Kentucky Derby food 2021: Recipes for traditional desserts, snacks, pies

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As with any major sporting event, food is a vital aspect of the Kentucky Derby. With 147 years of history and centuries of Southern traditions, there is no shortage of decadent and unique Bluegrass foods and desserts to whip up for the perfect at-home Kentucky Derby viewing party.

The 2021 Kentucky Derby will air on May 1 from 12 to 2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and from 2:30 to 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC. Coverage is also available to stream live on NBCSports.com and on the NBC Sports app. Post time for the 2021 Kentucky Derby is set for approximately 6:57 p.m. ET.

Related: How to watch the 2021 Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky hot brown is a product of the historic Brown Hotel in downtown Louisville. In the 1920s, Chef Fred Schmidt was looking for a late-night delicacy for partying night owls and found it in this open-faced turkey sandwich topped with bacon and Mornay sauce.

Fried chicken is perhaps the most widespread, globally known export out of the Bluegrass, thanks to Colonel Sanders and his roadside restaurant in Corbin, Ky.

  • Keep it traditional with a classic and simple fried chicken like racing owner and celebrity chef Bobby Flay’s recipe. Throw in some waffles and syrup for some added Southern flare.
  • Make it unique with a more flavorful, yet still themed, spin on fried chicken like Food Network’s bourbon brined fried chicken.

Related: Recipes for traditional Mint Julep and other Kentucky Derby drinks

Journey deep into Kentucky cuisine with Burgoo, a meat and vegetable stew that was traditionally made with whatever items were available, like rabbit, squirrel and possum.

  • Keep it traditional yet accessible with the Kentucky Derby’s official burgoo recipe that uses store-bought meats, including steak, pork and turkey.
  • Make it unique by dressing it up with a variety of breads to dip in your stew.

Get your Kentucky Derby party started early with a hearty serving of biscuits and gravy, a mainstay in Southern cuisine.

Related: Enter to win a #DerbyAtHome Mint Julep kit

You can’t have a Derby party without a Derby pie, a chocolate and nut (pecans or walnuts—dealer’s choice) pie that originated in the 1950s at the Melrose Inn in Prospect, Ky.

  • Keep it traditional with my personal, ridiculously simple Derby pie recipe, which uses pecans:
    • 9″ unbaked pie shell (homemade or store-bought)
    • 1/4 cup of butter (melted and cooled)
    • 1 cup of granulated sugar
    • 1/2 cup of flour
    • 2 eggs (beaten)
    • 1 tsp of vanilla
    • 1 cup of chocolate chips
    • 1 cup of chopped pecans
    • 2 tbsp of bourbon
      • Combine all ingredients, pour into unbaked pie shell and bake at 350 for 35 minutes or until a knife comes out of the pie with only chocolate sticking to it.
  • Make it unique by adding a tablespoon of honey to your batter before you bake it, which adds to both the texture and taste. You can also leave the bourbon out (though the alcohol cooks out) for a younger crowd. Then it basically becomes a giant cookie pie.

Related: What to know about the 147th Kentucky Derby

If you really have a sweet tooth, satisfy it with rich bourbon balls, a chocolate-coated bourbon and nut delicacy that was invented by Ruth Booe of Rebecca Ruth Chocolates in 1938.

  • Keep it traditional with a straightforward recipe like this one, which requires soaking the pecans in bourbon overnight.
  • Make it unique by mixing up your mix-ins and using a bourbon liqueur instead, adding sea salt or dipping the bourbon balls in different types of chocolate.

Transparent pie is a custard-ey pie that originated in Maysville, which sits on the Kentucky-Ohio border. This simple yet sweet dessert dates back to the 1800s and is entirely made out of everyday kitchen staples.

Watch the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 1 from 12 to 2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and from 2:30 to 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC. Full coverage is also available on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.

Irad Ortiz sets single-season record with 77th stakes win

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NEW YORK – Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. earned his record 77th single-season North American stakes victory when he guided Dr B to victory in the $200,000 Go for Wand at Aqueduct.

The 30-year-old native of Puerto Rico broke the old mark of 76 set by the late Hall of Fame rider Garrett Gomez in 2007.

“This is great. Amazing feeling,” said Ortiz, Jr., who won the Eclipse Award as outstanding jockey from 2018-20. “Gomez did it in 2007 and he was a great rider, one of the best in the game. I’m so happy just to be a part of this. I love this sport.”

Ortiz Jr. won the Belmont Stakes with Mo Donegal in June to go with Breeders’ Cup victories in the Juvenile, Filly & Mare Sprint and Sprint. He also earned nine other Grade 1 wins in New York, including Life Is Good in the Woodward and Whitney and Nest in the Alabama and Coaching Club Oaks. He won riding titles at Belmont’s spring-summer meet and Saratoga’s summer meet.

Ortiz Jr. leads North American riders with 304 overall victories this year. His purse earnings totaled over $35.8 million going into Saturday’s races, which already surpassed his single-season record of $34.1 million in 2019.

Appeals court strikes down federal horseracing rules act

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NEW ORLEANS — Congress unconstitutionally gave too much power to a nonprofit authority it created in 2020 to develop and enforce horseracing rules, a federal appeals court in New Orleans ruled Friday.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, or HISA, is “facially unconstitutional.”

The authority created by the act was meant to bring uniform policies and enforcement to horseracing amid doping scandals and racetrack horse deaths. But the 5th Circuit – in two rulings issued Friday – ruled in favor of opponents of the act in lawsuits brought by horseracing associations and state officials in Texas, Louisiana and West Virginia.

The Federal Trade Commission has the ultimate authority to approve or reject HISA regulations, but it can’t modify them. And the authority can reject proposed modifications.

Three 5th Circuit judges agreed with opponents of the act – including the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and similar groups in multiple states – that the setup gave too much power to the nongovernmental authority and too little to the FTC.

“A cardinal constitutional principle is that federal power can be wielded only by the federal government. Private entities may do so only if they are subordinate to an agency,” Judge Stuart Kyle Duncan wrote for the panel that ruled in the Texas case.

The same panel, which also included judges Carolyn Dineen King and Kurt Engelhardt, cited the Texas ruling in a separate order in favor of horseracing interests and regulators challenging HISA in a different case.

The chair of the horseracing authority’s board of directors said it would ask for further court review. Friday’s ruling could be appealed to the full 5th Circuit court of the Supreme Court.

“If today’s ruling were to stand, it would not go into effect until January 10, 2023 at the earliest,” Charles Scheeler said in an email. “We are focused on continuing our critical work to protect the safety and integrity of Thoroughbred racing, including the launch of HISA’s Anti-Doping and Medication Control Program on January 1, 2023.”

The ruling was criticized by Marty Irby, executive director of the Animal Wellness Action organization. “Over the course of three Congresses, the most brilliant legal minds on Capitol Hill addressed the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act’s constitutionality and ultimately decided that the Federal Trade Commission’s limited oversight was sufficient,” Irby said in an email.

Among the subjects covered by the authority’s rules and enforcement were jockey safety (including a national concussion protocol), the riding crop and how often riders can use it during a race, racetrack accreditation, and the reporting of training and veterinary records.

Animal rights groups, who supported the law, pointed to scandals in the industry involving medication and the treatment of horses.

Duncan wrote that in declaring HISA unconstitutional, “we do not question Congress’s judgment about problems in the horseracing industry. That political call falls outside our lane.”

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, hailed the ruling on Twitter, calling HISA a “federal takeover of Louisiana horse racing.”