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About Kentucky Derby

About The Kentucky Derby

Sports institutions don't get much more classic than The Kentucky Derby, one of the oldest and most popular sporting events in the world. Crowds well in excess of 150,000 turn out every year on the first Saturday in May to watch this thoroughbred stakes race, taking part in a piece of American history. 

Lovers of the racing, the excitement, and the pageantry have been turning out to see The Kentucky Derby every year since 1875. That's when Meriwether Lewis Clark Jr. (grandson of legendary explorer William Clark) first brought the finest horses around to race at a new track in Louisville, Kentucky, that would later be dubbed Churchill Downs. 

Ever since then, no matter what else was going on in the country — The Great Depression, World War I, World War II, or any other calamity — The Kentucky Derby went on, an irreplaceable part of the fabric of American life. Over the years, an entire culture has grown up around the race affectionately known as The Run for the Roses. Racegoers enjoy traditional mint juleps and burgoo stew to the playing of "My Old Kentucky Home," while the ladies show off lavish derby hats. 

There's no thrill quite like the one that happens when you're watching world-class horses and jockeys work their way across the track on what has come to be widely known as "the most exciting two minutes in sports." 

Naturally, the Derby tradition is rich with legendary jockeys — including record-breakers like Eddie Arcaro and Bill Hartack — and historic horses like Old Rosebud, Whirlaway, and Secretariat. More contemporary winners like Mike E. Smith on Justify and Victor Espinoza on American Pharoah carry the torch forward, bringing the best of horse racing to one of the world's most fabulously fun athletic events year after year.