Kentucky Derby: Run for the roses racing Information

The Kentucky Derby is always held on the first Saturday of May in Louisville, Kentucky at the Churchill Downs. This sport has been held since 1875 nonstop, and over the years it has earned itself some significant names, right from being recognized as the “The race for the roses”, since the winner is crowned with roses, to also being even known as the most exciting two minutes in sports from all the excitement and eagerness developed.

This Grade I race requires a horse to win three races so as to proclaim the crown for winning all three races. To participate in this race you need a Thoroughbreds three-year-old qualification and the distance to be covered, well that is 1¼ miles.


To get to understand the Kentucky Derby, there is a need to revisit the archives which well state that Meriwether Clark Lewis Jr, started raising funds to build the track after traveling to England and France, Paris, and seeing the best French jockey team.

Initially, the first race took one and a half miles to be covered and was later changed in 1896. The first race being held in May 1875 was won by the Jockey Oliver Lewis and his colt’s name was Aristides. Later on, Sir Barton became the first horse to win all three races. Later on, Gallant Fox being the second horse and caught the attention of most people. The date of the race was changed two years after 1930 and it occurred on the first Saturday of May.

The first radio broadcast was on May 16, 1925, while the first television coverage was on May 7, 1949, and nationwide coverage was done on May 3, 1952. The Kentucky thoroughbred tracks allow the horses to run on phenylbutazone.

The fastest time covered was 1:59:04 minutes in 1973 set by Secretariat. Sham also finished in less than two minutes in that same race. Later on, the third race to be less than two minutes was set in 2001.


The derby initially offered a million purse that is in 1996 and later on changed to $2 million in 2005 and as of 2019, it was to offer $3 million in a purse.


Over the years, thousands of people watch the Kentucky Derby. A crowd of 158070 people came to watch the derby in 2017 which earned a total of $209.2 million which is a significant increase from the previous years. The Derby has a tendency to attract even celebrities.


Norman Adams since 2002 has been the designer for the Kentucky Derby logo. In 2004 as a court order was passed through, then jockeys were allowed to wear corporate advertising logos.

Yum! Brands inc, a fast-food company had a sponsorship deal but was replaced in 2018 by Woodford Reserve.


This Derby comes with its own traditions, right from the mint julep- the traditional beverage of the race which is served in a silver ice frosted julep cup, though the patrons sip from the souvenir glasses which have names of previous winners. There is also a burgoo, being a popular Kentucky dish.

The most expensive seats, Millionaire’s Row, normally catches the eye of famous, wealthy people. In the infield, women appeared wonderfully, elegantly dressed then the horses are called to stand at their positions, and the University of Louisville cardinal marching band played Stephen Foster’s” My Old Kentucky Home”, a tradition that is way back from 1921.

Lewis Clark came to have the idea of presenting roses to the winner after seeing what happened in the New York socialite. Each year the winner is presented with red roses. Later on, a song called Run for Roses was released by Dan Fogelberg.

Kentucky Derby: Run for the roses racing Information

LocationChurchill Downs Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.A
Start TimeRun for the roses is scheduled for 6:34 p.m. ET
PurseUS$3 million, 1st: $1,425,000
Distance1 1⁄4 miles (10 furlongs; 2,012 m)
Record1:​59 2⁄5 secs, (Secretariat 1973)
Race typeThoroughbred
TV ChannelsNBC
Live StreamNBC Sports App
Race durationThe Fastest Two Minutes in Sports

Riders up and festival

Two weeks before the Derby even happens, there are numerous activities that take place for the well-known Kentucky Derby Festival. It is normally thunder over Louisville, from the fireworks to the airshow, a spectacular event.

The Rider’s Upwell is a traditional command that is said so the jockeys can mount their horses. It was from the Paddock Judge. Since 2012 that special honor to say those words has been given to celebrity attendees like in 2018 Laila Ali an ex-boxer was given that opportunity.


The most wins for a jockey went out to Eddie Arcao, who won 5 in the years 1938, 1941, 1945, 1948, and 1952, and also Bill Hartack who won in the years 1957, 1960, 1962, 1964 and 1969

The fastest speed record was in 1973 by Secretariat for a mile and quarter took 1:59:04 minutes and for the mile and half Spokane took 2:34:05 minutes in 1889.

The most wins by a trainer were by Ben A. Jones, who trained Eddie Arcaro in the years 1938, 1941, 1945, 1948, 1949, and 1952.

The most wins by an owner were by Calumet Farm in the years 1941, 1944, 1948, 1949, 1952, 1957, 1958, and 1968.

The longest shot to win the Kentucky Derby was 91 to 1 by Donerail in 1931. The margin of victory was 8 lengths by Old Rosebud, 1941, Johnstown, 1939, Whirlaway, 1941, and Assault 1946.

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