The Epsom Derby
The term "derby" is used in many horse races throughout the world such as the Australian Derby, the Kentucky Derby, and the Irish Derby, to name a few. The original Derby, and essentially the influence for many similarly named races, is the Epsom Derby. In Britain, it is known simply as "The Derby" and is the most esteemed race on the horse racing calendar. It's also the richest with a prize pool of well over £1 million.
The Epsom Derby is held in early June every year at the Epsom Downs racecourse in England. It's run over a distance of 1 mile, 10 furlongs, and 10 yards, which is 2,432 meters. It's open to three-year-old Thoroughbred colts and fillies (geldings are excluded) and is a Group 1 flat race run on turf. The winner of the race is awarded of £750,000 in prize money, with further prize money for other high-placing finishers. It is regarded as the biggest race in Great Britain.
History of the Epsom Derby
The Epsom Derby has a long history and is well over 200 years old. It's not, however, the oldest race held at the Epsom Racecourse. This honor goes to the Oaks Stakes, a fillies-only race and the first recorded in 1779 organized by the Earl of Derby (Edward Stanley). The Oaks Stakes is still held today, although it's now known as the Epsom Oaks. After the first race took place, the Earl of Derby held a party to celebrate; and it was at this time that a new race for both colts and fillies was discussed.
It's said that the idea was formed by Sir Charles Bunbury, Steward of the Jockey Club at the time and the Earl of Derby. Apparently they tossed a coin to decide which of them the race should be named after. Some say that out of respect for his host, Bunbury suggested the race should be named after the Earl. Whichever account is true, it was named the Epsom Derby, and the inaugural race took place the following year in 1780. By coincidence, the winning horse (Diomed) was a horse owned by Sir Charles Bunbury.
The race was originally run on a Thursday over 1 mile. The distance was changed to its current length in 1784, and the day was changed to a Wednesday in 1838. The exact scheduling of the date was dependent on Easter; but in 1900, it was fixed to occur on the first Wednesday in June each year. This remained the case until 1995, except during the two World Wars and a few occasional years when it was run on other days. In 1995, it was decided the race should be moved to the first Saturday in June, and this has been the case ever since.
The British Classics & the Triple Crown
The Epsom Derby is one of the five British Classics: a collection of important flat races for three-year- old Thoroughbreds. The other four races in this group are the 2,000 Guineas Stakes, the 1,000 Guineas Stakes, the Epsom Oaks, and St. Leger Stakes. No horse has ever won all five of these races, although two have won four of them. The Epsom Derby is also part of the UK Triple Crown which also includes the afore-mentioned 2,000 Guineas stakes and the St. Leger Stakes.
Betting on the 2017 Epsom Derby
The Epsom Derby is a very popular race among horse racing bettors, not just in Britain but also around the world. It's a hard race to judge as not always the favorite wins. At some point before the 2017 Epsom Derby, we'll add a betting preview to this page and offer advice on the contenders. If you are looking for a place to bet on the 2017 Epsom Derby, we suggest taking a look at our recommended gambling sites here on www.gamblingsites.org.
Author: Brad Johnson
Updated: January 2017
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