The Kentucky Derby is one of the three big races that are run annually by a group of thoroughbred horses in America. Together with the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes, the three races are known as the Triple Crown.
It is a very festive horse race that has been held annually in Louisville, Kentucky in the United States since 1875. The race is also famously known as â€œThe Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sportsâ€ and â€œThe Run for the Rosesâ€. These phrases have been coined as a result of some key characteristics of the race. It is a 1.25 mile race in which three-year-old thoroughbred horses participate.
The race takes about two minutes to complete, thus the first phrase. The last phrase comes about because of the blanket of roses, which is draped over the winner of the race. Despite being only the first leg of the Triple Crown, it ranks first in attendance in the entire North America with an average attendance of 150,000 people every year.
This race is held on the first Saturday of May each year. Twenty horses participate in the race where a total cash prize of two million dollars is up for grabs. The winner gets close to three quarters of that amount and also gets to go home with the three and a half pound Kentucky Derby Trophy.
A two-week festival known as the Kentucky Derby Festival usually precedes the Derby itself. This festival features the largest annual
fireworks display in North America, which is simply known as Thunder over Louisville. This is just one of the examples of the numerous cultural events that take place during this two-week period of pomp and celebrations.
The Kentucky Derby is saturated with traditions that help complete the derby atmosphere. A few of the notable examples include mint julep, which is the official drink for the derby, burgoo, a meal made especially during this festive period and lingo such as the Millionaireâ€™s Row, the Derby hat parade and The Infield.
- Mint julep is the trademark drink for the Kentucky Derby. It is made of bourbon, mint and very sweet syrup served in commemorative Derby glasses. These are available during the entire Festival and of course, at the track itself.
- Burgoo is the traditional meal of the Derby. It is a thick stew with chunks of meat, corn, okra and lima beans.
- The Derby Hat Parade arises from the fancy hats adorned by the women who attend the Kentucky Derby. It is a stylish yet still humorous affair as hats of all kinds can be seen at the Derby.
- The Millionaireâ€™s Row is the name given to the seating area that houses the elite of the society. This is similar to the VIP section in any event. It houses the extremely rich and famous and is not accessible by the general public.
- The Infield is the location where the largest party of the event takes place.
There is a catalogue of activities to indulge in during the build up and on the race day itself. These include colorful art fairs, parades, marathons, hot air balloon festivals and of course, wagering on the horses. Tickets for the Kentucky Derby will allow you to experience one of the greatest sporting events to take place in the United States every year.