The Kentucky Derby
The Kentucky Derby is the second oldest horse race in America. The race track was built on farmland in Louisville, Kentucky. The first race was held on May 17, 1875, with 10 thousand people in attendance, and has been held every year since. In the first event, an African-American named Oliver Lewis rode the winner, Aristides.
The race is held yearly in Louisville, Kentucky, United States during the first Saturday in May. It caps off the two-week Kentucky Derby Festival.
The race is a Grade I stakes race for three-year-old Thoroughbreds with a length of 2 kilometers at Churchill Downs. Colts and Geldings carry 57 kilograms or 126 pounds and fillies 55 kilograms or 121 pounds.
In the United States, the race is known to be “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports” or “The Fastest Two Minutes in Sports” because of its duration. It is also known to be “The Run for the Roses” because the winner is draped with 554 red roses. This tradition started in 1883.
The Kentucky Derby is one event of the United States Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing, and is the most prestigious of these races. The other events are Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. The Kentucky Derby followed by the Preakness Stakes and then the Belmont Stakes. To win the Triple Crown, the horse must win the three races.
Audience for the Kentucky Derby usually surpasses the attendance of all other stakes races including the Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes and the Breeders’ Cup.
2019 Kentucky Derby
There was high drama at the 2019 Kentucky Derby. Maximum Security led all the way, only to become the first winner disqualified for interference in the race's 145-year history. After a long wait, long shot Country House was declared the winner. Country House paid 65-1, the second-highest odds for a winner in Derby history
The only other disqualification in the Derby occurred long after the race in 1968. Dancer's Image, the first-place finisher, later tested positive for a prohibited substance, and Kentucky state racing officials ordered the purse money to be redistributed.
2020 Kentucky Derby
The 2020 Kentucky Derby was postponed due to the corona virus pandemic. Instead of being held in the first week of May, it was held in September 2020.
2022 Kentucky Derby
80-1 outsider Rich Strike stuned with the second biggest upset in Kentucky Derby history (behind the 1913 winner Donerail winning at odds of 91–1).
- Learn more about the sport of Horse Racing.
- More Horse Racing Major Events
- Read about other major world sporting events.
- sporting events calendar