Kentucky Derby Day
When is the Kentucky Derby: Always the first Saturday in May
Date: May 4, 2019; May 2, 2020; May 1, 2021; May7, 2022; May 6, 2023
The "Running of the Roses" as the Kentucky Derby is called, is America's premier horse racing event. Steeped in tradition, the derby is the first step in the Triple Crown of horse racing. It is held at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. Each year approximately 155,000 people attend this all day event, which culminates in a roughly two minute race.
The Kentucky Derby is run on a 1 1/4 mile, 10 furlong, dirt track. The winner of the race receives a garland of rose and a $2 million purse. The winner has also reached the first step in winning the Triple Crown. The winning horse goes on to compete against other horses to hopefully win at the Preakness Stakes and finally at the Belmont Stakes.
20 horses compete in the Kentucky Derby. Normally, far fewer horses race in any other horse racing event. To qualify for the Derby, the 3 year old thoroughbred horses must travel the "Road to the Kentucky Derby", a series of 35 horse races at tracks in the U.S. and around the world. Points are awarded and the top 20 horses proceed to the Kentucky Derby.
The race lasts about 2 minutes. It is preceded by all day long activities and celebration. The excitement increases in intensity leading up to the opening of the gates, and the "Run for the Roses" begins.
Tradition abounds at the Kentucky Derby. People come dressed to the nines. Ladies wear extravagant hats and participate in a Hat Parade.. Mint Juleps are the traditional drink, and are consumed in huge quantities, approximately 120,000 during this two day event..
Triple Crown Winners
Winning the Triple Crown is very difficult. Only 13 horses have won the Triple Crown. In 1978, Affirmed became just the 11th horse to win all three races. It was 37 long years before American Pharoah accomplished the feat. The latest Triple Crown winner is Justify, in 2018.
Mint Juleps are the official drink of the Kentucky Derby. Use the Official Mint Julep recipe.
Kentucky Derby Trivia:
Related Holidays: Mint Julep Day
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What happened on this Day? This Day in History
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