Editor’s Note: This is an updated story first published in May 2018.
The Derby was first held in 1875
Secretariat, the 1973 winner, still holds the track record
It’s often referred to as “The most exciting two minutes in sports.”
So what makes the Kentucky Derby so special?
Here are five reasons not to miss America’s sporting and cultural icon, which will be held on May 4 at Churchill Downs race track in Louisville, Kentucky.
It’s America’s longest running sports event
The first Kentucky Derby was held on May 17, 1875, when a crowd of 10,000 saw three-year-old chestnut colt Aristides, ridden by African-American jockey Oliver Lewis, triumph at Churchill Downs.
The Derby has been held at the same venue ever since, even during both World Wars and the Great Depression of the 1930s, making it the country’s longest continuously held sports event.
The 145th edition of the mile-and-a-quarter race for three-year-old thoroughbreds is expected to attract more than 150,000 spectators.
The Derby is the first leg of racing’s prestigious Triple Crown, which also consists of the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore and the Belmont Stakes in Belmont Park, New York.