Everything you needed to know about the Kentucky Derby. Well almost everything. I can’t tell you who’s going to win. I do like Justify, but I’m also a sucker for the long shot Firenze Fire and I love My Boy Jack. Anyway, The Kentucky Derby has been raced since 1875 so I’m just going to go down the list and hope you don’t poop out before the finish line. Let’s first start with some pertinent information about the race itself.
The Kentucky Derby, is a top rank, Grade I stakes race for 3 year old Thoroughbred horses. The race distance is one and one-quarter miles long, and it is run on the dirt racetrack at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. Colts and geldings in the race carry 126 pounds (57 kg), and fillies in the race carry 121 pounds (55 kg).
20 horses compete in the Kentucky Derby, which is a larger field size than most horse races; where on average 8 horses race against one another. The 20 horses racing in the Kentucky Derby must first travel along the Road to the Kentucky Derby, which is a series of 35 races taking place at tracks across the country and the world. Points are awarded to the top 4 horses that finish in each of those 35 races, and the 20 horses with the most points earn a spot in the starting gate in the Kentucky Derby race. The Kentucky Derby winning purse is $2 million.
The Kentucky Derby takes place on the first Saturday in May every year, and typically draws a crowd of 155,000 people. It is the longest continually held sporting event in America, and it is one of the most prestigious horse races in the world. Often called “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports”, the Kentucky Derby receives this nickname from the approximate length of time it takes the winner to run from the starting gate to the finish line. The Kentucky Derby is the first race within the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing, where it is followed by the Preakness Stakes race and the Belmont Stakes race.
The first garland of roses wasn’t red, it was pink and white and was delivered in 1896. It wasn’t until
Each year, a garland of more than 400 red roses is sewn into a green satin backing with the seal of the Commonwealth on one end and the Twin Spires and number of the race’s current renewal on the other. Each garland is also adorned with a “crown” of roses, green fern and ribbon. The “crown,” a single rose pointing upward in the center of the garland, symbolizes the struggle and heart necessary to reach the Derby Winner’s Circle. The Kroger Company has been crafting the garland for the Kentucky Derby since 1987. After taking over the duties from the Kingsley Walker florist, Kroger began constructing the prestigious garland in one of its local stores for the public to view on Derby Eve.
A bit of tradition and part spectacle, the Kentucky Derby hat parade is much of what makes “The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports” one of the greatest people-watching events in the world!
The long-established trend was started with Col. Meriwether Lewis Clark Jr.’s vision for the Derby as an event that the high-class would attend, similar to European-style racing events, which mandated full morning dress for men and women. The extravagant hats that have become associated with the Kentucky Derby did not really come around until the 1960s, when social fashion norms loosened up and the hats became larger, brighter, and more extravagant.
The Mint Julep has been the traditional beverage of Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby for nearly a century.
Each year, almost 120,000 Mint Juleps are served over the two-day period of Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby weekend at Churchill Downs Racetrack. That’s a feat that requires more than 10,000 bottles of Old Forester Mint Julep Ready-to-Serve Cocktail, 1,000 pounds of freshly harvested mint and 60,000 pounds of ice.
Since 1975 the trophy has been created by New England Sterling located in North Attleboro, MA. The trophy, which is topped by an 18-karat gold horse and rider, includes horseshoe shaped handles, is 22 inches tall and weighs 56 ounces, excluding its jade base. The entire trophy is handcrafted with the exception of the horse and rider that are both cast from a mold.
To complete the trophy by April, craftsmen begin the process during the fall of the previous year and literally work hundreds of hours. The trophy is believed to be the only solid gold trophy that is annually awarded to the winner of a major American sporting event.
The Winners of the last 10 years
|2017||Always Dreaming||John R. Velazquez||Todd Pletcher||Brooklyn Boyz Stables||2:03.59|
|2016||Nyquist||Mario Gutierrez||Doug F. O’Neill||Reddam Racing LLC||2:01:31|
|2015||American Pharoah *||Victor Espinoza||Bob Baffert||Ahmed Zayat||2:03.02|
|2014||California Chrome||Victor Espinoza||Art Sherman||Steve and Carolyn Coburn & Perry and Denise Martin||2:03.66|
|2013||Orb||Joel Rosario||Claude R. “Shug” McGaughey III||Stuart Janney III & Phipps Stable (Ogden Mills “Dinny” Phipps)||2:02.89|
|2012||I’ll Have Another||Mario Gutierrez||Doug O’Neill||J. Paul Reddam||2:01.83|
|2011||Animal Kingdom||John Velazquez||H. Graham Motion||Team Valor International||2:02.04|
|2010||Super Saver||Calvin Borel||Todd Pletcher||WinStar Farm LLC.||2:04.45|
|2009||Mine That Bird||Calvin Borel||Bennie Woolley Jr.||Double Eagle Ranch & Bueno Suerte Equine||2:02.66|
|2008||Big Brown||Kent Desormeaux||Richard Dutrow, Jr.||IEAH Stable (Michael Iavarone) and Paul P. Pompa Jr.||2:01.82|
|2007||Street Sense||Calvin Borel||Carl Nafzger||James B. Tafel||2:02.17|
We went ahead and added the current odds from NYtimes so you can choose your winner. You can bet at the official Kentucky Derby betting site twinspires link below
1. Firenze Fire
Trainer: Jason Servis Jockey: Paco Lopez Odds: 50-1
2. Free Drop Billy
Trainer: Dale Romans Jockey: Robby Albarado Odds: 30-1
3. Promises Fulfilled
Trainer: Dale Romans Jockey: Corey Lanerie Odds: 30-1
Trainer: Mark Casse Jockey: Jose Lezcano Odds: 30-1
Trainer: Todd Pletcher Jockey: Javier Castellano Odds: 8-1
6. Good Magic
Trainer: Chad Brown Jockey: Jose Ortiz Odds: 12-1
Trainer: Bob Baffert Jockey: Mike Smith Odds: 3-1
8. Lone Sailor
Trainer: Tom Amoss Jockey: James Graham Odds: 50-1
Trainer: Bill Mott Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr. Odds: 20-1
10. My Boy Jack
Trainer: Keith Desormeaux Jockey: Kent Desormeaux Odds: 20-1
11. Bolt d’Oro
Trainer: Mick Ruiz Jockey: Victor Espinoza Odds: 8-1
Trainer: Kieran McLaughlin Jockey: Junior Alvarado Odds: 30-1
Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas Jockey: Luis Contreras Odds: 50-1
Trainer: Aidan O’Brien Jockey: Ryan Moore Odds: 5-1
15. Instilled Regard
Trainer: Jerry Hollendorfer Jockey: Drayden Van Dyke Odds: 50-1
16. Magnum Moon
Trainer: Todd Pletcher Jockey: Luis Saez Odds: 6-1
Trainer: Bob Baffert Jockey: Flavien Prat Odds: 30-1
18. Vino Rosso
Trainer: Todd Pletcher Jockey: John Velazquez Odds: 12-1
19. Noble Indy
Trainer: Todd Pletcher Jockey: Florent Geroux Odds: 30-1
Trainer: Steve Asmussen Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr. Odds: 50-1
IMAGES COURTESY OF THE KENTUCKY DERBY