9 Interesting Facts of the Kentucky Derby


Posted: April 29, 2015

Updated: October 6, 2017

Even the oldest Triple Crown event has some things that only a few knew about.

The first Kentucky Derby was held in 1875. It is one of the most prestigious and oldest races around the world. The unspoken traditional values of the competition play a huge role in keeping the sport’s popularity.

• The Derby is the oldest of all Triple Crown events
• The 141st race will take place at May 2
• Fastest win was 1:59:40

This year’s Derby will take place at Churchill Downs in Louisville on Saturday, May 2. This is the 141st time elite horses can compete for the trophy of the extraordinary race. The grandiose event is often called the “Fastest Two Minutes of the Sport” or “The Run for the Roses”. Although it is a very popular event there is still plenty for everyone to learn about it.

Kentucky Derby is the only Triple Crown race that has never stopped since the first event

Other Tripe Crowns like The Preakness Stakes that has had a small break between 1891 and 1893, all have their holes. For instance the Belmont Stakes annually held in Massachusetts bordering state New York, had to stop running for a year between 1911-12 due to sudden change of US gambling laws in the state. An anti-gambling legislation was put in motion banning all horseraces and other gambling related activities.

The horse with the lowest handicap who has ever won was Donerail

One of the largest surprises in the history of the race happened at the 39th running of the Derby in 1913. The odds were 91/1 which means that a $2 wager would profit $184.90. I bet you wish you had been alive or had a sportsbetting fan as a great grandfather.

The true founder of the Derby was Meriwether Lewis Clark Jr.

Meriwether Lewis Clark Jr. came up with the idea to start a Louisville Jockey Club after he had returned from travelling around the United Kingdom. Whilst the European horseracing scene was wide-spread and well organized, the American one was just about to be born. Churchill Downs was built to house the club’s races. The track opening ceremony was in 1875. One of the first year’s four races was the Kentucky Derby itself.

Secretariat holds the fastest time since 1973

The extraordinary talent ran a time of 1:59:40, which is still the only result under two minutes in the race’s history. In 2001 a legendary horse Monarchos came close to break the record but in the end he didn’t succeed.

The Derby has an official drink called The Mint Julep

Anyone who has ever been to the Kentucky Derby knows about this mysterious mixed spirit. Kentucky is world famous for its bourbon so it is only natural that it has to be the spirit of such a patriotic race. Since 1938 the fine bourbon mixed with mint is the official drink of the Derby. Over 120,000 mint juleps are sold per year, gambling news reported.

The youngest rider was only 15 years old

Alonso Clayton was an African American boy from Kansas City, Missouri. He is considered perhaps the most talented young jockey of his century. In 1892 he had won the Kentucky Derby at age of 15, being the youngest ever winner in the competition. Sadly his career ended early due to the rise of racism at the time.

There is such a thing as the record for the slowest winning time

Kingman is the horse that holds the title of the slowest winner of the fastest race in America. As ironic as it sounds the winner of the “Fastest Two Minutes in Sports” in 1912 ran a time that was closer to three. With a time of 2:52:25 he was about a minute slower than other winner of the race.

Most money ever won was $133.1 million

Just recently in 2012, $133.1 million was the highest ever reward won in the history of the Derby. Many who enjoy to bet on sports in the US choose to place bets on this prestigious event, but most of them only dream of such an astonishing win. The record crowd of 165,307 people had seen an amazing battle. The favorite Bodemeister was beaten by 12/1 shot I’ll Have Another.

Highest number of wins by one jockey is 5

Eddie Arcaro and Bill Hartack have both earned a place in the heart of all American horserace fans by winning the Kentucky Derby five times each. Their wins followed each other almost in a row as Arcaro had his between 1938 and 1953, five years prior to Hartack’s first in 1957.

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