The Kentucky Derby was first held in 1875 and ranks as the longest continuously held major sporting event in the United States.
This year will mark the 149th edition of the Run For The Roses, which had been held on the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs every year since 1946 before the COVID-19 pandemic forced the postponement of the race in 2020 until September 5th.
The rich history surrounding the first jewel of the Triple Crown includes plenty of interesting facts about the race that ARISTIDES Won in the inaugural event back in the 19th Century.
Here’s a dozen Derby factoids to use as icebreakers when the Mint Juleps begin to flow:
1) The most common color of Kentucky Derby Winners is bay with 56, followed by chestnut with 48 Winners and brown with 17. Eight Kentucky Derby Winners were gray or roan, most recently GIACOMO in 2005.
2) Nineteen Kentucky Derby Winners’ names have started with the letter S, the most of any letter; the only three letters not represented by a Derby Winner are Q, X, and Y.
3) There have been nine undefeated Kentucky Derby Winners from 30 undefeated horses who have run in the race since 1915. Triple Crown Winner JUSTIFY in 2018 is the most recent.
4) Bill Shoemaker was 54 years old when he Won the Kentucky Derby in 1986 aboard FERDINAND, the oldest jockey to Win the Derby.
5) The record for the youngest Winning Kentucky Derby jockey is 15 years old, by Alonzo Clayton in 1892 aboard AZRA and James Soup Perkins in 1895 with HALMA.
6) The Florida Derby has produced 24 Kentucky Derby Winners over the years to rank as the most productive prep race on the Derby trail. The Blue Grass Stakes and Champagne Stakes rank 2nd with 23 each.
7) The stretch at Churchill Downs is 1,234 feet long. The late Los Angeles Times columnist Jim Murray once wrote, “The homestretch is 1,234 feet of heartbreak. Trainers swear it’s uphill.”
8) There have been 23 Kentucky Derby’s in which the Winner led from start to finish for a wire-to-wire Victory, most recently AUTHENTIC in 2020.
9) Favorites have Won 56 of the last 148 editions of the Kentucky Derby, including six of the last ten.
10) The Kentucky Derby has been decided by a Winning margin of a neck or less on 25 occasions, so there is a very good chance for a thrilling finish.
11) The record for money wagered Kentucky Derby day came in 2019 when $250,900,257 dollars was wagered on the card of races at Churchill Downs.
12) The 2005 Kentucky Derby produced the record payout for exotic wagers thanks to several massive longshots in the top four, led by 50-1 Winner GIACOMO.
Runner-up CLOSING ARGUMENT was even more overlooked at 72-1 odds and 4th-place finisher DON’T GET MAD was 29-1.
The only well-supported horse to hit the board was 3rd-place finisher AFLEET ALEX, as the 9-2 second betting choice.
As a result, the $2 Exacta paid $9,814.80, the $2 Trifecta returned a whopping $133,134.80, and the $1 Superfecta paid a life-changing $864,253.
That’s a LOT of hay !