• Claire Kittle

144th Running of the Kentucky Derby

Updated: Jul 2

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May 5th, 2018

Last weekend George and I attended the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby! He has a teammate who went to school at Louisville and has gone every year since, this year he invited us to join him and his girlfriend. This was honestly a huge bucket-list item! I have always wanted to attend the Kentucky Derby but never knew when it would happen. I guess it pays to know the right kinds of people because we got all of the hook ups for the whole weekend. 

Our friend Cole put us in contact with the owner of an event planning company J Wagner Group and owner of DerbyVIPJoey Wagner  for a full serviced fun filled weekend! I gotta say this is the way to go when you’re at the Derby, especially if you’ve never been before. Every last detail was handled for us. I highly recommend Joey and his team, they went above and beyond to make sure we were comfortable. I would’ve been stressing without them!

Friday night we checked into our hotel in East Louisville Hampton Inn great location, highly recommend if you are trying to save a little money on accommodation and it didn’t take us long to get to the Derby. PSA: everything on Derby weekend is a million times more expensive than it should be. I’m talking hotels and airbnbs for $800 a night, thats why we stayed further out for half that price lol. Our friends who know the area suggested we stay away from getting a hotel on the west side of 65, just to be sure we were staying in a safe location. That night we went to an event put on by DerbyVIP & J Wagner Group at The Louisville Palace hosted by Diddy, again drinks were free. We walked the red carpet got some photos taken and listened to awesome music. The Palace is one of the most beautiful venues I think i’ve ever been in. There was so much detail throughout every inch of that place I just caught myself staring from time to time.

At our table inside the Palace Friday May 4th


Steve Madden Heels

George’s Loafers- (on sale!)

Finnley’s Jumpsuit

George’s Custom Adriaen Black Suit

Custom #85 necklace

The morning of the Derby we were invited to attend a brunch sponsored by Patron, again put on by Joey and his company. The decor was incredible- even inside a tent, while pouring rain outside. Note to self: if you order a mint julep be prepared….. no bartender holds back the alcohol in those drinks. Not my fav thing ever, but festive so I had to.

My Derby Dress

my wedges are also Guess but I couldn’t find a link because I got them from Nordstrom Rack and they’re an older style.

My hat is from a little boutique in Galena, IL called Celebrity Hats, lol.

George’s Loafers- (on sale!)

George’s Custom Adriaen Black Suit

a bloody & a mint julep. ( Mint Juleps are the “Derby drink” I hated it


accompanied by this hunk all weekend. (He got the best dressed award)


Okay I HAVE to take a minute to shout out this kick ass woman! @VIPviolin

She played the most unreal house music mix, dj-ing and playing the violin. George and I were both obsessed with her. We looked at each other and go “we need her at our wedding!” Check her out, you won’t be disappointed!

Formulating a plan to place our bets- it was uneventful, very uneventful.


After the bomb brunch we hopped in a van and were shuttled complete VIP style to the front of Churchill downs. We legit jumped out of the van and onto a red carpet. Ah Whoa. From there they proceeded to write George’s name on a dry erase board and escorted us towards the media. George looked at me with big eyes, like we had no idea this was part of the deal. But, AWESOME! Before we knew it we were standing in front of a couple hundred photographers and tv stations. George quickly got asked to come forward and answer a few questions with two different sports stations. I just got to stand there and smile, lol. One of the photographers did scream out- asking me about my hat and to model it. That part was hilarious. Here I am standing behind George on the red carpet twirling around modeling my hat for this one lady and hundreds of photographers. You could probably see me twirling on the tv station George was speaking to lol. I prlly looked like a total goof, but a goof having a damn good time nonetheless.

this chick didn’t like me very much. CLEARLY hahahahaahaha


After we got off the red carpet we were in a big room with all the “celebrities” or VIPs if you will. Open bars and numerous photo props and backdrops, my kind of room. We got another Mint Julep (well, George did) & I got a Lily.


derby seating map

The view from outside our seats, this part was still covered but as you can see no one was down below because of all the rain!


wristbands we had to wear in order to go between the 3rd & 4th floors


Standing on the balcony outside our room for the running of the Derby. Even though we didn’t win all weekend we had an absolute blast! I think the Derby hooked us and pulled us in for every year to come. Grab a group of your friends, make it a weekend and cross it off your bucket-list. 10/10 would recommend. Dress up, have drinks, take pics and enjoy yourself. there’s nothing wrong with livin a little, or a lot!

  1. this pic sums up our night. Of course there was yet another party for us to attend the night of the Derby but this was our weekend together since G has been in OTA’s for a couple weeks. All we wanted was to get in sweats, pick up P.F. Changs and lay in bed. Derby you did us good, until next time! xx Lettey 

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