Missed the 2014 Kentucky Derby? Here’s Your Inside Look at the Festivities

Denise Y. Mose, Ph.D., Fashion Columnist


Dr. Denise Y. Mose, second from left, joins in the hat-stravaganza with other Kentucky Derby attendees

Dr. Denise Y. Mose, second from left, joins in the hat-stravaganza with other Kentucky Derby attendees.


Hats, hats, hats and more hats! For those that watch the celebrated Kentucky Derby each year in the comfort of your own home, it pales in comparison to experiencing it firsthand. The “Run For The Roses” is quintessentially the most exciting two minutes in sports. Furthermore, this race turns the average mailman into a millionaire — all within 120 seconds! The perk of being a traveling journalist is I get to jetset to parts unknown on a monthly basis. Yet none of my trips, I repeat, none of them compare to the first weekend in May.

My crazy-talented PR agent Monique booked me for the annual pilgrimage to Louisville. Before I left, she dropped off my wardrobe (which is another perk) and my smile grew even more. She later dropped off my press pass, stadium tickets, and plane ticket, and I was on my way. Here’s a day-to-day summary of this year’s festivities.


The Derby’s Thursday

BBD (Bell Biv DeVoe) rock the stage

Ricky Bell (center) and Ronnie DeVoe (rear, white shirt) of BBD (Bell Biv DeVoe)


The 100 Black Men of Louisville Scholarship Gala is the prelude to all of the Derby festivities. The Thursday night leading up to the races, these men honor high school seniors with money to go to college. Once the students are brought on stage and given their checks, the atmosphere changes. This year BBD (comprised of Ricky Bell, Michael Bivens and Ronnie DeVoe) headlined the gala. After blazing the stage with their hits, they ended with their number one smash, “Poison.”


The Derby’s Friday

Academy Award winner Jamie Foxx at the 2014 Kentucky Derby Grand Gala

Academy Award winner Jamie Foxx at the 2014 Kentucky Derby Grand Gala


Friday is reserved for “Lilies For The Phillies” at Churchill Downs. Now, for the novice reading this article, I suggest you look up this very popular place in Kentucky. The horses that race on this day are usually Phillies and some are even female. Also, you’ll see a lot of pink on this day since breast cancer is its focus. Trust me, seeing nice men dressed in tailored suits adorned with pink socks is a sight to behold.

Later that evening we had the pleasure of participating in the Grand Gala where they had a “Purple Carpet” with several A-List movie stars, acclaimed singers, and NBA legends. We interviewed Scottie Pippen, Star Jones, Gayle King, Ron Isley, The Jacksons, Nicole Murphy, Ron Harper, Russ Smith, Junior Bridgeman, Mayor Kevin Johnson, Ken Griffey, Jr., Angela Bassett, Julius “Dr. J” Erving, Regina Bell, Peabo Bryson and Academy Award Winner Jamie Foxx. Now, seeing celebrities is nothing new to me. However, The Jacksons and Ron “Mr. Big” Isley make you stop and realize that you are in the presence of greatness! I went to bed that night reminding myself that I am a very blessed young lady.


Saturday: The Main Event

Saturday came and so did the pageantry of hats! Although California Chrome won the big race for his owner, the real winners were the spectators! I met so many people who put months of work into detailing every inch of their hat just to debut it at the Derby. People ask me all the time, “Dr. D, what makes the Kentucky Derby so special”? My reply: “You have to see it to believe it!” We went into the stadium, placed our bets and drank the traditional Mint Julep. To me it’s not that tasty, but people will eye you strangely if you don’t get one.


Winding Down

Dr. Denise Y. Mose and Bobby Wheeler at the 2014 Kentucky Derby Fish Fry


Sunday was a totally relaxing time to sit back and enjoy my trip. I went with my favorite Kentuckians Antonio and Nyree Taylor, who host me each and every year, to a Derby Fish Fry. I also got a chance to catch up with the very good-looking Bobby Wheeler! After the hats and horses go away, the Derby becomes a family reunion. I only see these folks once a year.

(I get the feeling that’s going to change very soon.)

Goodbye, Kentucky Derby. Next year will make seven years in a row! Why stop now?


Dr. D is here for you: One wardrobe at a time!


Image sources:
All photos provided by Dr. Denise Y. Mose. Used with permission.

Limited edition painting: Kentucky Derby Museum. You can purchase it directly here.



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Journalist, entrepreneur, speaker, media personality, and life and etiquette coach Dr. Denise Y. MoseAbout the Author:
Denise Y. Mose, Ph.D is the owner/creator of Simply D Perfume and Beauty Bath and Body Line, and hosts the “Urban America Today” talk show. She is also a sought-after red carpet host, having been invited to cover the Grammys, Emmys, Kentucky Derby, and world-famous New York Fashion Week. Dr. Mose is an authority on education, beauty/fashion, career coaching and etiquette. Her third book, The Guilt-Free Guide to Fashion, is currently on bookshelves nationwide. The American Image Consultant Association seeks her advice on wardrobe and fashion seminars.



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