No other race in the whole world is as famous or as beloved as the Louisville-based Kentucky Derby. This Grade 1 3 year-old exclusive thoroughbred race has run without cessation since 1875 and has become the staple horse racing competition within the American top circuit. It was originally conceived by Col. Meriwether Lewis Clark Jr. after an European tour took him to the Epsom Derby in Surrey, England, and the Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp; Clark Jr. then returned to the USA and organized the Louisville Jockey Club, which would eventually give birth to the classic Churchill Downs park in Kentucky.

The Kentucky Derby, also known as the "Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports" or, the "Run for the Roses" takes place during the first Saturday of May as the ending treat of the Kentucky Derby Festival that spans for over two weeks. The Roses moniker is derived from the beautiful blanket of red roses, with which the winning horse is draped with after the race. Horse racing fans will also recognize the Kentucky Derby as the first leg of the majestic Triple Crown set of Grade 1 races, which also include Preakness and Belmont Stakes, however, the Churchill Downs-based race exceeds all others in attendance and number of television viewership, amassing almost 17 million viewers and 150+ thousand people at the venue during the most recent editions.

The Kentucky Derby's century-long history has seen some ups and downs, with Churchill Downs park changing managerial hands throughout its early years, eventually earning the sufficient investment to make it into the top racing venue that we know today. It first ran for 1.5 miles, thus replicating the original length of its English predecessor, the Epsom Derby, but later in 1896 took on the 1¼ miles form that has been used ever since. Its combined purse is set a 2 million USD with a $1,425,000 single prize destined to the first place winner.

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Kentucky Derby Facts:

  • Racecourse type: American Grade 1 Stakes Thoroughbred (dirt).
  • Location: Churchill Downs Park, Louisville, Kentucky.
  • Purse: 2 million dollars.
  • Venue capacity: 50 thousand spectators.
  • Track length: 2 miles.
  • Important track records: (1973) Secretariat at 1:​59 25 secs.