According to Oaklawn’s glossary of horse racing terms, the “Holy Ghost” is a betting strategy that relies on the fact that good things come in threes. So, if a certain jockey or trainer wins twice, chances are they’ll win again — or, if a horse wins both the Rebel Stakes and the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn, they’re more than likely to take the title at the Kentucky Derby, as well.
The Holy Ghost blessed Smarty Jones in 2004, winning him all three races and winning his owners a $5 million cash bonus on top of their winners’ purses. In 2015, the Holy Ghost did American Pharoah one better, getting him not just the Kentucky title, but the whole hallowed Triple Crown. So, Derby Day is the time to put on your church clothes, foray out to the race track, and place your bets on just how exactly the spirit will move.
There’ll be plenty of entertainment for the nonbelievers, too. If you’re not watching the horses, you can see and be seen in the fashionable crowd underneath the dogwood trees in Oaklawn’s infield, where beer and corned beef sandwiches abound. General admission is free, but seat reservations can be purchased starting at $4.50, if you feel so called.