Horses, Hats, and a Dash of Luck; 7 Fun Facts About the Kentucky Derby

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Kentucky Derby

With the 145th Annual Kentucky Derby due on 4th May, we thought it would be nice to peek down memory lane and remind you a few things about the iconic horse race.
1. The race comes in many names
The two most popular names are “The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports” and “The Run of the Roses.” The first name, “Greatest Two Minutes in Sports” comes from the fact that the race usually lasts an action-packed 2 minutes. “The Run of the Roses” comes from the garland of 554 roses draped over the winner.
2. It’s held at the same time every year
The Derby takes place on the first Saturday of May every year at the Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. Incredibly, the race has never been postponed due to rain or bad weather. Not that there’s usually no rain. Last year, for example, there was 2.31 inches of rain. But that didn’t stop it.
3. The day before the derby, there’s the Kentucky Oaks
Founded around the same time as the Derby, the first Kentucky Oaks race was held on May 19, 1875, just two days after the Kentucky Derby. The winner of the Oaks also traditionally receives a garland, the only difference being that the Oaks garland is made of lilies rather than roses; thus the name “lilies for the fillies.”
4. “S” is the magic letter
While we don’t know who will win this year’s race, history favors those with names starting with the letter “S.” Over the last 144 years, 19 winners have had names that start with that letter. This translates to a 13.2% chance for winning. The fastest winner to date, for instance, was called Secretariat.
5. A lot of food is served on that Saturday
On average, the viewers (who come from all over the world) eat; 300,000 strawberries, 142,000 hot dogs, 32,400 jumbo shrimp, 30,000 cookies, 18,000 barbecue sandwiches, 9,000 scallops, and 8,000 pounds of potatoes. At least 120,000 mint juleps are also consumed. Remember that mint julep is the Derby’s official drink.
6. When it comes to winners, surprises abound

First off, women participate in the event all the time. However, no woman has ever won it. The closest a female jockey came to winning was when Shelley Riley came second in 1992. With regards to age, though, there’s not telling. The youngest jockey to win turned 15 on Derby day while the oldest winner was Bill Shoemaker at 54 years of age.
7. Bettors are always waiting to pounce
While the cheering certainly takes place on the field, profits are often made off it. Sports gamblers worldwide are well aware of the Derby and eagerly await the event. Records show that over $150 million was wagered in the last decade alone. You can bet that there are currently several thousand people waiting to bet on Kentucky Derby 2019.
Have Your Bought Your Hat Yet?

If you’re one of the thousands of die-hards hoping to attend this year’s event, remember that it’s also an occasion to showcase fashion. This is the time to start shopping for those Derby hats.

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