This will be my fourth Derby since moving to Louisville in January 2006. That first year, in Churchill Downs' infield, one of the things I noticed were the mint juleps served in glasses that listed every Derby winner. (The second thing I observed was how the grass turned brown when the revelers accidently spilled their watered-down bourbon cocktails.) That glass, though — pretty cool collectible, I thought. And I brought home seven.
Now, I don't collect Derby memorabilia, by any means. But the other day, I was in the Crescent Hill Trading Co. (2720 Frankfort Ave.) and noticed a dozen or so julep glasses from 1974, which was the 100th running of the Derby and the year Cannonade won. (May 1 will be the 136th running.) In '73, it's worth mentioning, Secretariat won the Triple Crown, and his name is the last one listed on the Derby glass. Being a 100th-anniversary item, I decided it was a Derby decoration I couldn't pass up and asked owner Margaret Thomas how much one cost. "Eh," she said, "two dollars."
I apologize for the poor photo quality. (Yes, those are paper towels serving as my backdrop.) The glass is gold-painted and different shades of brown — almost the color of bourbon. There's a horse's head with the twin spires in the background. If anything, it's a cheap way to celebrate the first Saturday in May. (No, I haven't drank out of mine. Yet.) And if you hurry, it's a great gift for out of town guests.