The history of the Kentucky Derby proves that the competition has the reputation of one of the most popular horse racing events not only in the States but also worldwide. It is a part of the US Triple Crown of Thoroughbred racing which also includes the Belmond Stakes and the Preakness Stakes. The Kentucky Derby is described by many as the” two most exciting minutes in sport” which is a reference to the time it takes for the race to finish.
In this guide, you will find all the information you need about the history of the Kentucky Derby. Well also show you why betting on the Kentucky Derby is so popular.
The event takes place at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. It is a part of the Grade I Stakes races in the United States and is held at a dirt surface over 2 kilometers (quarter miles). Only three-year-old Thoroughbreds can participate in the Kentucky Derby, which has a prize pool of 2 million dollars. This horse race is held on May’s first Saturday each year. It is also a part of the famous Kentucky Derby Festival which lasts for about two weeks. The Kentucky Derby is the most attended horse racing event in the US, and it is not a surprise, considering its history.
History of the Kentucky Derby
The Kentucky Derby was created in 1875, and the first race took place on 17th May that year. The original distance was one and a half miles, but it was changed in 1896 to the current length. The inspiration for this event comes from the Epsom Derby which is another famous race in the United States. The first winner of the contest was a colt named Aristides, and his rider was Oliver Lewis. Even though the race was successful, there were a lot of financial troubles for the racecourse up until the beginning of the 20th century. That is when the Kentucky Derby started its rise and is now one of the most popular races in the States.
These are the most crucial dates in the history of the Kentucky Derby:
- 1904 – A woman owns the winning horse for the first time.
- 1917 – A horse which is bred overseas wins the race for the first time.
- 1926 – First radio broadcast of the event.
- 1952 – First TV broadcast of the race.
- 1954 – The prize pool was bigger than $100000 for the first time.
- 1970 – First female jockey to take part in the event – Diana Crump.
- 2004 – Advertising on jockeys for the first time.
- 2005 – The fifth-placed horse and jockey received a part of the prize pool for the first time (before it was only for the top four).
The Kentucky Derby has some interesting traditions, for example, the blanket of roses which the Governor of Kentucky gives each winner of the race. That’s where the nickname of the race – “The run for the roses” – comes from. The Marching Band of the University of Louisville also plays a part in the race by playing My Old Kentucky Home before the beginning of the event.
How to Bet on the Kentucky Derby
Horse racing and betting usually go hand in hand. Just like any other race, the Kentucky Derby is an event beloved by many punters. Almost every big online gambling website will offer bets on it. Seeing as it is one of the most major horse races in the country, it is no surprise that so many people want to place a wager on it.
Here are the winners of the last five races in the history of the Kentucky Derby:
- 2016 – Horse – Nyquist. Rider – Mario Gutierrez. Trainer – Doug O’Neill.
- 2015 – Horse – American Pharoah. Rider – Victor Espinoza. Trainer – Bob Baffert.
- 2014 – Horse – California Chrome. Rider – Victor Espinoza. Trainer – Art Sherman.
- 2013 – Horse – Orb. Rider – Joel Rosario. Trainer – Claude McGaughey III.
- 2012 – Horse – I’ll Have Another. Rider – Mario Guiterrez. Trainer – Doug O’Neill.