Lima woman makes yearly run to Kentucky Derby

By Dean Brown - [email protected]

Robyn Horrison will be tending bar at the Kentucky Derby

Robyn Horrison will be tending bar at the Kentucky Derby

LIMA — What are you doing the first weekend in May? Saturday, May 7th is the Kentucky Derby, sometimes called “The fastest two minutes in sports”. Most of us will be watching the race from a distance, but Robyn Horrison will be working at the Kentucky Derby for the third straight year.

Robyn, who works in Lima at Applebees on Elida Road, was first introduced to working at the Kentucky Derby by a friend who lives in Louisville, Kentucky, the site of the Derby. The first time she applied, she was not asked to work. However, she decided to apply the next year and her application was accepted by Levy Restaurants, one of the many companies who help with hospitality at the Kentucky Derby. In 2019 there were over 200 dining location on the grounds of Churchill Downs, which hosts not only the Kentucky Derby but a full card of fourteen races starting at 10:30 in the morning and concluding with a race beginning at around 8:30 that night, with the Kentucky Derby being the 12th race beginning at approximately 6:57 p.m.

In addition to the events on Derby Day, there is a week full of activities. “I go down on Wednesday night and then work the Thurby, The Oaks, and Derby Day. I’ve never seen so many people working in one place and they’re not even working for the same company,” said Robyn.

There is a lot of preparation involved for the three days of Derby Week. “Last year they operated at about 60 percent, so I really expect to be busy. I get up at four in the morning because your shift starts at seven. That gives you three to four hours to prep. You really do need all that time to stock your bar and get all your liquors out and make sure you have all your fruits and things like that. You don’t feel rushed. You take your time,” she explained.

“The most popular drink is the Mint Julep, followed by the Oaks Lilly and The Woodford Spire,” Robyn said. Over 150,000 people will be at Churchill Downs on Derby Day. Past statistics show that they will serve about 120,000 mint juleps over a two-day period. 11,000 bottles of bourbon, 1,100 pounds of mint from a local farm, and 65,000 pounds of ice will be served.

Robyn Horrison will be tending bar at the Kentucky Derby Horrison will be tending bar at the Kentucky Derby

By Dean Brown

[email protected]

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