It’s been such a busy week at work that I’m only sitting down to write this post now! Last Saturday, my aunt and I attended the Denver Mini Derby, which is a Kentucky Derby viewing party with a twist—they race corgis and miniature horses (!!!). The event benefits Next Step Horse Rescue, a non-profit based in Colorado Springs that helps retrain and rehabilitate horses from across the country that have been abused and neglected. All-in-all, the Denver Mini Derby was such a fun way to celebrate Derby Day, and I just had to share more pics in a blog post for those of you who don’t follow me on Instagram (check out my live coverage of the event here!).
We arrived at the event a little after 1:00 pm—fashionably late, of course—and closed the place down at 6:00. It was a beautiful sunny day when we got there! I even started to overheat a little and was thankful I remembered to put on sunscreen. But as you’ll see in the photos, clouds moved in near the end of the event, and my aunt and I were shivering by the time our Uber driver picked us up!
Of course, the hardest decision I had to make was what to wear. I made this Reel to showcase five different possible outfits, but I ended up going with this fuchsia dress. I wanted to wear the beige fascinator that I thrifted in Scotland (my boyfriend thinks it looks like a crab), and I thought the fuchsia would pair nicely with my aunt’s adorable Kelly green dress (which is still available at Target—shop here). Someone told us we look like Cosmo and Wanda from “The Fairly OddParents”, ha!
Like my fascinator, my dress is thrifted, and I appreciated the higher neckline to keep my chest from burning. I was grateful to have not chosen one of the more formfitting spring dresses in my closet because I would have been sweltering! An A-line fit like my aunt’s dress is definitely the move. If I get the opportunity to attend again, I think I would also put my hair up for maximum comfort.
We spent the first hour of the event wandering the grounds and seeing what’s what. We started at the open bar with Mint Juleps, which are the quintessential drink of the Kentucky Derby—whiskey, mint, and sugar. I tried very hard to like whiskey when I was in Scotland, but I still think the stuff is nasty… Thankfully I was able to muscle through this Mint Julep, which admittedly was not very minty or as whiskey-heavy as I expected.
With drinks in hand, we explored some of the booths set up around the grounds, including saying hi to the mini horses! The one on the left looked very much like a donkey and was wearing a little sombrero. The one on the right, as you can see, is really putting the “mini” in the Denver Mini Derby! Those are some short legs.
There were also a few vendors at the event, and my aunt and I ended up buying matching souvenir rings from Lux and Luca.
The corgi race happened at 2:00 pm. As you can see from the pic above, the race “track” was pretty narrow, so there were a couple of heats of corgis (I believe there were eight competing dogs in total, one of them quite chunky). If you ever attend the Denver Mini Derby, my one piece of advice is to pay close attention to the schedule and secure a spot at the track early. We nearly missed the corgi race because we couldn’t hear the announcement and there were so many people crammed against the railings. We didn’t make that mistake again when it came to the mini horse races!
This corgi had a little cowboy on his back and wanted to say hi! You can see all his friends greeting each other and sniffing butts in the background.
After the corgi races were the best dressed competitions, with a best hat, best couple, and overall best dressed category. This guy showed up in a jockey costume and was quite the hit!
These two couples were wearing my favorite outfits, although neither of them won the competition. I love the matching pastel gingham, and the man’s bright blue suit was so bold and stylish!
This hat was incredible—an ode to the Mint Julep. I didn’t get the chance to ask her if she made it herself. I would have loved to make my own headpiece, but I couldn’t bring myself to buy or make anything new when I had my souvenir fascinator from Scotland sitting in my closet, never worn. I mean, how often do you get the chance to wear a headpiece like that?? I heard on the radio that the average Derby hat costs $1000! My fascinator was only three bucks.
I loved both of these women’s headpieces. The bright purple one on the left kept catching my eye all day, and the big white one on the right was over-the-top! Half the fun of this event was seeing everyone’s outfits—some fabulous, some absolutely not… Boy, do I love people watching.
This is the mini horse I cheered for during the race because our outfits were matching… She’s a little cutie. Also, peep the incredible butterfly fascinator on the lady in the background! Another one of my favorite headpieces. The MC made a joke that some of us could have attended the Coronation in these outfits, since that also happened on Saturday.
After the best dressed contests, we made our way to the tracks to try and secure a spot for the mini horse race. But first was the viewing of the real Kentucky Derby on the big screen! Everyone around me was cheering for Two Phil’s but I guessed that Mage would win—simply because I liked the name—and I was right! I was a little disappointed the Denver Mini Derby didn’t have any betting… I could have won big, ha.
The final event of the day was the mini horse races. Unlike the corgi races, where owners were standing on either end of the track and baiting their dogs to the other side with treats, the humans actually ran with the mini horses while holding onto their reins. I was not expecting that. You could tell how strong and powerful even these tiny horses were, and a few of the racers were pulled to the ground by their steeds! Thankfully, I don’t think anyone got hurt—it made for an interesting show, though.
Overall, the event was a blast. My aunt and I had a lot of fun catching up, enjoying everyone’s outfits, and watching the animals run. The only thing that I would change is the location. The Denver Mini Derby used to be held at a park in the Central Park neighborhood, which I’m very familiar with. But this year, they moved the location downtown to the Auraria Campus. There was hardly any grass, as you could probably tell from the pics, so the photo-ops weren’t very picturesque. Furthermore, our feet were disgusting by the time we got home from walking around in all that dirt! I wish I had worn non-suede shoes for easy cleaning, and I feel bad for some of the women who were wearing beautiful designer heels… Hopefully their shoes weren’t ruined. I’ll be curious to see if they move the event back to the old Central Park location next year.
Aside from that one thing, the Denver Mini Derby was so much fun, and I hope to attend again in the future. It’s a great way to celebrate Derby Day with friends and a fantastic excuse to dress up!
Did you watch the Kentucky Derby on TV? Were you cheering for Mage? Let me know in the comments.
Miles of smiles,
Fuchsia Dress: Thrifted, $15 ($5.00 per wear), last worn here | Nude Heels: Amazon, $46 ($4.60 per wear), last worn here | Beige Patent Purse: Thrifted, $9 ($0.90 per wear), last worn here | Beige Fascinator: Thrifted, $3
4 comments on “Recap of the Denver Mini Derby”
It sounds like so much fun. I love people watching and I love dressing up so this would be something so fun to do with a girlfriend! Love both yours and your aunt’s outfits and you all fascinators are just perfect!
Thank you Mireille!!
I can see why your shoes would be a mess…you almost needed sneakers, LOL
What a fabulous event,