The Kentucky Derby is so much more than a horse race. It’s one of the most famed horse races in the world. The event is aptly named “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports.” Besides, it’s step one of the famed Triple Crown in horse racing. Consequently, “The Derby” draws an average of 150,000 visitors each year, including celebrities, presidents, and members of royal families. For the official Kentucky Derby website, go to Official Kentucky.
Interesting facts about “the Derby.”
- The first Kentucky Derby race occurred in 1875
- The Mint Julep is the official drink of the Kentucky Derby. It is an iced drink consisting of bourbon, mint, and sweet syrup. Churchill Downs serves it in a commemorative Kentucky Derby glass.
- The Kentucky Derby traditions are some of the longest standing racetrack traditions in the U.S. Beside Mint Juleps, and culinary favorites include eating burgoo (a meat stew). Women appear in lavish outfits with big, elegant hats. As the horses are paraded before the grandstands, The University of Louisville marching band plays Stephen Foster’s “My Old Kentucky Home.”
- This is actually a 2-week festival. The annual two-week series of events held in Louisville, beginning with Thunder Over Louisville and leading up to the Kentucky Derby.
- A horse that wins the Kentucky Derby traditionally becomes a household name, and many of the sport’s most noted champions have been adorned with the blanket of roses in the winner’s circle.
Horses and Jockeys – Beginner’s Guide to the Kentucky Derby
- In 1973, Secretariat became the fastest Derby winner in history with a time of 1:59.40, a record that still stands.
- Diane Crump became the first female jockey to ride in the Derby in 1970. She finished 15th out of 17 horses.
- In 1986, 54-year-old Bill Shoemaker became the oldest jockey to win the Derby.
Types of Kentucky Derby Bets Available
- Win – This is a bet for a single horse to win.
- Place – This is a bet for a single horse to finish first or second.
- Show – A bet the horse will place in the top three.
- Across the Board (Win, Place & Show) – This is similar to a show bet, but if your horse wins second or first, the payout is much larger.
- Exacta – This is a bet for the first and second places – in the exact order.
- Exacta Box – This is an exacta bet with 3 or more horses. But, the winners can be in any order.
- Trifecta – This bet is for the top three finishers in a specific order.
- Trifecta Box – Similar to the trifecta, except the winners can be in any order.
- Superfecta – The toughest bet with the biggest payout. It chooses the top four finishers in exact order.
- Superfecta Box – This is the same as a superfecta, except the order of the top four horses picked does not matter.
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