The Kentucky Derby is one of the most iconic sporting events in the world. It’s known as “The Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports.” It’s also a great reason for friends to have a party, dress in your Sunday best and yell at the TV.
What is the Kentucky Derby? The Kentucky Derby, run the first Saturday in May, is one of the most well known races in the world. First run in 1875, this 1 1/4 mile—or 10 furlongs—race kicks off the American Triple Crown of horse racing.
When and where is the 2019 Kentucky Derby? The 145th running of the Kentucky Derby is on Saturday, May 4, 2019 with a post time of 6:50 p.m. ET.
The Derby is run on the dirt track at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, where it has been held since its inaugural running in 1875. I can tell you from experience, it goes off rain or shine! Watching the horse owners covering their louboutins with shopping bags while walking the track before the race begins, was one of my favorite memories when my husband and I went in 2010.
How are horses picked for the Derby? Only 3-year-old Thoroughbreds can qualify for the Kentucky Derby. Eligible horses compete in the Race to the Kentucky Derby, a series of 35 races around the world. Horses win points for finishing in the top four spots, and the 20 horses with the most points at the end of the series gain entry into the Derby. (However, sometimes horses will scratch, giving another the opportunity to run in the Derby.) Wood Memorial winner Tacitus topped the field with 150 points.
Who are the horses to watch?
- Two-time Triple Crown winner Bob Baffert fields Roadster, Game Winner and Improbable. However, Roadster will be without jockey Mike Smith, who chose now-scratched Omaha Beach instead.
- Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott will look for his first Derby win in Wood Memorial winner Tacitus.
- Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby competitor Master Fencer isn’t expected to be a serious contender but will become the first Japanese-bred horse to run in the Derby.
- Jon Court, Long Range Toddy‘s rider, will become the oldest jockey to ride in Derby at age 58.
- After then-favorite Omaha Beach scratched on Wednesday, May 1, Bodexpressearned entry into the Derby at 30-1 odds. He is the son of Bodemeister, who finished second in both the 2012 Kentucky Derby and 2012 Preakness Stakes.
Who won the 2018 Kentucky Derby? WinStar Farm’s colt Justify, trained by Bob Baffert and ridden by Mike Smith, won the 144th Kentucky Derby. He went on to win the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes, becoming the 13th horse ever to win the Triple Crown.
What are the biggest Kentucky Derby traditions? Bold formal outfits for both men and women are synonymous with the Kentucky Derby. Celebrities and fans a like go all out, donning creative and colorful hats, bright colors and wild patterns. In fact, hats and outfits are such a big part of the Kentucky Derby that the Derby Museum has a whole exhibit for the most lavished fashions.
The Mint Julep, made with Kentucky bourbon, is the signature drink of the Derby, and Kentucky’s state song “My Old Kentucky Home” is played during the pre-race post parade. After the race, the champion horse is given the iconic garland of roses in the winner’s circle.