The Kentucky Derby is a Grade I stakes race for three-year-old Thoroughbreds, held annually in Louisville, Kentucky, United States, on the first Saturday in May, capping the two-week-long Kentucky Derby Festival.
- The race is one and a quarter miles (2 km) at Churchill Downs.
- Colts and geldings carry 126 pounds (57 kilograms) and fillies 121 pounds (55 kilograms).
- The race is known in the United States as “The Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports” or “The Fastest Two Minutes in Sports” for its approximate duration.
- It is also called “The Run for the Roses” for the blanket of roses draped over the winner.
- It is the first leg of the US Triple Crown and is followed by the Preakness Stakes, then the Belmont Stakes.
- A horse must win all three races to win the Triple Crown.
- Unlike the Preakness and Belmont Stakes, which took hiatuses in 1891-1893 and 1911-1912 respectively, the Kentucky Derby has been run every consecutive year since 1875.
- The attendance at the Kentucky Derby ranks first in North America and usually surpasses the attendance of all other stakes races including the Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes and the Breeders’ Cup.
- The fastest time ever run in the Derby (at its present distance) was set in 1973 at 1 minute 59 2/5 seconds when Secretariat broke the record set by Northern Dancer in 1964.
- Not only has Secretariat’s record time stood for 39 years and counting, but in the race itself, he did something unique in Triple Crown races: each successive quarter, his times were faster.
- Sham had 2nd or 3rd best time in history- Though times for non-winners were not recorded, in 1973 Sham finished second, two and a half lengths behind Secretariat in the same race. Using the thoroughbred racing convention of one length equaling one-fifth of a second to calculate Sham’s time, he also finished in under two minutes. Another sub-two-minute finish, only the third, was set in 2001 by Monarchos at 1:59.97.
Kentucky Derby Website: http://www.kentuckyderby.com/
Past Results, order of finish, time, video: http://www.horseracingnation.com/stakes/Kentucky_Derby