Interesting Facts About the Kentucky Derby

Five Things About the Derby You Can Use to Impress Your Friends

By Chantelle Kadala

As one of the world’s premier horse-racing events, with a rich history of exciting horse racing, betting and celebrity sightings spanning back to 1875, the Kentucky Derby has fascinated horse, race and gambling fans for almost a century and a half.

Often referred to as “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports” according to ESPN, the Kentucky Derby is an American institution that celebrates tradition and throws one of the best parties you’ll find in the south. It also fills whatever sports talk gaps can be found in between the hockey championship recaps and the upcoming NFL draft. And that is all very interesting but what can you add to the conversation?

Here are 5 Things You Can Pretend You Always Knew about the Kentucky Derby

  1. Kentucky Derby horses were failing drug test long before American ball players. Dancer’s Image won the derby in 1968 and when a post-race urinalysis test found traces of the anti-inflammatory drug that was illegal at Churchill Downs, Dancer’s Image was disqualified and Forward Pass was named the winner.
  2. You might be using the term “thoroughbred” wrong. Unless you are deep into horse racing you wouldn’t know that it is a thoroughbred race but not all purebred horses or racing horses are thoroughbreds. Thoroughbreds are their own breed and every thoroughbred can have their lineage linked back to one of three studs – Darley Arabian, Godolphin Barb and Byerly Turk. These three studs were imported into England from North Africa and the Middle East in the 17th and 18th centuries.
  3. African-American jockeys rode to victory in over half of the first 28 years. Barely 10 years removed from the Civil war, a majority of the both the riders and horse trainers were black. Playing a major role in the development of the sport they rode to victory 15 times in the first quarter century of the Kentucky Derby.
  4. The fastest two minutes in sports has only been less than two minutes twice. Once, in 1973, the famous Secretariat took to a fast track and beat second place Sham’s 1:59.80 time with a 1:59.40 run. The only other race to beat two minutes was Monarchos 2001 win with a time of 1:59.97.
  5. No other American sport can match the 18 karat gold, jade-based, 22 inch tall trophy . Craftsman work hundreds of hours over months to handcraft the entire trophy with the exception of the horse and rider which are both cast from a mold. In 2014 the trophy will feature a garland of roses made up of more than 300 rubies, a band of 12 emeralds below the nose and a band of 50 rubies set in the 18 karat gold filigree just below the rim.

Now when everyone is talking about the Kentucky Derby and Triple Crowns you have five ways to finish the sentence, “I bet you didn’t know…”


In Depth History of Kentucky Derby” – Derby Craze

Kentucky Derby History ” – Kentucky Derby Info Site

Kentucky Derby” – Official Kentucky Derby Site