LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Despite damp grounds, the Kentucky Derby party started early on the infield at Churchill Downs. Bourbon and bets were flowing by 10 a.m., and at least one bachelorette party wound into form.
Laura Snyder, a 26-year-old bride-to-be from Cleveland, and five bridesmaids bedecked in blue t-shirts identifying their roles in the wedding set out Saturday morning to pitch a tent and pick horses. Snyder says she set out to "have a blast" at her first Kentucky Derby.
A still-sluggish economy meant that 43-year-old Joe Ochsner of St. Louis made cheaper lodging plans with friends. Instead of a hotel, the group of four pitched in $175 each to stay in an RV.
Ochsner even planned to bet $3,000 on Bodemeister in the 138th Run for the Roses.