Why does the history of the Epsom Derby stand out? There are many horse racing derbies in the world, like the Irish Derby, the Kentucky Derby, and the Australian Derby, but the original event which served as an inspiration for all of the above-mentioned is the Epsom Derby. It is the biggest horse racing event in Britain and has a prize pool of more than 1 million pounds.
The race takes place at the beginning of June at the Epsom Downs racetrack in the UK. The distance is 2,432 meters (1 mile, 10 furlongs, and 10 yards). Three-year-old Thoroughbred horses (except geldings) can participate in this Group 1 flat race which is held on a turf surface. The reward for the first place is £750,000, while the remainder of the money is redistributed between the other high placed horses.
History of the Epsom Derby
The history of the Derby dates back more than 200 years, but the oldest event which took place at the Epsom Downs racecourse is the Oaks Stakes in 1779. Nowadays, the event is known as the Epsom Oaks and is still a part of Britain’s horse racing calendar.
Edward Stanley, who was the Earl of Derby, is the organiser of the Oaks Stakes, and thanks to him the idea of a new race including colts and fillies was born. However, there are rumours that Sir Charles Bunbury was the one who proposed this idea first, and a coin toss decided after whom the event would be named. Regardless if that is true or not, the name remained the Epson Derby, and the first race was held in 1780. It is an interesting fact that Sir Charles Bunbury owned the winning horse.
The first distance of the race was one mile, but it was changed to the current length in 1784. Fifty-four years later, the date of the event was also changed – from Thursday to Wednesday. The precise date depended on Easter, until 1900 when they decided to hold the event on the first Wednesday in June. That was the case for 95 years (except for the two World Wars) before it was changed to the current date – the first Saturday in June.
The Triple Crown and the British Classics
The British Classics are five of the biggest flat races in England, and the History of the Epsom Derby is a part of them, with the other ones being the 2,000 Guineas Stakes, the 1,000 Guineas Stakes, the St. Leger Stakes, and the Epsom Oaks. There has never been a case of a horse winning all five of these events, but two horses finished first in four of them. The UK Triple Crown includes the Epsom Derby, the St. Leger Stakes, and the 2,000 Guineas Stakes.
Betting on the Epsom Derby
The Epsom Derby is a popular event for many punters not only in the UK but also worldwide. It has a reputation for being unpredictable and the favourite does not always finish first. The most popular way of placing a wager on the Epsom Derby is by using an online gambling website.