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They're Off! Chicago bars prep for the fastest two minutes in sports

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Amalie Drury

It's my job to write about Chicago and all of its people, places and things. If it's new and it's cool, I'm checking it out.

The Pony is all about the Derby. Win prizes for best hat and best seersucker suit.

The Pony hosts a Kentucky Derby party with prizes for best outfits.

Yes, the Kentucky Derby still bills itself as "the fastest two minutes in sports," despite the fact that the not-so-recent invention of motorized vehicles left the poor ponies in the dust a good while ago. And with the Louisville forecast calling for an 80 percent chance of "strong storms" all day tomorrow, the bound-to-be-muddy 136th Kentucky Derby isn't likely to break any land speed records (this is morbid, but I'm just hoping no one breaks a leg--an occurrence which can bring the level of Derby-day gaiety down to zero in a sobering instant. RIP, Eight Belles). 

Anyway, like I said yesterday, I'm taking a rare year off from going home to Louisville for the Derby, though, since I can tell you're desperate, I guess I'll post a picture of last year's Derby outfit below. (Your vocab word of the day is Fascinator: a strictly decorative non-hat item worn atop The Chaser's head for the purpose of making her appear five inches taller). 

The fascinator will not be making an appearance at Derby 2010. Nay (neigh!), this year, I'll be stopping by my friend Sean's Kentucky Derby fundraiser for Face the Future at the Fortnightly Club in the Gold Coast. Have you been there? It's old school to the max. Then, I thought I might check out one of the zillions of bar Derby parties happening around the city.

There's a $25 crawfish boil at Brownstone (crawfish is more New Orleans than Louisville, but whatever); a "Dawn at the Downs" party at The Cedar Hotel with $6 Mint Juleps (the party starts at noon, which is not quite dawn, but whatever); a "Talk Derby to Me" party at Faith & Whiskey with $5 Woodford Reserve shots; an event benefitting the Equestrian Connection at The Pony (don your best hats for a chance at prizes); a contest for best hat and best seersucker suit at Fizz; another best-dressed party benefitting JDRF at Sweetwater; hand-crafted mint juleps at Longman & Eagle and many, many more. 

Geez, people. If I didn't know any better, I'd think Chicago's a tad jealous it's not Louisville this weekend. 

If you really want to get in the spirit, head out to Arlington Park, which is basically pretending it's Churchill Downs for the day. Arlington just opened (as in yesterday) a new bar called Longshots on its grounds, and elsewhere around the park, they'll be hosting what they call "Chicago's Largest Derby Party" with live bands, live racing, Churchill Downs racing on simulcast, and free official Kentucky Derby glasses for the first 2,500 people to buy a ticket. 

Those glasses are collector's items, y'all. Git on out there. 

P.S. Anybody find me that pie


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