Here’s a look at the Kentucky Derby. The Derby is run annually on the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. The 2015 Kentucky Derby is scheduled for May 2.
- The Derby is the first race in horse racing’s coveted Triple Crown, which also includes the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes.
- The race is known as “The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports” for its approximate run time. The Derby is also referred to as “The Run for the Roses” due to the garland of 554 red roses draped over the winner.
- The maximum age for a competing horse is three years.
- The mint julep is the traditional beverage of Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby.
- Approximately 120,000 mint juleps are served annually during the two day period of the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby.
- Only three fillies have won the Derby: Regret (1915), Genuine Risk (1980) and Winning Colors (1988).
- No Derby has ever been postponed because of rain or bad weather.
May 17, 1875 – The first Kentucky Derby is held. The winner is Aristides, a three-year-old chestnut colt, beating fourteen other horses.
1892 – Only three horses run the race, making it the smallest field ever for a Kentucky Derby.
1896 – The race distance is reduced from 1.5 miles to its present 1.25 miles.
1925 – N.Y. Journal-American writer Bill Corum coins the phrase “run for the roses.”
May 3, 1952 – The Kentucky Derby is televised nationally for the first time.
1956 – The first Kentucky Derby Festival is held. This annual event runs for the two weeks preceding the actual races.
1973 – Secretariat wins with a time of 1:59 minutes, setting the record for the fastest time.
May 3, 2008 – Shortly after winner Big Brown crosses the finish line, second place finisher Eight Belles suffers fractures in both front legs and falls to the ground. Due to the severity of the injuries, the filly is euthanized on the track.