Recipes, tips for Kentucky Derby parties

It will be the 135th running of the Kentucky Derby in Louisville. The city is almost as well known for its elaborate Derby Day parties as it is for the race.

You might not be able to get to the Derby this year, but you can bring a taste of Churchill Downs to your own party. Chef Scott Wegener of Arlington Park shares some authentic recipes featured at Chicago's suburban racetrack and Churchill Downs as well.

Traditional Derby Recipes

From Levy Restaurants Chefs at Arlington Park, Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby

  • BBQ Shrimp
  • Mint Julep
  • Tips for a successful party:

  • Invite the ladies to wear large Derby-style hats and have a best hat competition
  • Ask the men to break out their seersucker attire
  • Have guests prepare their own authentic Kentucky Derby Mint Julep, with fresh mint and crushed ice
  • Use silver mint julep cups to hold floral displays
  • Use horseshoes as party decorations
  • Incorporate the official Derby recipes from Levy Restaurants into your dining experience including Barbecue Shrimp, Kentucky Bibb Salad and Country Cassoulet. Find the more recipes at

    Arlington Park kicks off its 82nd season on Friday, May 1. Arlington Park will host the "World's Largest Derby Party" as part of its opening weekend festivities May 1 - 3.

    "Arlington Park hits the ground running opening weekend with a full line-up of value entertainment options that will last throughout the racing season," said Roy Arnold, president of Arlington Park. "Not only does Arlington Park provide top level horse racing, it is also a beautiful place to come see great concerts, art shows, July 3rd fireworks or have a family picnic all for less than it would cost to go to a professional ball game."

    Opening Day - Friday, May 1: Gates open early with racing from Churchill Downs beginning at 10:00 a.m., including the simulcast of the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks with the first live Arlington Park race leaving the gate at 2:30 p.m. - continuing every Friday during the season. Advance wagering will also take place for the Kentucky Derby.

    Kentucky Derby Coverage - Saturday, May 2: Arlington Park is the host for the "World's Largest Derby Party." In addition to an exciting live racing program, Arlington Park will simulcast the Kentucky Derby from Churchill Downs. Gates open early as action gets underway with a strong undercard of races beginning at 10:00 a.m., a special post time for Derby Day. The first live Arlington Park race breaks from the gate at 12:15 p.m., with 12 live races at the track.

    Other great Derby Day activities include:

  • Live music on the Miller Lite Band Stage by I.R.S.
  • The first 2,500 people to purchase their ticket online will receive an official Kentucky Derby Glass.
  • Traditional Kentucky Derby themed beverages such as the Mint Julep.
  • Entertainment, fun and games for the entire family in the Park area.
  • Kentucky themed roaming musical performances.
  • The three-day opening weekend will also include Arlington Heights Community Appreciation Days on Saturday, May 2, when a race will be named for the Arlington Heights community. Park goers from Arlington Heights will receive a discount on admission.

    For more information on Arlington Park's opening weekend, visit and


    MOTHER'S DAY May 10: Tickets and brunch reservations for this annual sell-out event are now on sale. Moms will receive a rose compliments of Arlington Park.

    PRAIRIE STATE ART FESTIVAL, June 21: Arlington Park will host the Prairie State Art Festival showcasing 10-15 juried Illinois artisans on Father's Day weekend. The two-day event will feature a juried art competition in which artists will be competing for $5,000 in prize money. Each artist will have one or more items with a special horse or horse racing theme on display.

    20TH ANNIVERSARY OF RE-OPENING, June 28: 2009 marks the 20th anniversary of the rebuilding of the Arlington Park concourse in 1989 after the fire in 1985. In its day, and today, the park was architecturally captivating. More than just the horses work fast at Arlington Park. The building was "fast tracked" -- meaning it was built while being designed. The blue prints were just a couple of steps ahead of the builders. Almost all elements of the track were designed to exquisite detail by the Duchossois family. A special day of activities will commemorate the re-opening anniversary on June 28.

    INDEPENDENCE FEST, July 3: Four Man Band Performs -- Later Post Time of 4:00 p.m. Always a spectacle at Arlington Park, the track will again host a breath taking fireworks display on the evening of July 3 with a later post time of 4:00 p.m. for the first time ever. Four Man Band will perform from 4--9 p.m.. The tradition of lighting up the Northwest Suburb's skies, with its annual Independence Day Fireworks Celebration, will take place shortly after the day's end of Thoroughbred racing.

    LADIES DAY/FASHION SHOWCASE, July 11: Ladies take center stage at Arlington Park on July 11 both on and off the racecourse. Ladies in attendance will be treated to an afternoon of spa treatments, special giveaways, and an opportunity to sport their fashionable attire. A special fashion showcase will also take place during the race day.

    ROCK ART SHOW, August 1-2: Arlington Park will rock the art world with a rare collection of original art, lithographs, photographs, handwritten song lyrics, concert posters, gold records, album art and more from the greatest rock artists of all time.

    ARLINGTON MILLION WEEK -- AUGUST 4-8: The popular Arlington Million returns to Arlington Park for the 27th running on Saturday, August 8. The Arlington Million is the most celebratory day of the racing calendar at Arlington Park. The track will again host a week of great activities for the whole family including a draw event in downtown Chicago on Tuesday, August 4. The entire week is a first class display, and will include a draw event in downtown Chicago.

    Highlights Include:

  • Tuesday, August 4th -- Post Position Draw downtown Chicago (location TBA)
  • Friday, August 7th -- Million Charity Gala to benefit the Permanently Disabled Jockey Fund.
  • ONGOING EVENTS -- Begin Memorial Day Weekend

  • Junior Jockey Club -- Arlington Park offers children 12 and under hands-on activities about how to care for horses, what it takes to be a jockey, equine health and much more each Sunday.
  • Community Appreciation Days -- Arlington Park will host Community Appreciation Weekends for nine local municipalities. Each three-day weekend will be highlighted on Saturday, with an Official Community Appreciation Day when a race will be named for the community and the trophy presentation following the race made by the mayor. In addition, each community will be represented at the track by various local organizations such as police and fire, and local charities.
  • Family Days -- Families looking for fun and entertainment this summer can enjoy Sunday afternoons together at Arlington Park's Family Days. The park will host a variety of Chicagoland museums, zoos, etc. at the park for special exhibits and interactive activities.
  • Miller Lite Party in the Park -- Each Friday, Arlington Park is the place to kick off your weekend. The Party in the Park features a combination of live music from top local bands, the excitement of live Thoroughbred racing and beer specials.
  • Miller Lite Saturday Taste of Summer -- Each Saturday, the great tastes of Miller Lite, BBQ food specials, and the sounds of Chicagoland live musical acts will feature in the Park.
  • For more information on Arlington Park, visit and

    About Arlington Park Arlington Park -- the Chicago area's premier Thoroughbred racetrack located in Arlington Heights will run a 98-day meet in 2009 from Friday, May 1 through Sunday, Sept. 27. Arlington Park, whose parent company is Churchill Downs Incorporated (Nasdaq: CHDN), also operates 10 off-track, simulcast-wagering facilities -- Trackside Arlington Park (Arlington Heights), Trackside Chicago, Trackside Quad City Downs (East Moline), Trackside Rockford, Trackside Waukegan, Fat Sam's Bar & Grill featuring Trackside OTB in Lockport, Lucky's featuring Trackside OTB in South Elgin, Nicolino's featuring Trackside OTB in McHenry, Tad's Sports Bar & Grill featuring Trackside OTB in South Beloit and Salerno-Pincente Ristorante featuring Trackside OTB in Hodgkins. Information on Arlington Park can be found online at

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