Omigosh, dreamy trip!! They say the Derby isn’t the race–it’s the whole week or more of festivities leading up to the event. They were like totally right!

I’m here on the fabulous Jane Dempsey’s Kentucky Derby Junket. Her family has been running Derby tours for over 60 years, and having grown up in the horsey world, she is an unending fountain of knowledge and true Derby Diva.

We are a group made up of mother-daughters, senior couples, and legendary Derby-winning jockeys and their families. WOW! I am now buddies with Dave Erb (’56 Derby Winner on Needles) and Braulio Baeza (’63 Derby Winner on Chateaugay). We happily attended their Gallop to Glory tribute at the Galt House Hotel. Visit it to check out their newly cemented hand prints!

Now naturally I was all about my HAT and getting my nails done before the Derby. So when I got into town last night, I did an Internet search and found KY Nails (502-636-5857) near to my Executive West Hotel near the airport, Churchill Downs. WHY am I not staying at a 5-star hotel? Cuz this one is super convenient, the staff is friendly, and there is a mega milliner right in the building.

The hat shop to die for is called In Bloom Again, and there is a male Diva who makes all the hats on the premises, and they have an entire goodie room of feathers and flowers, which allows them to EXACTLY MATCH your outfit!! Love it!

(Oh, and the hotel offers free Wi-Fi, and oh, free shuttles all over, and is rumored to have ragin’ Mint Juleps. Oh, and will shortly become a Crown Plaza or something soon.)

Today we had a VIP tour of the Backside of the Downs watching Derby and other horses practice. We ate breakfast at the awesomely authentic Wagner’s Track Kitchen where you grab a tray and stand in line for biscuits and grits while watching the horses fly by on the track outside. PINCH ME I’M DREAMING!

Then we hit the Galt House with our luminaries and THEN the Kentucky Derby Museum, a MUST SEE. Feel what thighs of steel jockeys have to have as you try to make it through a whole virtual race whilst assuming the position–ass off the saddle, girl! Yowch. Or check out whatever race footage you desire. And DON’T miss the show. The surround-wall movie totally rocks and inspires.

Ladies, I LOVE IT HERE!! Interesting stuff I learned? That the famous race the day before the Derby is called the OAKS, and it’s the race that the girl horses run. They call it ‘Lillies for Fillies’ cuz the winning fillie wins a cape or lillies, not roses.

Have any fillies run in the Derby? You bet your pocketbook they have. THREE have won: Regret (1915), Genuine Risk (1980) and Winning Colors (1988). This year, three cheers for EIGHT BELLES, who is giving the boy horses a run for the money — 2 million point two to be exacta! :)

The Derby is for Divas. Do come, and wish me no rain on Friday and Saturday! This is your Diva Belle saying good-bye, girls! :)