All About The Kentucky Derby

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The Kentucky Derby is an annual horse-racing event that happens in Louisville, Kentucky. This year’s event is dated Saturday, 5 2020, in Churchill Downs. 

The Kentucky Derby is the first leg of the American Triple crown competition for Thoroughbreds of only 3 years old and their trainers. The race began in 1875, and participants are expected to run a distance of a mile and quarter. The race attracts spectators and admirers from various parts of the world. The horses, in the hands of their trainers, go through a series of preparatory races, which is called Road to Kentucky Derby. The preparatory races are done across various states in the country, and records are kept to mark the points for performers. The top four horses with the best performing scores are qualified to compete in the Kentucky Derby.

The starters in the race, known as Derby starters, are horses that have the highest score points in the qualifying races. Two out of the 20 top Derby starts are reserved for the qualifiers with the highest score points from the European and Japanese Road to Derby qualifiers’ race.

The event is not without fun. There are associated traditions with the Kentucky Derby. One of the favorite moments that accompany the event is the drinking mint juleps. Amidst the drinking, people pull their hats and sing the anthem, “My Old Kentucky Home” while competing horsemen make their way to the track. A part of the Kentucky Derby tradition is to have the main event ushered in by the Kentucky Oaks, which is known as a sister event, just the day before Kentucky Derby. For the Kentucky Oaks, the race is only exclusive for 3-year-old fillies. Interestingly, both event dates are given as a local holiday, known as Oaks Day and Derby day.

What is in For the Winner?

The winning horse is given a special honor. It gets a blanket of red roses, which is the honorary bouquet for Kentucky Derby. This bouquet earns the event the name, “Run for the Roses.” The winner (horse) gets the sole opportunity to compete at the annual Triple Crown, for the year. That is, the horse has the chance to compete in the two other legs of the series.

What is Next?

After the big win at the Kentucky Derby, the winning horse moves on to compete in the Preakness Stakes, which is the next leg that holds in Baltimore, two weeks after Kentucky Derby. There is also the Belmont Stakes three weeks later in Belmont, New York.

The opportunity to compete in the Kentucky Derby happens by getting points in the prep races that occur from September through April. A maximum of 20 horses is allowed to run in the Kentucky Derby at the moment. Albeit, the largest number recorded in history was 23, in 1974. The points count from 1 to 100. The 2020 Point Standings, so far, has the top three winners having the points, 122, 104, and 74, for the horses “Tiz the Law,” “Wells Bayou,” and “Ete Indien” respectively.

Find out about more big horse races, such as Royal Ascot and the Epsom Derby, in the UK.

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