The most exciting two minutes in sports is quickly approaching. This year marks the 142nd running of the Kentucky Derby, so get your racing forms and betting slips in order. We’re going to get you started at the gate with some fun facts and interesting trivia about this historic race, so when your Last Call team is neck and neck down the stretch with the competition at trivia night, your Derby knowledge will help to win by a nose at the finish line.
Held on the first Saturday in May every year at historic Churchill Downs in Louisville, the Kentucky Derby attracts over 150,000 fans, wearing their best seersucker suits and gaudy hats.
The first Kentucky Derby took place in 1875. In 1896 the race was shortened from 1.5 miles to 1.25 miles, or 10 furlongs. 20 horses race these 10 furlongs to compete for a winning purse of $2 million. That’s a lot of oats and carrots.
Stephen Foster’s ‘My Old Kentucky Home’ is played each year by the University of Louisville marching band as the horses are led onto the track before the race, a tradition dating back to 1921. Other traditions include a garland of roses to the winner, and an itchy, burlap kerchief for the last place jockey to wear in shame (not really).
The traditional drink of the Kentucky Derby is a Mint Julep. This cocktail, made mostly from Bourbon, simple syrup and mint, is consumed at a rate of over 120,000 a year at Churchill Downs. Typically served out of silver julep cups, the cocktail is so good we’d drink it out of a shoe.
Arguably the greatest racing horse of all time, Secretariat holds the record for fastest Kentucky Derby winner, with a time of 1:59 2/5. This legendary horse went on to win racing’s coveted Triple Crown in 1973.
Last year a total of $162.7 million was wagered on the Kentucky Derby. The longest shot to ever win the Derby was Donerail, going off at 91.45 to 1 odds in 1913. I shoulda put ten bucks on it…
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