an “administrative holiday” the first Friday of May each year.

Surely you know that Derby winners receive roses (along with their sizable winnings and fame), but at the Oaks the winning garland is made of pink stargazer lilies, dubbed “Lilies for the Fillies.” Pink has been adopted as the Oaks’ signature color and the day has developed into a celebration of women, and an opportunity for both consciousness and fundraising around breast and ovarian cancers. This year the 16th annual Survivor’s Parade will honor 150 survivors and fighters of these cancers with a march along the track at Churchill Downs. Over the last 15 years, the Kentucky Oaks’ charitable initiative has raised more than $1 million “to drive breast and ovarian health awareness and life-saving interventions,” per And of course, the Kentucky Oaks has its very own, pink-hued cocktail, the Oaks Lily: Kick back and raise a glass of one of these on May 3rd!


1.5 ounceS of vodka
.5 ounceS of orange liqueur
3 ounceS of cranberry juice
.5 ounceS of lemon juice, freshly squeezed
.5 ounceS of simple syrup

ADD the vodka, orange liqueur, cranberry juice, lemon juice and simple syrup into a highball glass, then FILL with ice and STIR gently to combine. GARNISH with 2 skewered blackberries and
a lemon wheel.