Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Derby & Preakness...

We've had a good number of requests this year for parties revolving around the Triple Crown. That's not really surprising since so much of Maryland & Virginia's culture is steeped in the tradition of horse country. We are in fact one of the most recognized centers for equestrian & thoroughbred breeding. From the hunt country of North Baltimore to the hunt country of Middle Virginia, the metro area is host to several mainstream events, including such notables as the Gold Cup & Preakness.

At any rate, I thought I'd pass along a few notes regarding the races. Sometime later I plan to forward along my annual report of fun things to do during the spring & summer season (this year we're focusing on festivals & conventions).  I hope you enjoy & I'll look forward to seeing you sometime soon.

Some Fun Notes for the Spring Season!
From Rick of The Private Professionals…

The Triple Crown: 

The Triple Crown wasn't really created as a unified event so much as it basically evolved over time. Initially, three separate tracks each held separate races to test the most promising three-year-olds for their future potential as thoroughbred racers. 

The Belmont Stakes (oldest of the three jewels & the fourth oldest race in North America) was first run in 1867 at Jerome Park in New York. It's named in honor of August Belmont, financier & agent at the time to the Rothschild fortune. He was very influential in New York politics & was an avid proponent of horse racing. 

Later, in 1870, the first Preakness was held to commemorate a sensational dinner party for several well off tycoons. The Pimlico Race Track was built in Baltimore to host it & the first "Dinner Party Stakes" was run on opening day. A horse named Preakness won the inaugural event & hence forth the race was called The Preakness Stakes.

Then, in 1875, the first Kentucky Derby was held at the Louisville Jockey Club (later renamed Churchill Downs). However, it wasn't until 1902 when Colonel Matt Winn took over the club & brought it back from near bankruptcy that it rose to true prominence. Winn was an excellent promoter & was able to attract some of the most distinguished owners in the business. By 1920 he had established the Kentucky Derby as the most recognizable horse race in North America. Today that legacy continues as it garners over 100,000 spectators & millions more through network coverage. But

In 1919, Sir Barton was the first horse in history to win all three races: The Kentucky Derby (held the 1st Saturday in May), The Preakness (on the 3rd Saturday in May), & the Belmont (on the 2nd Saturday in June). It wasn't until the 1930's however that "The Triple Crown" was first coined by sportswriter Charles Hatton to describe the successive victories of Gallant Fox. Since that time, a countless many have tried, but only 11 have actually achieved horse racing's most coveted honor…

1919- Sir Barton
1930- Gallant Fox
1935- Omaha
1937- War Admiral
1941- Whirlaway
1943- Count Fleet
1946- Assault
1948- Citation
1973- Secretariat
1977- Seattle Slew
1978- Affirmed

Given the young age of the horses running, the short recovery time between each race, & the distance that each race carries, this all combines to make the unified event a truly difficult & rare prize to capture. 

But much like the Super Bowl or Indianapolis 500 (& true to its root of really good promotion), what takes place in mere moments carries with it a lead-up of fun & celebration that lasts for weeks. Indeed, the festivities surrounding The Triple Crown holds a depth of tradition, pomp, & downright revelry.  So ladies, break out your most fancy hat; & gentlemen, pour yourself a Mint Julep. Enjoy a grand feast in high style & invite a few of your favorite friends, for The Triple Crown is indeed a rite of spring & a tradition relative to our own region. There's just no better way to really usher in the full bloom of the season & do so with joy & excitement for all! 


A few things to consider for your Derby Party…

The Mint Julep:
The traditional drink of The Kentucky Derby (even if people in Louisville don't really drink it)…
Lightly Muddle powdered sugar & splash of water (or use simple syrup) w/ some mint.
Add Finely Crushed Ice (a must).
Pour 1 ½ shot (6ct) Fine Kentucky Bourbon.
Garnish w/ additional Mint Sprigs & serve w/ a straw.

Derby Pie:  'cause it's not a Derby party w/out Derby Pie…

3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 c. light corn syrup
1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
1 c. chopped pecans
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. vanilla
6 oz. package semi-sweet chocolate morsels
One 9-inch deep dish pie shell, unbaked

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Mix all ingredients and pour into pie shell. Bake for 10 minutes and reduce heat to 350 degrees for 35 minutes more. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. 

Bourbon Balls:  Of course!  What else?  ;-)  

1 box powdered sugar
1/4 lb. butter, melted (or a teenie bit less)
1/3 cup Bourbon Whiskey
1 cup pecans (whole)
4-5 squares chocolate
2 teaspoons paraffin

Mix sugar, butter and Bourbon together and make into balls. Chill overnight. Dip balls into melted chocolate and paraffin, adding whole pecan to the top of each candy before chocolate sets.

A few things to consider for your Preakness Party…

The Black Eyed Susan:
Named after the filly race held the day before the Preakness (even if most people have never even heard of it).
This can be made as a punch if you're serving numerous guests.

½ shot (2ct) Vodka.
½ shot (2ct) Rum.
½ shot (2ct) Triple Sec.
Finish w/ Pineapple, O.J, & a squeeze of Lime.

Shake & serve over shaved ice.
Alternatively, you can prepare ahead of time as a punch & serve over shaved or crushed ice.

Best Backfin Crab Cakes - By Char Ann Smith…
Note that this recipe placed second in the Coast Day Crab Cookoff (1997).
  • 2 pounds jumbo lump crab meat
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons parsley flakes
  • 2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons wet mustard
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 4 tablespoons salad dressing
  • Cracker crumbs
Beat eggs. Add parsley flakes, Old Bay seasoning, mustards, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Combine with crab meat and salad dressing. Shape into balls and roll in cracker crumbs. Fry briefly in oil or bake in a 375-degree oven for 20 minutes.

Gertie's Crab Cakes - From John Shields' Chesapeake Bay Crab Cookbook…
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • Dash of Tabasco sauce
  • 1 pound lump or backfin crabmeat, picked over for shells
  • ¼ cup cracker crumbs
In a blender or mixing bowl, combine the egg, mayonnaise, mustard, pepper, Old Bay, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco sauce. Mix until frothy. Place the crabmeat in a bowl, sprinkle on the cracker crumbs and pour the egg mixture over the top. Gently toss or fold the ingredients together, taking care not to break up the lumps of crabmeat.

Form the cakes by hand or with an ice cream scoop into rounded mounds about 3 inches in diameter and 1 inch thick. Do not pack the batter too firmly. The cakes should be as loose as possible, yet still hold their shape. Cakes may be sauteed, broiled or deep fried in oil heated to 375 degrees. If deep fried, drain on paper towels. Cooking time is brief, about three minutes on each side or until the cakes are nice and brown. Serves 4.

And of course, for Staffing, Bartenders, Servers, or general Private Party Assistance, The Private Professionals really do offer the very best in the DC Metro area! We're currently taking bookings for Spring & Summer so feel free to give us a call or drop us a line.  You can also check us out online at http://www.ThePrivateProfessionals.com/  

Hope to see you soon,


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