The Kentucky Derby is a horse race that is held on the first Saturday every May, in Louisville, Kentucky. The derby began in 1875, and is the longest running sporting event in America. Each year, 20 horses and jockeys compete for the coveted, winning "purse," which is $2 million!
It's not easy to earn a spot in the Kentucky Derby. Horses must first run 35 races that take place around the country, and the world. The top 20 finishers in those races then get to compete in the Kentucky Derby. It is often called "The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports," a nickname based on how long it typically takes the horses to complete the race. Many horses go on to compete in the Preakness Race and the Belmont Race. To earn the title Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing, a horse would have to win all three of those races. This has only been done 13 times, and most recently in 2018 by Justify!
The Kentucky Derby has become more than just a horse race. It has become a celebration of southern culture, and a time-honored event.
Did You Know?
- It is often called the Run for the Roses because a garland of 554 red roses is draped over the winning horse.
- Hats became an important part of the event because the organizers wanted to make it a high-society event, which, in 1875 meant woman should wear hats and gloves.
- A ticket for a reserved seat costs anywhere from $450-$3530.
- A Kentucky Derby jockey should not weigh more than around 119 pounds.
- The winning jockey receives around $100,000 (a small portion of the $2 million).