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Jockeys & Juleps

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So you can't make it to Louisville this week to see the big race where thoroughbreds like Justify, Audible, Good Magic, and Mendelssohn make their run for the roses? Oh well, Eads is closer, and Jockeys and Juleps, a benefit for Southern Reins Center for Equine Therapy, aims to duplicate at least part of the experience.

Southern Reins executive director Jill Haag paints a classic race-day picture: "Everybody dresses up and shows up," she says. "You'll see men in seersucker suits with derby hats on and women with feathers and ribbons and crazy-big ginormous hats. It's like you are at Churchill Downs for the race."

South of the Kentucky Derby
  • South of the Kentucky Derby

Haag says she took a "go big or go home" approach to this year's horse party, which features a Kentucky Derby simulcast, a silent art auction, bluegrass music performed by the River Bluff Clan, Fried Chicken from Gus's, and a whole hog smoked by Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen. "We're expecting about 1,000 people on our farm," she says. "It's going to be held in our covered arena, in our barn, and on the lawn."

Southern Reins provides equine therapy, therapeutic horseback riding, and equine-assisted services for veterans and people with disabilities. "All of our participants have some disability or hardship to participate in out program," Haag says.

Haag won't divulge the recipe for this year's signature juleps other than to say they're classic and made with Woodford Reserve, the Derby's official Bourbon. "And we have beautiful silver julep cups as a memento of the event," she says. "And we also have a big rose horseshoe where people can get their pictures made with our therapy horses."

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