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What to expect by going at the Kentucky Derby

Published on April 23, 2020, 7:49 pm

by Jeff Grant Twitter account Jeff Grant LinkedIn account

The 2020 Kentucky Derby

What great adventure can be better than going for horse racing, or if not racing, sit and enjoy watching a horse race? It is a breathtaking adventure that will leave unforgettable feelings. And if you love high-adrenaline events, I am sure you have heard of Kentucky Derby. However, if you are hearing it for the first time, worry not. By the time you are done reading this article, you will have all the information about this great competition.

Kentucky Derby is a historic annual horse race that is held in Louisville in Kentucky, a state in the United States. The event is mostly held on the first Saturday of May, climaxing a Kentucky Derby Festival that lasts for two weeks. It is the longest sport event in the entire United States.

The history of Kentucky Derby

The genesis of this great event dates back in 1872 when William Clark’s grandson, Meriwether Lewis Clark, toured Europe. During his travel, Clark attended a well-known horse’s race in England, the Epsom Derby, and also joined the French Jockey Club. These experiences that Clark had during his trip, inspired him and they gave the determination to create a horse racing event in the U.S. His uncles, Henry and John Churchill, played a significant role in making his dream come true.

The two uncles gifted Clark a piece of land where he would develop a racetrack. He then formed a formal group known as the Louisville Jockey Club, which involved local race fans. Clark, together with his newly-formed club, raised capital to build a lasting racetrack in Louisville. On 17th May 1875, the first race was held, sponsored by the Jockey Club and won by Oliver Lewis. The ground had about 10,000 spectators, with a total of fifteen horses that were all three years old.

Aristides, the horse who won the 1st Kentucky Derby
A representation of Aristides, the horse mounted by Oliver Lewis who won the 1st Kentucky Derby (courtesy of Kentucky Derby)

Since then, the event has been going on, and over the last three centuries, various changes have occurred which Kentucky Derby has embraced. Some of these changes include:

  • Reducing the racing distance
  • Introducing multiple traditions such as the garland of roses
  • Growth of the Derby crowds

As a result of the growing crowds, a grandstand, 285-foot, was constructed in 1894 to accommodate all the fans. In 1896, Ben Brush won that year’s race and got a flowered arrangement of pink and white roses. Red roses were introduced later in1904, and since then, have become a tradition of this event.

Kentucky Derby popular traditions

Over the last three centuries, since the event began, one clear thing is that change has been inevitable. You can bet on the Derby online from a range of legitimate sites. You can check for every single odds in real-time and all the Kentucky Derby favorites. However, even with all these changes, some trends have become norms and ended up becoming traditions. Some of these norms introduced over a century ago, have become a tradition. These traditions include:

  1. Garland of roses

The first garland of roses was introduced when Ben Brush won the race in 1896 and got an elaborate arrangement of pink and white roses. The red roses would later become the official flowers for the Derby in 1904, and the introduction of the garland of red roses occurred during the 58th horse race when Burgoo King won. And from this, the event acquired its name, ‘the run for the roses.’

  1. Drinking Mint Julep

It is almost a century now since the Mint became the official cocktail of the event since 1938. The cocktail is made with Mint, water, Bourbon, and sugar. Pewter or a silver cup is used to serve the drink. Although the origin of this drink is not known, it has become popular, and a high percentage of people in Kentucky use it. This is mainly because Bourbon, one of the ingredients used in making the drink, is produced here in large quantities.

  1. Singing My Old Kentucky Home song

The song, which was scribed by Stephen Foster, originated around 1852, and is a sort of anti-slavery ballad. In 1928, My Old Kentucky Home became the official song of the Kentucky State, and since then, singing the song has become a tradition in Kentucky Derby.

The Kentucky Derby 2019 (Maximum Security disqualified)

2020 Kentucky Derby’s dates

The event is mainly hosted in May every year. However, this year’s event dates were rescheduled from May to 5th September 2020, mainly due to the pandemic emergence. However, the tickets bought for the original dates are still valid for the new dates. The tickets will be scanned at the gate during the event. Nevertheless, if you already bought tickets but will not be able to attend the event as per the new dates, you have a few options:

  • Resell your ticket via the Kentucky Derby Ticket Exchange market place
  • Request for a refund via online refund request

In conclusion, if you are looking to get a new experience, this year’s Kentucky Derby is a good opportunity for you. With the many activities you have probably missed out on, this is an event you should not let it pass.


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