A Brief History of the Kentucky Derby
The Kentucky Derby is one of the most prestigious horse races in the world, held annually in Louisville, Kentucky on the first Saturday in May. It has a long and fascinating history, dating back to its inaugural running in 1875. The race was the brainchild of Meriwether Lewis Clark Jr., the grandson of William Clark of the famous Lewis and Clark Expedition. Clark was inspired by the Epsom Derby in England and sought to create a similar event in the United States.
The first Kentucky Derby was held on May 17, 1875, and was won by a horse named Aristides. The race quickly became popular, drawing large crowds and capturing the attention of the nation. Over the years, the Kentucky Derby has become known as the “most exciting two minutes in sports” due to the fact that the race is typically completed in just over two minutes.
The Kentucky Derby has also become a cultural icon, with its traditions and pageantry attracting fans from all over the world. From the playing of “My Old Kentucky Home” to the garland of roses presented to the winner, the Kentucky Derby is steeped in tradition and history. As we approach the 150th running of the Kentucky Derby in 2024, the race continues to capture the hearts and imaginations of fans everywhere.
The Date and Time of the Kentucky Derby
The Kentucky Derby is traditionally held on the first Saturday in May each year, with the 2023 edition of the race scheduled for May 6. The actual time of the race can vary slightly from year to year, but it typically takes place in the late afternoon or early evening.
In recent years, however, there have been some exceptions to the traditional timing of the Kentucky Derby. In 2020, for example, the race was postponed from its usual date in May to September 5 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2021 edition of the race was also held later than usual, taking place on the first Saturday in May but with a post time of 7:01 PM Eastern Time rather than the usual mid-afternoon time slot.
If you’re planning to watch the Kentucky Derby, it’s important to keep in mind the time difference if you’re not in the Eastern time zone. The race typically starts around 6:30 PM Eastern Time, so if you’re in a different time zone, be sure to adjust your viewing plans accordingly. Additionally, it’s worth noting that the Kentucky Derby is typically broadcast on NBC, so be sure to check your local listings to find the channel and time in your area.
Where to Watch the Kentucky Derby
The Kentucky Derby is one of the most-watched sporting events in the world, with millions of viewers tuning in each year to watch the “most exciting two minutes in sports.” If you’re looking to catch the action, there are a few different ways you can watch the Kentucky Derby:
On TV: The Kentucky Derby is typically broadcast on NBC, with coverage starting in the late afternoon or early evening. Check your local listings to find the channel and time in your area.
Online: If you don’t have access to a TV, you can also watch the Kentucky Derby online through various streaming services. NBC Sports and the NBC Sports app usually offer live streaming of the race.
In Person: Of course, if you’re lucky enough to be in Louisville, Kentucky on the day of the Kentucky Derby, you can watch the race in person at Churchill Downs. Tickets for the Kentucky Derby can be expensive, but the experience of seeing the race live and in person is truly unforgettable.
No matter how you choose to watch the Kentucky Derby, be sure to gather your friends and family, make some mint juleps, and enjoy one of the most exciting and iconic events in sports.
The Fashion and Traditions of the Kentucky Derby
The Kentucky Derby isn’t just about the horses and the racing – it’s also a major fashion event. The race has a long tradition of fancy dress and elegant attire, with many attendees donning their most stylish and eye-catching outfits for the occasion.
For women, the Kentucky Derby is all about hats. The more elaborate and over-the-top the better, with many women opting for oversized and flamboyant headwear to complement their outfits. Dresses are typically colorful and feminine, with springtime pastels and florals being a popular choice.
Men also dress to impress at the Kentucky Derby, typically donning sharp suits, colorful ties, and statement accessories like pocket squares and fedoras. Seersucker and linen suits are also popular, as the lightweight materials are well-suited to the warm weather of early May in Kentucky.
In addition to the fashion, the Kentucky Derby is also steeped in tradition. From the playing of “My Old Kentucky Home” to the garland of roses presented to the winner, there are many rituals and customs associated with the race. The mint julep, a sweet and refreshing cocktail made with bourbon and mint, is also a staple of Kentucky Derby Day.
Whether you’re attending the race in person or watching from home, be sure to embrace the fashion and traditions of the Kentucky Derby and enjoy all that this iconic event has to offer.
Interesting Facts About the Kentucky Derby
The Kentucky Derby is a race steeped in history and tradition, but there are also plenty of interesting and lesser-known facts about the event. Here are a few:
- The Kentucky Derby is the longest continuously running sporting event in the United States, having been held annually since 1875.
- The garland of roses presented to the winner of the Kentucky Derby is made up of more than 400 red roses and weighs around 40 pounds.
- The Kentucky Derby has only been cancelled once – in 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The fastest time ever recorded in the Kentucky Derby was 1:59.40, set by Secretariat in 1973. This remains the fastest time ever recorded for a 1 1/4-mile horse race.
- The Kentucky Derby is also known as the “Run for the Roses,” a nickname coined by sports columnist Bill Corum in the 1920s.
- Mint juleps, the signature drink of the Kentucky Derby, are made with more than 10,000 gallons of bourbon each year.
- The Kentucky Derby is the first leg of the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing, followed by the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes.
These are just a few of the many interesting facts and tidbits associated with the Kentucky Derby. Whether you’re a die-hard fan or a casual observer, there’s always something new to learn about this iconic event.