This Saturday, May 6, thousands of finely dressed folks will gather at Churchill Downs for the "most exciting two minutes in sports," the Kentucky Derby.
Frontrunners Girvin, Classic Empire, and Gormley will be among the 24 thoroughbreds in the 143rd Derby. It's the first leg of the Triple Crown, which also includes the Preakness and Belmont Stakes.
In Miami, you won't actually be in the presence of jockeys and horses, but there's nothing stopping you from dabbling in Derby tradition of mint juleps, seersucker suits, bonnets, and sweating violently in the presummer heat. Attend one of many of local watch parties across South Florida, and you can still bet on the $2 million purse.
Here's a guide to some of the best Kentucky Derby watch parties in Miami.
Cibo Wine Bar
Cibo Wine Bar in South Beach will team up with Woodford Reserve whiskey for free drinks and prizes at a watch party beginning at 4:30 p.m. Saturday. It's free, but RSVP is required. The first 100 to RSVP will receive two complimentary whiskey drinks and a chance to win the Woodford Reserve Run for the Roses Derby gift basket, worth more than $350. Don your finest Derby garb to take a stab at best dressed and best hat. Visit the New Times' website to reserve a spot.
American Legion Post 154 in Marathon
This Derby fundraiser for military veterans begins at 1 p.m., followed by the Derby at 6:30 p.m. and a steamship beef dinner at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $30 and include door prizes, a silent auction, live racing, and '50s and '60s music by Miami's Viva Rock Band. A $250 prize goes to the lady with the best hat and the best-dressed man. See the American Legion bartenders for tickets or call 305-743-4783.
Beginning at 6 p.m., Commonwealth in Miami Beach will offer $9 mint juleps, $10 Maker's Mark old-fashioneds, and a live Derby broadcast.
Smith & Wollensky
Alfalit's Young Professionals Board and NextGen have organized a Derby viewing party from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Miami Beach steakhouse. Tickets for an evening of food, drinks, and raffles cost $50 per person and $90 per couple at the door. The best-looking hats and bow ties will win prizes in the contest Get Lucky in Kentucky.
Swine Southern Table & Bar
From 10 a.m. to midnight at Swine, expect $6.34 Maker's Mark mint juleps, gift basket giveaways, a brunch raffle, a best-hat contest, and lots of bow ties and suspenders.
The Sagamore Hotel in South Beach
The Sagamore kicks off this year's Derby with a fundraising event from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on May 6. Proceeds will benefit Experience Camps, a nonprofit that provides unique bereavement experiences for kids who have lost a parent or sibling. The event promises a night of Southern-inspired cuisine, mint juleps, a silent auction, and a live screening of the race. Dress to impress with bonnets, bow ties, and seersucker suits. Tickets cost $100 via splashthat.com.
At the Fontainebleau, Michael Mina's Stripsteak will host a Derby watch party from 5 to 7:30 p.m. and will offer $5 mint juleps, complimentary canapés, and prizes for best hat and best-dressed man.
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Yardbird Southern Table & Bar
From 8:30 a.m. to midnight, this ambitious party at Yardbird offers Derby specials of $6.34 Maker's Mark mint juleps in wax-dipped cups, gift basket raffles, a "mint wall," a best-hat contest, and bow-tie and suspender giveaways. There will also be a raffle for a $1,000 all-expenses-paid brunch for six people.
Artisan Beach House
Located at the Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour, the Artisan Beach House will throw a bash in its bar and lounge from 4 to 7 p.m. The party includes light bites, $10 mint juleps, a live Derby broadcast, and a best-hat contest with prizes.
Gramps in Wynwood has partnered with the New Tropic for a Derby watch party from 3 to 7 p.m. Expect mint juleps, a live Derby broadcast, live music from local DJs, prizes, and a hat fashion show hosted by local drag queen Miss Toto. General admission costs $5, or pay $20 extra for a mint julep and a food voucher or $30 extra for all-you-can-drink Pabst Blue Ribbon and Moscow mules plus a food voucher.
Bourbon Steak at Turnberry Isle
From 4 to 7 p.m., a Run for the Roses watch party will be hosted at Bourbon Steak, where bartenders will serve signature G.H. Mumm champagne, mint juleps, and canapés and show a live broadcast of the Derby. South Florida's Bad Apples Brass Band will provide music. Arrive on time to participate in the Guinness World Records' World's Largest Champagne Toast with Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt live on NBC News. Dress for the occasion, of course. Tickets cost $14.30 to $45 and can be purchased online.
The horse track and casino will host a party in the breezeway that includes a Derby Divas and Darlings hat contest. Registration runs from noon to 3 p.m., and the contest takes place from 3:20 to 3:45 p.m. First prize is an overnight package for two at the AC Hotel in Aventura, cocktails, tapas, a gift, and a $300 bet on the Derby.