2021 Kentucky Derby: A Beginner’s Guide

Kentucky Derby is not your ordinary horse racing event. This American sports event is rich in traditions that make it stand out among the rest. The Kentucky Derby became part of the celebration of the southern culture in America. This sports event is not “The Kentucky Derby” without its mint julep, fancy dresses and hats, roses, and the singing of the My Old Kentucky Home.

What is the Kentucky Derby?

Kentucky Derby is a horse racing sports event that commences every first Saturday of May annually. This prestigious American event runs at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. It draws a crowd of 155,000 spectators, more or less, annually. It is also one of the sports events to bet for. If you are interested in wagering on your favorite horse, you can go to racebooks for useful tips.

The Beginning of Kentucky Derby

The history of this sports event begins way back in the 1870s. In one of his travels, Colonel Meriwether Lewis Clark attended a derby in Europe and got inspired to create a horse racing event back at home in Louisville, Kentucky. His uncles gifted him land to develop a racetrack on, and he also organized the Louisville Jockey Club together with other local horse race fans to raise funds.

With 10,000 spectators, the very first Kentucky derby was launched on May 17th, 1875. The Louisville Jockey Club sponsored it, and its very first winner is Aristides, who raced 1.5 miles along with the fifteen horses to compete.

A lot has changed in Kentucky Derby’s history over the years that made it “The Kentucky Derby” of today. One notable change is the Derby race’s distance and the number of participating thoroughbreds. They reduced it from 1.5 to 1.2 miles and from fifteen horses to twenty horses. Below are some important events in the Kentucky Derby History



Churchill Downs

The name “Churchill Downs” was first used in 1883 to landmark the Kentucky Derby racetrack. And in 1986, the Churchill Downs Racetrack was registered in the National Historic Landmarks. But things changed after the Twin Spires was constructed.

Twin Spires

Joseph Dominic Baldez was asked to draw the blueprint for the new grandstand in Churchill Downs. The twin spires were originally not included in the design, but he felt that something was missing in the design structure as he continued working. That is why he added the Twin Spires. The Twin Spires was constructed and greeted the crowd in 1895. Since then, it became a recognized landmark of the Kentucky Derby.

Garland of Roses

When Ben Brush received a pink and white floral arrangement of roses after he won in 1896, the idea of the garland of roses was born. After that event, the garland of roses became a tradition in the Kentucky derby. The first winner who was draped in a garland of roses is Burgoo King in 1932. The Kroger Company has been crafting the garland for the Kentucky Derby since 1987 to date.

Triple Crown

The idea of a triple crown started in 1919. It is when sir Barton won four events, including the Kentucky Derby, in 32 days. In 1930, they officially used the term Triple Crown. The triple crown is the most difficult accomplishment in horse racing. The only way to achieve the Triple crown, a thoroughbred must win three events. To date, only thirteen horses have achieved the Triple Crown.

The Event

The Kentucky Derby is a really big event to look forward to every first Saturday of May. The information above is just to give you a better understanding of the Kentucky Derby. So, are you ready to watch the Kentucky Derby and drink a glass of mint juleps?

The Kentucky Derby is not just a horse racing event. It is famous for its fancy activities and galas; its fashion fun shows the southern style, especially the fancy hats; and let’s not forget the refreshing mint juleps served over the derby’s two-day period. But before talking about traditions, let us first tell you how the race works.

How does the race work?

You can’t just go into any sports events without knowing how it works, right? Horse racing has always been a global sport, so is the Kentucky Derby. But being a horse alone is not the only qualification to join the event. Scroll down, and we’ll answer some of your questions.

What horse is qualified to be in the game?

The Kentucky Derby is literally a once-in-a-lifetime sports event for horses because only three-year-old thoroughbreds can join the race. The competition is fierce, and that makes winning a really big deal for the 2021 contenders.

How to be qualified?

To qualify for the final game. The horses must join the prep race and gain points. Now, what is a prep race? A prep race is a series of competitions before the Kentucky Derby and is done from September to April. It helps horses qualify as one of the 20 horses to compete in the final race.