It’s Derby Day this weekend! The 144th Kentucky Derby is taking place on May 5th at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky as 150,000 people come to watch. The Derby is a famous horse race that has become an American tradition, whether you follow racing or not. The 20-horse race lasts about 2 minutes and awards the winner 2 million dollars. The winner is wrapped in a blanket of roses, which is why the horses “run for the roses.” Aside from placing bets on which horse will win, it’s also another reason to have a party. People around the country gather in their derby “garb”, or special outfits, to watch the race and socialize. If you don’t want to dress up “to the nines”, or in other words get too elegant for the event, do make sure to wear a hat. The Kentucky Derby is known for its hat wearing spectators. The bigger and brighter the hat, the better. Don’t forget to say cheers to your friends with a refreshing Mint Julep, the Derby’s signature, bourbon-based drink. We’re off to the races!

To go along with the Kentucky Derby, here are some expressions related to horses:

Hold your horses! – Another way to say, wait a minute, hold on.

Straight from the horse’s mouth – When you hear something right from the horse’s mouth, you are hearing it from the original person who said it or from the person the information is about. You can be pretty sure about something being true if you hear it from the horse’s mouth.

Dark horse – The dark horse is a candidate or competitor who people don’t know much about but ends up winning, in other words the odds are against him or her. For example, the horse Giacomo unexpectedly won the Derby in 2005, so you could call him the “dark horse” of the race.

A one-horse race – When one competitor or candidate is far superior to all the other competitors and is expected to win.  A one-horse race has little or no competition.


By Fleur-Isabelle Stewart,

English Expert at Primera Languages for Business.

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