The Kentucky Derby Part 2 - The Horses

The current Kentucky Derby field consists of twenty horses, all three years of age. They get in based on their graded stakes race earnings. The top contender this year, Uncle Mo, has already earned his owners 1.3 million.

Fillies are welcome to run, thirty-nine have started, although the ladies have only beat the boys three times in Derby history: Regret (1915), Genuine Risk (1980) and Winning Colors (1988).

Secretariat and his jockey Ron Turcotte
The Derby has produced several superstars, spawning books and movies about their lives. Probably the most famous of these is Secretariat. He was the first to break the two minute mark in the Derby and still holds the fastest finish time ever, clocked at 1:59.40.  ESPN listed Secretariat 35th on the list of the 100 greatest athletes of the 20th century.

Eleven Derby winners have gone on to win the Triple Crown, a series of three races consisting of the Kentucky Derby (Louisville, Kentucky), The Preakness (Baltimore, Maryland), and The Belmont (Elmont, New York).

Triple Crown Winners:
1919  Sir Barton
1930  Gallant Fox 
1935  Omaha
1937  War Admiral
1941  Whirlaway
1943  Count Fleet
1946  Assault
1948  Citation
1973  Secretariat
1977  Seattle Slew 
1978  Affirmed

Why so few? Well, the races are run close together and they get progressively longer. The Derby is 114  miles,  then in two weeks comes the Preakness at 1316 miles, and the Belmont finishes the trifecta just three weeks later at a distance of 112 miles. 

Next week I'll tell you about the traditions surrounding the Derby including sights, sounds and tastes. We'll make fun of some of those crazy hats too.

I'll be doing a special post featuring my Kentucky Derby Contest Of Awesome on Saturday because I want to give you a whole week to enter. You won't want to miss it.


Danette said...

Okay! I told you I'd be back for this (although I've gotten a bit behind and have missed other posts- my apologies) I LOVED Secretariat. I was a huge horse loved and watched that race- the day Secretariat won the Kentucky Derby and cheered him all the way to the Triple Crown. I still get tears in my eyes when I think about it. I loved him like he was my own. I also loved Seattle Slew and later had a huge crush on Steve Cauthen a jockey who was the youngest jockey to win the Triple Crown on Affirmed-- also a gorgeous horse! and great-great grandson of War Admiral which makes him a great-great-great grandson of Man O' War who may have been the greatest hose of all time!. Can you tell I loved horses?? I had a scrap book full of newspaper clippings from the triple crown at the time. In fact my childhood dream was to be a jockey!!! Until I got to be about 5'4". Then I knew I was already WAY too tall. Imagine your dreams crushed when you're in 5th grade. lol.

So I'll definitely be checking back in and picking a winner!

Old Kitty said...

Yay for these amazing athletic horses and their riders! Take care

Lisa Potts said...

Danette, Steve Cauthen was adorable, but WAY too short.
Glad to find a fellow horse racing enthusiast.

Kitty, thanks for stopping by. Have a great weekend!

Back to Top