Overview of The Kentucky Derby

Kentucky Derby Finish Line

The Kentucky Derby is one of the most famous horse races, not just in the United States but in the entire world. It's one of three races that form the US Triple Crown of Thoroughbred racing, along with the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes. The Kentucky Derby is known in America as "the most exciting two minutes in sports" in reference to the approximate duration of the race.

Race Details

The Kentucky Derby is run at Churchill Downs, located in Louisville, Kentucky. It's a Grade I Stakes race run on a dirt surface over one and a quarter miles (10 furlongs, 2 kilometers). The race is open to three- year-old Thoroughbreds, both colts and fillies, and has a purse of around $2 million. The Kentucky Derby takes place every year on the first Saturday in May, and is part of two-week long Kentucky Derby Festival. It's the first race of the three that make up the US Triple Crown, and it's the most attended race in North America.

History of the Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby was first run on May 17th, 1875. The race was inspired by the Epsom Derby and was originally over the same distance of one and a half miles. It was changed to its current distance of one and a quarter miles in 1896. The first race was won by a colt called Aristides, ridden by Oliver Lewis. The race proved to be a success, but the racecourse experienced a number of financial difficulties which weren't fully resolved until the early 20th century. Since then, it has become the most prominent stakes race in the United States. Some important dates in the history of the Kentucky Derby are:

  • 1904 - The first Kentucky Derby winner owned by a woman (Elwood).
  • 1915 - The first filly to win the race (Regret). Only two other fillies have won the race since.
  • 1917 - The first winner bred overseas (Omar Khayyam).
  • 1926 - The race was broadcast live on radio for the first time.
  • 1952 - The race was shown on national television for the first time.
  • 1954 - The prize pool went over $100,000.
  • 1970 - The first female jockey to ride in the Kentucky Derby was Diana Crump.
  • 1973 - The current record time was set by Secretariat.
  • 2004 - Jockeys in the Kentucky Derby wore advertising for the first time.
  • 2005 - Fifth place received a share of the prize pool; previously only the top four got paid.

There are a number of traditions associated with the Kentucky Derby. Most notable is the blanket of roses awarded to the winner of the race each year by the Governor of Kentucky, along with the trophy. This is why the Kentucky Derby is often referred to as "The Run for The Roses." Another is the long- standing tradition of the University of Louisville Marching Band playing My Old Kentucky Home as the horses are paraded before the start of the race.

Betting on the 2016 Kentucky Derby

As with most major horse races, betting on the Kentucky Derby is incredibly popular. You can bet on it at most online betting sites. Nearer the time of the 2016 Kentucky Derby, we'll provide a short betting preview of the race right here, so please bookmark this page and come back.

Recent Winners

The last 10 winners of the Kentucky Derby are as follows:

  • 2016 - Nyquist. Ridden by Mario Gutierezz and trained by Doug O'Neill.
  • 2015 - American Pharoah. Ridden by Victor Espinoza and trained by Bob Baffert.
  • 2014 - California Chrome. Ridden by Victor Espinoza and trained by Art Sherman.
  • 2013 - Orb. Ridden by Joel Rosario and trained by Claude McGaughey III.
  • 2012 - I'll Have Another. Ridden by Mario Guiterrez and trained by Doug O'Neill.
  • 2011 - Animal Kingdom. Ridden by John Velazquez and trained by Graham Motion.
  • 2010 - Super Saver. Ridden by Calvin Borel and trained by Todd Pletcher.
  • 2009 - Mine That Bird. Ridden by Cavin Borel and trained by Bennie Woolley.
  • 2008 - Big Brown. Ridden by Kent Desormeaux and trained by Richard Dutrow.
  • 2007 - Street Sense. Ridden by Calvin Borel and trained by Carl Nafzger.
  • 2006 - Barbaro. Ridden by Edgar Prado and trained by Michael Matz.
  • 2005 - Giacomo. Ridden by Mike Smith and trained by John Shirreffs.
  • 2004 - Smarty Jones. Ridden by Stewart Elliot and trained by John Servis.
  • 2003 - Funny Cide. Ridden by Jose Santos and trained by Barclay Tagg.

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