America has described the Kentucky Derby as “the most exciting two minutes in sports”. It is certainly one of America’s best known horse race, and also one of the most prestigious horse races in the world.
The Kentucky Derby takes place on the first Saturday in May each year, and generally draws a crowd in excess of 155,000 spectators. The race is a Grade 1 stakes race for three year old Thoroughbreds. Colts and geldings in the race carry 57kg, and fillies carry 55 kg. The Kentucky Derby is run over two kilometres on the dirt racetrack at Churchill Downs, Louisville, Kentucky. This race is the first horse race within the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing, and is followed by the Preakness Stakes race, and then the Belmont Stakes race. A horse that manages to win all three of those races will be crowned with the Triple Crown.
A Large Field of Horses
Twenty horses compete in the Kentucky Derby, which is a much larger field than most horse races in America. Usually there are eight horses in a race. The horses that race in the Kentucky Derby first have to run in thirty five races that take place at race tracks across the country. Points are awarded to the top four horses in each of those thirty five races, and the twenty horses with the most points earn a place in the starting gate in the Kentucky Derby. The winning purse in this race is two million dollars and there is a wealth of favorable odds at horse betting sites for those in the know to make a quick buck or thousand.
The Fastest Winning Time
The Kentucky Derby originated in 1875, and has been run every consecutive year since. The idea was brought to America by an American Colonel Clark, who made a visit to England and was inspired by the Derby there, a horse race that has been running annually since 1780. When he returned to America a racecourse was established in the historic Churchill Downs, on land donated by the Churchill family who lived in the heart of America’s horse breeding country.
The fastest time ever run in the Kentucky Derby was set in 1973 by the horse Secretariat in just under two minutes. This record has not been broken in forty one years, although several horses have come close. The 2016 Kentucky Derby was won by Nyquist in a time just over two minutes.
Kentucky Derby Traditions
There is a tradition in all the Triple Crown races, of the winning horse being draped with a garland of flowers. In the Kentucky Derby, the lush blanket is made up of over four hundred red roses sewn into a green satin backing. This practice began in 1896, when the rose became the official flower of the Kentucky Derby, and the Governor of Kentucky gave the first garland to the winning horse.
Another tradition of the Kentucky Derby is the serving of the Derby Drink, which is a mint julep. This is made with bourbon, mint and sugar syrup, served in an ice frosted cup. Burgoo, a thick stew, is also a traditional dish served at the Derby.
Horse races are some of the sports events which attract the highest number of people placing bets. Millions of people follow coverage of horse races on television and it reaches new heights during the Kentucky Derby. Online betting on horse races is a huge part of the sports books of any online casino. Horse races appeal to huge crowds of fans, and they become even more exciting when there is a financial interest in the result of the race.