Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby is a Grade 1 stakes race for 3 year old Thoroughbred horses. The race distance is one and one-quarter miles long, and it is run on the dirt racetrack at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky (USA).

The race is known as “The Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports” or “The Fastest Two Minutes in Sports” for its duration, and the race is also called “The Run for the Roses” for the blanket of roses draped over the winner of the race.

There are 20 horses that compete in the Kentucky Derby, which is a larger amount then most horse races; where on average 8 horses race against each other. The 20 horses racing in the Kentucky Derby must first go along the Road to the Kentucky Derby, which is a series of 35 horse races taking place at tracks across the USA and the rest of the world. Points are awarded to the top 4 horses that finish in each of those 35 races, and the 20 horses with the most points earn a spot at the start of the Kentucky Derby race. The Kentucky Derby winning purse is $2 million.

The Kentucky Derby was established in 1875 and takes place on the first Saturday in May every year, and typically draws around 150,000 spectators. It is the longest continually held sporting event in America, and it is one of the most prestigious horse races in the world
The Kentucky Derby is the first race within the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing, where it is followed by the Preakness Stakes race and the Belmont Stakes race.

With five Kentucky Derby wins each, jockeys Eddie Arcaro and Bill Hartack share the record for most Derbies won. Though the Derby is often called “the most exciting two minutes in sports,” There are only two horses that officially finished the race in under two minutes.

The course record was set in 1973 by the famous horse Secretariat, who finished in 1:59.30 The second horse to surpass the two-minute mark was Monarchos, who won the 2001 Kentucky Derby in 1:59.97.

Over the years the Kentucky Derby became not just the leading American horse race but also a broader cultural festival as well. Tens of thousands of visitors annually head to Churchill Downs to partake in the various events.

Kentucky Derby Winners Since 2000

Year Winner Jockey Trainer Owner Time
2017 Always Dreaming John R. Velazquez Todd Pletcher Brooklyn Boyz Stables 2:03.59
2016 Nyquist Mario Gutierrez Doug F. O’Neill Reddam Racing LLC 2:01:31
2015 American Pharoah  Victor Espinoza Bob Baffert Ahmed Zayat 2:03.02
2014 California Chrome Victor Espinoza Art Sherman Steve and Carolyn Coburn & Perry and Denise Martin 2:03.66
2013 Orb Joel Rosario Claude R. “Shug” McGaughey III Stuart Janney III & Phipps Stable (Ogden Mills “Dinny” Phipps) 2:02.89
2012 I’ll Have Another Mario Gutierrez Doug O’Neill J. Paul Reddam 2:01.83
2011 Animal Kingdom John Velazquez H. Graham Motion Team Valor International 2:02.04
2010 Super Saver Calvin Borel Todd Pletcher WinStar Farm LLC. 2:04.45
2009 Mine That Bird Calvin Borel Bennie Woolley Jr. Double Eagle Ranch & Bueno Suerte Equine 2:02.66
2008 Big Brown Kent Desormeaux Richard Dutrow, Jr. IEAH Stable (Michael Iavarone) and Paul P. Pompa Jr. 2:01.82
2007 Street Sense Calvin Borel Carl Nafzger James B. Tafel 2:02.17
2006 Barbaro Edgar Prado Michael Matz Lael Stables (Roy & Gretchen Jackson) 2:01.36
2005 Giacomo Mike Smith John Shirreffs Mr. & Mrs. Jerome S. Moss 2:02.75
2004 Smarty Jones Stewart Elliott John Servis Someday Farm 2:04.06
2003 Funny Cide José Santos Barclay Tagg Sackatoga Stable (Jackson Knowlton) 2:01.19
2002 War Emblem Victor Espinoza Bob Baffert The Thoroughbred Corporation 2:01.13
2001 Monarchos Jorge Chavez John T. Ward, Jr. John C. Oxley 1:59.97
2000 Fusaichi Pegasus Kent Desormeaux Neil D. Drysdale Fusao Sekiguchi 2:01