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Kentucky Derby Season: The Significance of the Race's Iconic Blooms

Updated: Apr 20, 2023

As the Kentucky Derby approaches, many people begin to think about the iconic flowers that are a part of the event's rich history. While horses are the main attraction for most people, we love the beauty and symbolism of those sweet lilies and roses.

Here's some history about these stunning blooms!


Roses

In 1883, the rose became the official flower of the Kentucky Derby when a bouquet of red roses was presented to the winning jockey. The red rose was chosen as the official flower because of its association with love, passion, and appreciation.


Today, the Kentucky Derby is often referred to as the "Run for the Roses" because the winning horse is draped in a garland of 554 red roses.


Lilies

The stargazer lily has been the official flower of the Kentucky Oaks since 1991, when the Kroger Co. was asked to craft a feminine garland for the winning filly in the Derby’s sister race. The stargazer lily was picked to represent femininity and strength and Lite Light became the first filly to receive the garland of lilies after she trounced the field in the 117th Kentucky Oaks.


At Petals, we love the symbolism of flowers and the many different things they can represent. Whether you're hosting a Derby party, bringing a hostess gift, or just picking out a nice treat for yourself, our Grab and Go floral arrangements are always a winning pick!



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