|Grade 1 race|
The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports
Louisville, Kentucky, USA
|Distance||1¼ miles (10 furlongs)|
Colt/Gelding: 126 lbs (57.2 kg)
Filly: 121 lbs. (54.9 kg)
The Kentucky Derby is a Grade I stakes race for three-year-old Thoroughbred horses, held annually in Louisville, Kentucky, United States on the first Saturday in May, capping the two-week-long Kentucky Derby Festival. The race is one and a quarter miles (2 km) at Churchill Downs. Colts and geldings carry 126 pounds (57.2 kg) and fillies 121 pounds (54.9 kg). The race is known in the United States as "The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports" or "The Fastest Two Minutes in Sports" for its approximate duration, and is also called "The Run for the Roses" for the blanket of roses draped over the winner. It is the first leg of the United States Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing and is followed by the Preakness Stakes then the Belmont Stakes. The attendance at the Kentucky Derby ranks first in North America and usually surpasses the attendance of all other stakes races including the Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes and the Breeders' Cup. For more information, see American Thoroughbred Racing top Attended Events.
The Kentucky Derby is one of the USA's oldest Thoroughbred horse races (the Phoenix Stakes being the oldest, first run in 1831). From the time the region was settled, the fields of the Bluegrass region were noted for producing superior racehorses. In 1872, Col. Meriwether Lewis Clark, Jr., grandson of William Clark of the Lewis and Clark expedition, traveled to England, visiting the Epsom Derby, a famous race that had been running annually since 1780. From there, Clark went on to Paris, France, where in 1863, a group of racing enthusiasts had formed the French Jockey Club and had organized the Grand Prix de Paris, which at the time was the greatest race in France.
Returning home to Kentucky, Clark organized the Louisville Jockey Club for the purpose of raising money to build quality racing facilities just outside of the city. The track would soon become known as Churchill Downs, named for Meriwether Lewis Clark Jr.'s relatives, John and Henry Churchill, who had provided the land for the racetrack. Officially, the racetrack was incorporated as Churchill Downs in 1937.
The Kentucky Derby was first run at 1½ miles (2.4 km), the same distance as the Epsom Derby and the Grand Prix de Paris. In 1896, the distance was changed to its current 1¼ miles (2 km). On May 17, 1875, in front of an estimated crowd of 10,000 people, a field of 15 three-year-old horses contested the first Derby. Under jockey Oliver Lewis, a colt named Aristides, who was trained by future Hall of Famer, Ansel Williamson, won the inaugural Derby. Later that year, Lewis rode Aristides to a second-place finish in the Belmont Stakes.
Although the first race meet proved a success, the track ran into financial difficulties and in 1894 the New Louisville Jockey Club was incorporated with new capitalization and improved facilities. Despite this, the business floundered until 1902 when Col. Matt Winn of Louisville put together a syndicate of businessmen to acquire the facility. Under Winn, Churchill Downs prospered and the Kentucky Derby then became the preeminent stakes race for three year old thoroughbred horses in the North America.
Between 1875 and 1902, African-American jockeys won 15 of the 28 runnings of the Kentucky Derby. On May 11, 1892, African-American jockey Alonzo "Lonnie" Clayton, age 15, became the youngest rider to win the Derby. The 1904 race was won by Elwood, the first Derby starter and winner owned by a woman, Laska Durnell. In 1915, Regret became the first filly to win the Kentucky Derby (of only three in the history of the race), and in 1917, the English bred colt "Omar Khayyam" became the first foreign-bred horse to win the race.
Derby participants are limited to three-year-old horses. No horse since Apollo in 1882 has won the Derby without racing at age two.
Thoroughbred owners began sending their successful Derby horses to compete a few weeks later in the Preakness Stakes at the Pimlico Race Course, in Baltimore, Maryland, followed by the Belmont Stakes in Elmont, New York. The three races offered the largest purse and in 1919 Sir Barton became the first horse to win all three races. However, the term Triple Crown didn't come into use for another eleven years. In 1930, when Gallant Fox became the second horse to win all three races, sportswriter Charles Hatton brought the phrase into American usage. Fueled by the media, public interest in the possibility of a "superhorse" that could win the Triple Crown began in the weeks leading up to the derby. Two years after the term was coined, the race, which had been run in mid-May since inception, was changed to the first Saturday in May to allow for a specific schedule for the Triple Crown races. Since 1931, the order of Triple Crown races has been the Kentucky Derby first, followed by the Preakness Stakes and then the Belmont Stakes. Prior to 1931, eleven times the Preakness was run before the Derby. On May 12, 1917 and again on May 13, 1922, the Preakness and the Derby were run on the same day. On eleven occasions the Belmont Stakes was run before the Preakness Stakes.
On May 3, 1952, the first national television coverage of the Kentucky Derby took place. In 1954, the purse exceeded $100,000 for the first time. In 1968 Dancer's Image became the first (and to this day the only) horse to win the race and then be disqualified after traces of phenylbutazone, an analgesic and anti-inflammatory drug, were found in the horse's urinalysis; unexpectedly, the regulations at Kentucky thoroughbred race tracks were changed some years later, allowing horses to run on phenylbutazone.
The fastest time ever run in the Derby (at its present distance) was set in 1973 at 1 minute 59 2/5 seconds when Secretariat broke the record set by Northern Dancer in 1964. Not only has Secretariat's record time stood for 38 years and counting, but in the race itself, he did something unique in Triple Crown races: each successive quarter, his times were faster. The second sub-two minute time was recorded by Sham, two-fifths of a second behind Secretariat in the same race. Another sub-two minute finish, only the third, was set by in 2001 by Monarchos at 1:59.97.
The 2004 Derby marked the first time that jockeys, as a result of a court order, were allowed to wear corporate advertising logos on their clothing.
In 2005, the purse distribution for the Derby was changed, so that horses finishing fifth would henceforth receive a share of the purse; previously only the first four finishers did so.
Norman Adams has been the designer of the Kentucky Derby Logo since 2002. On February 1, 2006, the Louisville-based fast-food company Yum! Brands, Inc. announced a corporate sponsorship deal to call the race "The Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands." 
In 2007, HM Queen Elizabeth II, on a visit to the United States, joined the racegoers at Churchill Downs.
In 2010 Calvin Borel sets a new record, being the first jockey to win 3 out of 4 consecutive Kentucky Derbys.
In addition to the race itself, a number of traditions play a large role in the Derby atmosphere. The Mint Julep, an iced drink consisting of bourbon, mint and a sugar syrup is the traditional beverage of the race. The historic drink can be served in an ice-frosted silver julep cup but most Churchill Downs patrons sip theirs from a souvenir glass printed with all previous Derby winners. Also, burgoo, a thick stew of beef, chicken, pork and vegetables, is a popular Kentucky dish served at the Derby.
The infield, a spectator area inside the track, offers general admission prices but little chance of seeing much of the race. Instead, revelers show up in the infield to party with abandon. By contrast, "Millionaire's Row" refers to the expensive box seats that attract the rich, the famous and the well-connected. Women appear in fine outfits lavishly accessorized with large, elaborate hats. As the horses are paraded before the grandstands, the University of Louisville marching band plays Stephen Foster's "My Old Kentucky Home".
The Derby is frequently referred to as "The Run for the Roses," because a lush blanket of 554 red roses is awarded to the Kentucky Derby winner each year. The tradition originated in 1883 when New York socialite E. Berry Wall presented roses to ladies at a post-Derby party that was attended by Churchill Downs founder and president, Col. M. Lewis Clark. This gesture is believed to have eventually led Clark to the idea of making the rose the race's official flower. However, it was not until 1896 that any recorded account referred to roses being draped on the Derby winner. The Governor of Kentucky awards the garland and the trophy. The late pop vocalist Dan Fogelberg composed the song "Run for the Roses" for the 1980 running of the race.
Most wins by a jockey </dt>
- 5 - Eddie Arcaro (1938, 1941, 1945, 1948, 1952)
- 5 - Bill Hartack (1957, 1960, 1962, 1964, 1969)
Most wins by a trainer </dt>
- 6 - Ben A. Jones (1938, 1941, 1944, 1948, 1949, 1952)
- Most wins by an owner</dt>
- 8 - Calumet Farm (1941, 1944, 1948, 1949, 1952, 1957, 1958, 1968)
- Stakes record</dt>
- 1:59.40 - Secretariat (1973)
- Longest length to win a race</dt>
- 8 lengths - Assault (1946)
- 8 lengths - Whirlaway (1941)
- Longest shot to win the Derby</dt>
- $92.40 to 1 - Donerail (1913)
Super Saver Calvin Borel Todd Pletcher WinStar Farm
Mine That Bird Calvin Borel Bennie L. Woolley, Jr. Double Eagle Ranch et al.
Big Brown Kent Desormeaux Rick Dutrow IEAH Stables / P. Pompa
Street Sense Calvin Borel Carl Nafzger James B. Tafel
Barbaro Edgar Prado Michael R. Matz Lael Stables
Giacomo Mike E. Smith John Shirreffs Jerry & Ann Moss
Smarty Jones Stewart Elliott John Servis Someday Farm
Funny Cide Jose Santos Barclay Tagg Sackatoga Stable
War Emblem Victor Espinoza Bob Baffert Thoroughbred Corp.
Monarchos Jorge F. Chavez John T. Ward, Jr. John C. Oxley
Fusaichi Pegasus Kent Desormeaux Neil Drysdale Fusao Sekiguchi
Charismatic Chris Antley D. Wayne Lukas Bob & Beverly Lewis
Real Quiet Kent Desormeaux Bob Baffert Michael E. Pegram
Silver Charm Gary Stevens Bob Baffert Bob & Beverly Lewis
Grindstone Jerry Bailey D. Wayne Lukas Overbrook Farm
Thunder Gulch Gary Stevens D. Wayne Lukas† Michael Tabor
Go for Gin Chris McCarron Nick Zito Condren & Cornacchia
Sea Hero Jerry Bailey MacKenzie Miller Rokeby Stables
Lil E. Tee Pat Day Lynn S. Whiting W. Cal Partee
Strike the Gold Chris Antley Nick Zito BCC Stable
Unbridled Craig Perret Carl Nafzger Frances A. Genter
Sunday Silence Pat Valenzuela Charlie Whittingham H-G-W Partners
Winning Colors ‡ Gary Stevens D. Wayne Lukas Eugene V. Klein
Alysheba Chris McCarron Jack Van Berg D. & P. Scharbauer
Ferdinand Bill Shoemaker Charlie Whittingham Elizabeth A. Keck
Spend A Buck Angel Cordero, Jr. Cam Gambolati Dennis Diaz
Swale Laffit Pincay, Jr. Woody Stephens Claiborne Farm
Sunny's Halo Ed Delahoussaye David C. Cross, Jr. D. J. Foster Stable
Gato Del Sol Ed Delahoussaye Edwin J. Gregson Hancock & Peters
Pleasant Colony Jorge Velasquez John P. Campo Buckland Farm
Genuine Risk ‡ Jacinto Vasquez LeRoy Jolley Diana Firestone
Spectacular Bid Ronnie Franklin Bud Delp Hawksworth Farm
Affirmed † Steve Cauthen Laz Barrera Harbor View Farm
Seattle Slew † Jean Cruguet William H. Turner, Jr. Karen L. Taylor
Bold Forbes Angel Cordero, Jr. Laz Barrera E. Rodriguez Tizol
Foolish Pleasure Jacinto Vasquez LeRoy Jolley John L. Greer
Cannonade Angel Cordero, Jr. Woody Stephens John M. Olin
Secretariat † Ron Turcotte Lucien Laurin Meadow Stable
Riva Ridge Ron Turcotte Lucien Laurin Meadow Stud
Canonero II Gustavo Avila Juan Arias Edgar Caibett
Dust Commander Mike Manganello Don Combs Robert E. Lehmann
Majestic Prince Bill Hartack Johnny Longden Frank M. McMahon
Forward Pass Ismael Valenzuela Henry Forrest Calumet Farm
Proud Clarion Bobby Ussery Loyd Gentry, Jr. Darby Dan Farm
Kauai King Don Brumfield Henry Forrest Ford Stable
Lucky Debonair Bill Shoemaker Frank Catrone Ada L. Rice
Northern Dancer Bill Hartack Horatio Luro Windfields Farm
Chateaugay Braulio Baeza James P. Conway Darby Dan Farm
Decidedly Bill Hartack Horatio Luro El Peco Ranch
Carry Back Johnny Sellers Jack A. Price Katherine Price
Venetian Way Bill Hartack Victor J. Sovinski Sunny Blue Farm
Tomy Lee Bill Shoemaker Frank E. Childs Fred & Juliette Turner
Tim Tam Ismael Valenzuela Jimmy Jones Calumet Farm
Iron Liege Bill Hartack Jimmy Jones Calumet Farm
Needles David Erb Hugh L. Fontaine D & H Stable
Swaps Bill Shoemaker Mesh Tenney Rex C. Ellsworth
Determine Raymond York William Molter Andrew J. Crevolin
Dark Star Hank Moreno Eddie Hayward Cain Hoy Stable
Hill Gail Eddie Arcaro Ben A. Jones Calumet Farm
Count Turf Conn McCreary Sol Rutchick Jack J. Amiel
Middleground William Boland Max Hirsch King Ranch
Ponder Steve Brooks Ben A. Jones Calumet Farm
Citation † Eddie Arcaro Ben A. Jones Calumet Farm
Jet Pilot Eric Guerin Tom Smith Maine Chance Farm
Assault † Warren Mehrtens Max Hirsch King Ranch
Hoop Jr. Eddie Arcaro Ivan H. Parke Fred W. Hooper
Pensive Conn McCreary Ben A. Jones Calumet Farm
Count Fleet † Johnny Longden Don Cameron Fannie Hertz
Shut Out Wayne D. Wright John M. Gaver, Sr. Greentree Stable
Whirlaway † Eddie Arcaro Ben A. Jones Calumet Farm
Gallahadion Carroll Bierman Roy Waldron Milky Way Farm
Johnstown James Stout Jim Fitzsimmons Belair Stud
Lawrin Eddie Arcaro Ben A. Jones Herbert M. Woolf
War Admiral † Charley Kurtsinger George Conway Glen Riddle Farm
Bold Venture Ira Hanford Max Hirsch Morton L. Schwartz
Omaha † Willie Saunders Jim Fitzsimmons Belair Stud
Cavalcade Mack Garner Bob Smith Brookmeade Stable
Brokers Tip Don Meade Herbert J. Thompson Edward R. Bradley
Burgoo King Eugene James Herbert J. Thompson Edward R. Bradley
Twenty Grand Charley Kurtsinger James G. Rowe, Jr. Greentree Stable
Gallant Fox † Earl Sande Jim Fitzsimmons Belair Stud
Clyde Van Dusen Linus McAtee Clyde Van Dusen Herbert P. Gardner
Reigh Count Chick Lang Bert S. Michell Fannie Hertz
Whiskery Linus McAtee Fred Hopkins Harry P. Whitney
Bubbling Over Albert Johnson Herbert J. Thompson Edward R. Bradley
Flying Ebony Earl Sande William B. Duke Gifford A. Cochran
Black Gold John D. Mooney Hanley Webb Rosa M. Hoots
Zev Earl Sande David J. Leary Rancocas Stable
Morvich Albert Johnson Fred Burlew Benjamin Block
Behave Yourself Charles Thompson Herbert J. Thompson Edward R. Bradley
Paul Jones Ted Rice Billy Garth Ral Parr
Sir Barton † Johnny Loftus H. Guy Bedwell J. K. L. Ross
Exterminator William Knapp Henry McDaniel Willis Sharpe Kilmer
Omar Khayyam Charles Borel Charles T. Patterson Billings & Johnson
George Smith Johnny Loftus Hollie Hughes John Sanford
Regret ‡ Joe Notter James G. Rowe, Sr. Harry P. Whitney
Old Rosebud John McCabe Frank D. Weir Hamilton C. Applegate
Donerail Roscoe Goose Thomas P. Hayes Thomas P. Hayes
Worth Carroll H. Shilling Frank M. Taylor Henry C. Hallenbeck
Meridian George Archibald Albert Ewing Richard F. Carman
Donau Frederick Herbert George Ham William Gerst
Wintergreen Vincent Powers Charles Mack Jerome B. Respess
Stone Street Arthur Pickens J. W. Hall C. E. & J. W. Hamilton
Pink Star Andy Minder W. H. Fizer J. Hal Woodford
Sir Huon Roscoe Troxler Pete Coyne Bashford Manor Stable
Agile Jack Martin Robert Tucker Samuel S. Brown
Elwood Shorty Prior Charles E. Durnell Mrs. C. E. Durnell
Judge Himes Hal Booker John P. Mayberry Charles R. Ellison
Alan-a-Dale Jimmy Winkfield Thomas C. McDowell Thomas C. McDowell
His Eminence Jimmy Winkfield Frank B. Van Meter Frank B. Van Meter
Lieut. Gibson Jimmy Boland Charles Hughes Charles H. Smith
Manuel Fred Taral Robert J. Walden A. H. & D. H. Morris
Plaudit Willie Simms John E. Madden John E. Madden
Typhoon II Buttons Garner J. C. Cahn J. C. Cahn
Ben Brush Willie Simms Hardy Campbell, Jr. Mike F. Dwyer
Halma Soup Perkins Byron McClelland Byron McClelland
Chant Frank Goodale H. Eugene Leigh Leigh & Rose
Lookout Eddie Kunze William McDaniel Cushing & Orth
Azra Alonzo Clayton John H. Morris Bashford Manor Stable
Kingman Isaac Murphy Dud Allen Jacobin Stable
Riley Isaac Murphy Edward Corrigan Edward Corrigan
Spokane Thomas Kiley John Rodegap Noah Armstrong
Macbeth II George Covington John Campbell Chicago Stable
Montrose Isaac Lewis John McGinty Labold Brothers
Ben Ali Paul Duffy Jim Murphy J. B. A. Haggin
Joe Cotton Erskine Henderson Abe Perry James T. Williams
Buchanan Isaac Murphy William Bird William Cottrill
Leonatus Billy Donohue Raleigh Colston Chinn & Morgan
Apollo Babe Hurd Green B. Morris Morris & Patton
Hindoo Jim McLaughlin James G. Rowe, Sr. Dwyer Bros. Stable
Fonso George Lewis Tice Hutsell J. Snell Shawhan
Lord Murphy Charlie Shauer George Rice (horseman) Darden & Co
Day Star Jimmy Carter Lee Paul T. J. Nichols
Baden-Baden Billy Walker Edward D. Brown Daniel Swigert
Vagrant Bobby Swim James Williams William Astor, Jr.
Aristides Oliver Lewis Ansel Williamson Hal P. McGrath
*In 1968, Dancer's Image, ridden by Bobby Ussery, trained by Lou Cavalaris, Jr., and owned by Peter Fuller, finished first, but was disqualified after a post-race urine sample revealed traces of a banned drug in the horse. The drug in question - phenylbutazone - is now legal for use on racehorses in many states, including Kentucky.
- The 1882 Winning horse Apollo was the only 3 year old horse to win the derby without having raced the year before as a 2 year old.
- D. Wayne Lukas swept the 1995 Triple Crown with two different horses.
- The Kentucky Derby is the oldest, continuous sporting event in the United States.
- The 2008 second place winner, Eight Belles, marks the first time that any horse has died in the Kentucky Derby. The filly came in second place before breaking both front ankles on the cool-down. She was immediately euthanized. Churchill Downs has since announced that a magnolia tree will be planted in the garden of the Kentucky Derby Museum for Eight Belles and that her remains will be interred at its base. Churchill Downs has also announced that it will rename the La Troienne Stakes (Gr. III) in honor of Eight Belles. There are also plans for a ceremony on Derby Day 2009 in her memory.
- 2008 Kentucky Derby Winner Big Brown did not wear the blanket of roses he earned in the race because of the fact that he hates flowers. Kent Desormeaux (Big Brown's jockey) did not want to upset the horse and so would not let the Winner's Circle handlers place the roses on Big Brown.
Sister project Look up run for the roses in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
- American Thoroughbred Racing top Attended Events
- Derby pie
- Kentucky Oaks (sister race)
- List of attractions and events in Louisville, Kentucky
- "The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved", a seminal sports article by Hunter S. Thompson.
- ↑ "Tenth Race Churchill May 1, 2004". May 1, 2004. Daily Racing Forum. Accessed on May 9, 2006.
- ↑ Isidore, Chris (2006-05-05). "Kentucky Derby including Yum Brands in its name - May. 5, 2006". Web.archive.org. Archived from the original on 2006-05-17. https://web.archive.org/web/20060517235236/https://money.cnn.com/2006/05/05/news/companies/yum_derby/index.htm. Retrieved 2010-05-10.
- ↑ Derby Racing - Ricky Price, 2010 and Kentucky Derby official site, 2010
The Triple Crowns of Horse Racing and their "jewels" United States United Kingdom Canada, Thoroughbred Horses See Also *Series is still under review for races. See page for details on race proposals.