Known for being one of the most popular events in horse racing history, the running of the 143rd Kentucky Derby is set to kick off on Saturday, May 6, 2017. So famous is the event, that people who only have a superficial knowledge of horse racing are familiar with the ethos surrounding it. Just mention the name “Kentucky Derby” and it is bound to evoke in others images of aristocrats sipping mint juleps in the stands and at tables around the venue. But how much of what is presented in our culture about the Derby is true and what is mere legend? Here are some interesting facts about this venerable race for three-year-old Thoroughbreds.
- The race itself is only two minutes long. In fact, for this reason the race has been dubbed “the most exciting two minutes in sport.”
- Dudley Allen, in 1891, was the last African-American trainer to win the Derby.
- The image we created at the beginning of this post is not entirely incorrect. Each year, more than 100,000 mint juleps (bourbon, water, crushed or shaved ice, and fresh mint) are said to be consumed at Churchill Downs.
- The legendary Secretariat is the fastest horse to have ever raced there. He finished a 1 1/4 mile distance race with a time of 1:59.40. Only a horse named “Monarchos” has finished the race in less than two minutes (1:59.97). This happened back in 2001.
- Every year, more than 400 red roses are draped around the winner of the race. According to KentuckyDerby.com, in 1925 this prompted one columnist to call the Derby the “Run for the Roses.”
- The capacity of Churchill Downs, where the race is held, is roughly 170,000.
- The Kentucky Derby was first run at 1 1⁄2 miles (2.4 kilometers), and only changed to its current 1 1/4 miles (2 kilometers) in 1896.
- Fillies have a terrible win record there. Of 39 fillies, only three won — Regret (1915), Genuine Risk (1980) and Winning Colors (1988).
- The date of the race has not always been on the first Saturday in May. In 1945, the final year of World War II, the date was June 9.
Hopefully, this has demystified some of the facts surrounding this world famous event. At Handozer, we wish to acknowledge this event that equestrians all around the globe are eagerly anticipating. We know our customers can appreciate the effort it takes to prepare such a venue so that the horses, their jockeys and the general public are safe and happy. Proper horse arena grooming takes time, effort and the right equipment. Your horse arena may not be Churchill Downs, but the care you put into it can be just as effective with one of our graders.