How to host a horse racing party

Written by julie boehlke
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When it's that time of the year when the horses are all geared up for the derby, many people enjoy going to the races or even watching the race on television. Hosting a horse racing party is a great way to bring together family and friends and share a themed meal followed by watching the race.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Television
  • 2 dozen fresh red roses (silk will work fine also) in silver vases
  • Western-themed decor: saddles, horseshoes and rope trim
  • Race-themed accents such as trophies, blue ribbons
  • Silver tableware (per number of guests)
  • Votive candles and holders
  • Glass cocktail glasses
  • Napkins
  • Tea sandwiches
  • Butter knife
  • Shrimp cocktails and cocktail sauce
  • Your choice of beverages–alcoholic or nonalcoholic
  • Red and white checkered tablecloths
  • Racing forms, betting cards and pencils (per number of guests)
  • Stereo and assorted jazz CDs

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  1. 1

    Plan your guest list a month in advance before the horse race. Invite friends to dress up in stylish attire as if they were attending a real horse derby race. Encourage each guest to bring one horse-themed gift for the bet. Send out the invitations.

  2. 2

    Order it least two dozen red roses two weeks before the party. If you can not afford fresh roses, buy silk flowers at the craft store.

  3. 3

    Set up the tables the day of the party. Have red and white tablecloths underneath your silver table settings. Adorn each table with a silver vase of red roses. Highlight the table with candles in votive holders; place throughout. Have blue ribbons next to each place setting. Place race forms and betting cards and pencils near each place setting. Run rope along the top of the table to create a western look.

  4. 4

    Set up the buffet table. Lay down a red and white checkered tablecloth. Set out the tea sandwiches, shrimp cocktails and other snacks you will be serving at the party. Serve your choice of beverages to guests. Use horse-themed accents to decorate the buffet area such as saddles, horse statues, ribbons and trophies.

  5. 5

    Play subtle music in the background such as piano or soft jazz.

  6. 6

    Encourage guests as they arrive to find their seat and mingle among other guests. Serve mint juleps or nonalcoholic beverages of your choice. Allow guests to help themselves to the buffet table to eat and then go back to their seats and place their bets for the race.

  7. 7

    Watch the derby on television and continue to serve drinks and appetizers to the guests.

  8. 8

    Collect the bets and announce which guest or guests won the prizes. Reward the guests with the prizes.

  1. 1

    Prepare the sandwiches by laying your choice of bread down on a work surface.

  2. 2

    Apply your choice of meat or sauce to one side of the bread.

  3. 3

    Add another piece of bread to the top to form a sandwich.

  4. 4

    Cut the sandwiches into small triangles or squares. Remove the crusts.

  5. 5

    Serve to guests.

Tips and warnings

  • Provide a money pool to cash out the winning bet if you choose to do so.
  • Serve mint juleps as an alcoholic drink at your party for variation.

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