Derby Day at the Four Seasons

“The Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports”


Since my friend introduced me to derby day parties a few years ago, I’ve been making my way around the different parties in the Austin area.  For 2017, Dapper Husband and decided to skip the real life horses and party with the Make a Wish Foundation in the lobby restaurant of the Four Seasons.

Make a Wish Foundation

The entrance fees and the purchase of any additional “betting cards” (see below)  went to the Make a Wish foundation. While I’m sure all my readers have heard of the foundation, I just want to reiterate here what they do.  The foundation grants the wishes of children diagnosed with life-threatening diseases.  It provides the child and their families with smiles, joy and a break from the grueling and often terrifying reality they face when receiving their diagnosis and going through treatment. The foundation gave a short presentation expressing their gratitude to the attendees (which I must say seems ridiculous to be thanked for attending such a lovely event!) and concluded with a heartfelt story delivered by a recipient of a wish.

Entertainment Beyond the Race:

Make a Bet!

I absolutely love the trifecta cards they passed out.  Entrance came with a single card per person and additional cards could be purchased with all proceeds going to the charity. After the excitement that came along with having a wager (albeit not cash), I can completely understand gambling on horse races. Spoiler: neither husband nor I proved any good at predicting who will win the derby.

Best Dressed

A contest for the best dressed for the gentleman and best hat for the ladies is always a mainstay at these smaller events (it was nearly impossible to imagine doing it at the Polo match we attended last year). Despite the ladies’ contest being hats, it was the winner’s entire outfit that took the cake. I had a chance to briefly make her acquaintance after the contest and she informed me that she just “dresses like this sans the hat every day.” As a “woman of a certain age” (as the french would say), she had an air of elegance complimented by her timeless style. The modest dress with a beaded shawl gave a little splash of 1920s flapper. Meanwhile, the best-dressed man’s fedora was accented with a very long elegant cluster of pheasant feathers. I’m positive he won on the merits of his hat alone.

Mint Juleps

1 teaspoon Powdered sugar
2 oz. Bourbon whiskey
2 teaspoons Water
4 Mint leaves

I will confess now: I do not enjoy Mint Juleps one bit. Despite my taste buds, I still have one every year for the Derby. I’m positive one day I will think they’re delicious.  I even tried a blackberry & basil one at the mint julep bar– Dapper Husband ended up drinking it for me.

The Race

Everyone crowded around shoulder-to-shoulder (sadly for me also in the middle of a walkway) to watch the most exciting or fastest two minutes in sports! I was simultaneously surrounded by cheering, applause and groans. Always Dreaming took the roses!



Place Horse Jockey
1 Always Dreaming John R. Velazquez
2 Lookin At Lee Corey Lanerie
3 Battle of Midway Flavien Prat
4 Classic Empire Julien R. Leparoux

Do they have Derby parties in your area? And if not, check out the Mint Julep recipe above and throw your own!  Pro-tip: Make hats or fascinators and bowties mandatory.


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