Lilies for the Fillies ~ The History of the Kentucky Oaks

Most of you have at least heard of the Kentucky Derby. I grew up in the Bluegrass State and, for me and my fellow Kentuckians, The Derby is one of the most anticipated events of the year. It has been called the most exciting 2 minutes in sports. The Derby is the excitement of Christmas, dressed up in her Easter bonnet with 1 part elegance and southern charm, 1 part Mardi Gras-like revelry.

It is the oldest continuously running sports event in the nation, founded by none other than Colonel Meriwether Lewis Clark in 1875.

What you may not know is there is a race run on the Friday before the Kentucky Derby called the Kentucky Oaks. This race was also founded by Clark the same year on land donated by his uncles. The Derby and the Oaks are the only two horse races that take place in the same location as their inaugural event.

The Oaks is all about the ladies. It is a Grade 1 stakes race for three-year-old thoroughbred Fillies (which are young female horses). The Oaks is known for an exciting race day, but equally for unabashed celebration of all things PINK, fashion and its commitment to raising awareness and money for the fight against breast and ovarian cancer.

The Derby is known as the Run for the Roses, but the official flower of the Oaks is the Lily. The winner is presented with a blanket of lilies called Lilies for the Fillies.

Just like the Derby has its official drink (the Mint Julep), the Oaks has The Lily.

I have made some adjustments to the recipe to make a Teneral Cellars Lily for you to try.

Teneral Cellars Lily for the Fillies Wine Cocktail

Tall Glass

Muddle 1 orange slice with 2 blackberries

Fill with crushed ice

2 oz Teneral Cellars unoaked Chardonnay

3 oz pink lemonade


Splash cranberry juice

 top with soda

Garnish with 3 blackberries and a lemon twist


Watch the 147th running of this race on Friday April 30th at 5:51 pm ET/2:51 m PT

*in Case you are wondering My bets are on Pass the Champagne and Crazy Beautiful*

….and they’re off!


By Vicki Tomiser

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published