Silks and Saddles (and Juleps): Kentucky Derby Music Saturday

Tune in to Classical 101 Saturday at 6pm to hear a special program of American music for the running of the 139th Kentucky Derby.(Photo: Jeff Kubina (Flickr))
Tune in to Classical 101 Saturday at 6pm to hear a special program of American music for the running of the 139th Kentucky Derby.(Photo: Jeff Kubina (Flickr))

It’s that time of year again, when the large hats fan their glory, the seersucker suits go on parade and the spring in your step turns into a bona fide clip-clop.

This Saturday is the running of the 139th Kentucky Derby, an event that truly lives up to its reputation as the most exciting two minutes in sports. And I write that not because of the surfeit of bluegrass blood running through my veins, but because the Kentucky Derby is, quite simply, the sporting event of the year.

That’s a pretty tall claim, so I’ll try to support it. You see, the Kentucky Derby has everything that most other big-league sporting events have – and then some. You can see athletic prowess in any number of arenas (no pun intended) – basketball, football, ice hockey, soccer. You can (usually) see in those events some of the finer elements of humanity  – teamwork, focus, determination and invincibility of spirit.

Professional horse racing has all that. But it also has relational and aesthetic elements that other sports can’t boast: the tens of thousands of years of human-equine relations, the subtle and ineffable communication between jockey and horse, the training of not one species of athlete but two, the fascinating strategic thinking of a good jockey, the phenomenal genealogy of thoroughbreds down to the nth gene on the nth chromosome and, last but not least, the extraordinary beauty of the animals who run the races.

Add to these highlights of professional horse racing in general the specific pomp and circumstance of the Kentucky Derby – the hats, the mint juleps (for those of age) – and you’ve got a great American sporting event.

So what does this have to do with classical music? Glad you asked. As a descendant of generations of Kentuckians, I hope you’ll join me for a special program of music in honor of the Kentucky Derby this Saturday on The American Sound. Tune in at 6 pm and you’ll have a great soundtrack for your Derby Day party and everything you’ll need to carry you along that most exciting mile-and-a-quarter.

Don’t miss music for the Kentucky Derby, Saturday at 6 pm on The American Sound on Classical 101.

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