Off to the races: Vancouver's Deighton Cup returns for ninth year with expanded two-day event

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      Deighton Cup, Vancouver’s answer to the Kentucky Derby, is returning to the racetracks this July—this time, with an expanded two days of festivities.

      The ninth annual event, which will see eight horse races happening throughout the day at Hastings Racecourse (188 North Renfrew Street), takes place on July 22 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nearly 5,000 people—dressed to the nines in their smartest hats and fascinators—are expected to attend, where they can bet on their preferred ponies, participate in an oyster-shucking competition, and vie for the title of “best dressed”. Live entertainment and an art installation from the Vancouver Biennale will also be onsite.

      Like previous iterations, the Deighton Cup will feature its signature Cocktail Jockey Mixology Competition, though this year, it will take place at the Rosewood Hotel Georgia’s Reflections (801 West Georgia Street) rather than the Hastings Racecourse’s Grandstand Skybox Patio. Happening a day ahead of the races on July 21, from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., the fifth annual contest will task 10 of the province’s best bartenders with shaking up a Champagne cocktail, which uses sugar, Angosturra bitters, brandy, and yes, bubbly.

      The Deighton Cup Cocktail Jockey Mixology Competition takes place at an enlarged venue, the Rosewood Hotel Georgia's rooftop bar, Reflections, this year.
      Benjamin Czegeny

      The completed drinks will be judged by a group of industry experts, including Prohibition’s head bartender, Robyn Gray, and Sean McGuigan, barman at the Fairmont Pacific Rim’s Lobby Lounge. The winning mixologist will be awarded a $1,000 cash prize. A $250 cash prize will also go to the speed-pour winner.

      Tickets to the Deighton Cup are $75 each and include viewings of the derby races, which kicks off at 1:30 p.m.; a catered lunch provided by some of Vancouver’s top chefs; access to interactive leisure sports, a picnic area, and a cigar lounge; and live music. They’re available online.

      Partial proceeds will benefit Variety Children’s Charity and imagine1day, a locally based nonprofit that aims to provide children in Ethiopia with access to education and foreign aid.

      Admission to the fifth annual Deighton Cup Cocktail Jockey Mixology Competition, meanwhile, is free. However, RSVP to the event is required online as space is limited.

      The Deighton Cup is organized by Droski Marketing and the Social Concierge, the latter of which also puts on events like Vancouver’s Diner en Blanc and Harvest Haus. The Deighton Cup Cocktail Jockey Mixology Competition is managed by Alex Black, head bartender at Nightingale.