25 Things You Didn’t Know About Kentucky Derby!

You think you know, but you have no idea about the Kentucky Derby.

Kentucky Derby
FACEBOOK Kentucky Derby

Held annually in Louisville, the Kentucky Derby is the most famous horse race in the United States. It combines fashion, style, history, and of course, a lot of betting.

25. Gold Rush! The two foot tall Kentucky Derby trophy is made of 56 ounces of gold.

24. The first ever Kentucky Derby was ran in 2 minutes and 27 seconds.

23. Girl rising: Diane Crump became the first woman to ride in the Kentucky Derby in 1969.

22. “My Old Kentucky Home” is the song played since 1936. The University of Louisville Marching Band plays the song when the horse are led onto the field.

21. The Garland of Roses presented to the winner is shipped to Danville, Kentucky to be freeze-dried every year since 1996. Some owners tend to save a rose to dip in silver for preservation.

20. Let’s turn back time! The very first race was on May 17, 1875 and was won by a horse named Bonaventure.

19. Go colts! In 1896, the Derby was shortened because they believed the distance was too long for 3 year-old colts to run in the spring.

18. Secretariat was the horse that ran the fastest Kentucky Derby back in 1973. Secretariat ran the 1¼ miles in 1 minute and 59 seconds.

17. Former slaves: In two of the first three Derbys, the winning trainers were former slaves. Their names were Ansel Williamson (horse: Aristides, 1875) and Ed Brown (horse: Baden-Baden, 1877).

16. Churchill Downs is the place where the Derby is ran. Covering 147 acres, it is among the most famous sporting venues in the world and seats over 165,000 people.

15. Northern Wolf was the horse placing sixth in 1989, trained by former major league player Hank Allen.

Kentucky Derby
FACEBOOK Kentucky Derby

14. Triple Crown! In 1919, Sir Barton became the first Triple Crown winner of the Kentucky Derby. He was winless before he took the Run for the Roses.

13. Minty fresh! The traditional drink of the Kentucky Derby is the Mint Julep and it consists of bourbon, sugar syrup and mint. It is served in a souvenir glass with any of the previous winners printed on the cup. It is wildly overpriced at $8 a drink.

12. Hey stud! A Derby triumph guarantees a large stud fee.

11. Rum for the Roses is the Kentucky Derby’s nickname due to the blanket of 554 red roses traditionally awarded to the winner.The phrase was coined by New York sports columnist, and later president of Churchill Downs, Bill Corum.

10. It’s a date…Ever since 1946, the Kentucky Derby has been run on the first Saturday of May.

Kentucky Derby
Image by Booth Kates from Pixabay

9. Gene pool! 12 Kentucky Derby winning horses have parented other Derby winners. One horse, Bold Venture, actually parented two.

8. The horseshoe atop the Derby was originally faced down but in 1924 was turned 180 degrees to face upwards.

7. Slowpoke! The slowest Kentucky Derby ever ran was in 1908  by a horse named Stone Street who ran it at 2:15.20.

6. TV stardom: 1952 was the first year the Derby was nationally televised. It was on May 3 on a CBS affiliate.

5. Celeb watch! Celebrities that have owned horses that have run in the Derby include Steven Speilberg, George Steinbrenner and Burt Bacharach.

Kentucky Derby
FACEBOOK Kentucky Derby

4. The Kentucky Derby is the longest continuous sporting event in the United States.

3. Silky smooth: In order to distinguish between jockeys and horses, racing silks were adopted.

2. Strike the Gold, age 23, is the oldest living winner. He now stands at stud in Izmit, Turkey. The second oldest horse, Sea Hero at 21,  also resides in Izmit.

1. Crazy hats! Part Southern tradition, part spectacle, the hat parade is much of what makes “The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports” one of the greatest people-watching events in the world! From the fantastic to the sublime, there are no rules or limits when it comes to choosing your Derby hat.

Article written by Iris Agrafiotis.

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