It doesn’t matter if you’re a professional jockey, an aspiring equestrian, or a horse racing bettor — the annual Kentucky Derby is for every avid horse enthusiast out there. Known as the most prestigious and most famous horse race event in the world, the Kentucky Derby is held annually in Louisville, Kentucky, typically on the first Saturday of the month of May.
Whether you’re busy debating with friends about the recent horse racing betting odds or just relaxing with your family while sipping the traditional Mint Julep, there’s no better way to kick off your own Kentucky Derby party than a perfect playlist. So handpick the songs that you like, ring up the bass and speakers, and let your friends and family bask in the exciting derby atmosphere.
To help you get started, we handpicked several songs that you can use for your Kentucky Derby party. So stop, look, listen, and take notes!
One Mint Julep – The Clovers
First recorded in 1951, The Clovers’ One Mint Julep song has been a fixture in Kentucky Derby and any horse racing event. The song is about a man who fell in love with a married woman, a relationship that started with the traditional drink Mint Julep.
My Old Kentucky Home – Johnny Cash
The inspiration for Johnny Cash’s rendition of My Old Kentucky Home is traced back to a ballad written by Stephen Foster in 1852. The song has been a popular hit, especially since it became the state song of Kentucky.
Bourbon in Kentucky – Dierks Bentley
While it’s true that Kentucky’s official state drink is Ale-8-One, the state is still more famous for its bourbon. So it’s only fitting that Dierks Bentley’s Bourbon in Kentucky song rose to prominence in 2013 and has been a staple in any Kentucky-related event.
Wild Horses – The Rolling Stones
The title itself gives you a premonition to include this song in your Kentucky Derby playlist. First released in 1971, the Wild Horses song by The Rolling Stones has also been featured in the soundtrack of many movies and television shows, including BoJack Horseman and Parks and Recreation.
Born to Run – Bruce Springsteen
The Kentucky Derby is about the race featuring strong horses “born to run”. So it’s just perfect that you include Bruce Springsteen’s famous Born to Run song in your party playlist.
Eye of the Tiger – Survivor
While this song is not strictly related to Kentucky or horse racing, Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger is always a go-to song in every competition. Its famous beat will excite everyone before the race, giving your Kentucky Derby party a much-needed boost.
The Gambler – Kenny Rogers
A song that bridges the connection between life and gambling, Kenny Rogers The Gambler song has gained popularity in the gambling community. While the lyrics are more relatable to poker players, “The Gambler” also speaks to the betting side of the Kentucky Derby.
The Race Is On – George Jones
One of the oldest songs on this list, George Jones’s The Race Is On song climbed to the third spot on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart in 1965. This song speaks to the metaphoric connection between horse racing and the affairs of the heart.
Kentucky Woman – Neil Diamond
Probably a song that you can listen to after the race, Neil Diamond’s Kentucky Woman is a perfect finale for your Kentucky Derby party playlist. While the song lyrics are primarily about complimenting the unique characteristics of a “Kentucky woman”, its mellow, happy beat can undoubtedly help you and your companions settle in and relax after going through a thrilling Kentucky Derby race.