Get Your Mint Julep On, LA

Where will you wear your big derby hat?

How do you know when you've become a beloved annual event?

Well, there are many factors, but here are three we'd like to put forth. One? It takes just over two minutes for you to reach completion, and yet the preparation and run-up requires several months. Two? There's a famous beverage involved. And three? The dress code -- in this case, a fancy hat -- instantly signifies the event.

Not many happenings have that cachet, but then there's only one Kentucky Derby. And as Churchill Downs gears up again, SoCalers a bit far from the Bluegrass State look for places where they may don their frilly chapeaux.

Suggestion one? The Los Angeles Athletic Club, which is once again throwing its splashy Derby 'do on Saturday, May 5. "Kentucky-inspired specialty cocktails and food" are on the "Hold Your Horses" menu, as well as a live feed from the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby. Admission is $35. And, oh, yes -- there's a hat contest. You bet your britches.

Not to be outdone, or outhatted, Freddy Smalls Bar + Kitchen on Pico'll also be going the Best Hat and Best Dressed route. If you think you'll have something minty and frosty in your paw while you're strutting about in your fancy duds, you're right; juleps will be served, along with fried chicken sandwiches.

And while racing has wrapped at Santa Anita the park's Front Runner is doing up a Triple Crown Buffet for all three of the big races ahead. And Hollywood Park? It's open for action and will be Derby-focused on May 5. Giddy up!

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