Kentucky Derby

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Kentucky Derby


The History of The Kentucky Derby
The Kentucky Derby is the most famous and prestigous horse race in the world. It is the
first leg of the United States Triple Crown of horse racing. The race became the most famous
horse race shortly after it started in 1875. The Kentucky Derby is said to be The most exciting
two minutes in sports. Besides the race itself, there are many Derby activities in the previous
two weeks, known as the Kentucky Derby Festival. The month of May and the Kentucky Derby
is one of my favorite times of the year.
Churchill Downs was started by a group headed by a man named M. Lewis Clark in
1874. The group built the track on land owned by the Churchill family of Louisville, Kentucky.
The track officially opened on May 17, 1875 and that was the day of the first Kentucky Derby
won by Aristides. The first races from 1875-1895 were modeled after the English Derby and
were 1 and a half miles long. In 1896 they changed the length of the Kentucky Derby which
would prove to be a good decision because from there on it became the most popular race in the
world.
The Kentucky Derby is the first leg of the United States Triple Crown of horse racing. It
is held annually on the first Saturday of May on the world famous Churchill Downs track in
Louisville, Kentucky. The race itself is run on a 1 and one-fourth mile dirt track. The race is for
the best 3-year-old horses in the world. Most of the recorded times for the race are just over 2
minutes. Only one horse, Secretariat, in 1973 has run the Derby in under 2 minutes. The
Kentucky Derby usually has attendences of over 120,000 fans, but millions of viewers watch at
home on television.
The Triple Crown is the biggest three races in the world. Only eleven Kentucky Derby
winners have went on to win the next races, the Preakness and the Belmont Steaks. Some of the
most notable Triple Crown winners are Sir Barton in 1919, the first Triple Crown winner, War
Admiral in 1937, Whirlaway in 1941, Citation in 1948, Secretariat in 1973, Seatlle Slew in 1977,
and Affirmed in 1978. These Triple Crown winners are some of the most famous horses in the
history of the sport of horse racing.
The fastest Kentucky Derby time was run by Secretariat in 1973, who finished in 1
minute and 59.4 seconds. The slowest Derby winner ever was Kingman in 1891, who ran the
Derby in 2 minutes and 52.25 seconds, when the race was still 1 and a half mile. The biggest
longshot to win the Derby and the highest paid winner of the Derby was Donnerail in 1913, who
paid $184.20 at 91-1 odds. There have been 36 fillies, or female horse who have run in the
derby, and 3 of them have won. Fourty-eight favorite horse have won the Derby in 126 runnings,
the last favorite to win was this years winner, Fusaichi Pegases. The largest purse for any
winning horse was in 1987 when Alysheba won $618,600 for winning the race. The largest
crowd for the Derby was in 1975, the 100th anniversary of the Kentucky Derby.
Besides the race itself, the two week period before that known as the Kentucky Derby
Festival is a favorite time for people in Louisville. For the past several years the Festival has
been kicked off 2 weeks before the Derby with Thunder Over Louisville. Thunder Over
Louisville is one of the biggest displays of fireworks in North America. Once Thunder Over
Louisville has started, the Derby activities begin. There are too many to list, but here are some
of the most notable events. The Balloon Glow happens on the next Friday after Thunder, where
the balloon are blown up and displayed for families to see. The next morning is the Great
Balloon Race if the weather permits it. There are many famous hot air balloons which trail the
winner of the event from the previous year and try to hit a target placed somewhere different
every year. In the week before the Derby, there is one of the 5 top

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