Kentucky Derby 2023-What to Expect from the Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports
The Kentucky Derby is one of the most prestigious and thrilling horse races in the world. Every year, on the first Saturday in May, 20 of the best three-year-old thoroughbreds compete for the coveted trophy and a place in history. The race is held at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, and attracts a crowd of over 150,000 spectators, as well as millions of viewers around the globe.
But the Kentucky Derby is more than just a race. It is a celebration of tradition, culture, and style. Here are some of the things you can look forward to in the 2023 edition of the Run for the Roses.
The History and the Horses
The Kentucky Derby has been running since 1875, making it the oldest continuously held sporting event in America. It is also the first leg of the Triple Crown, followed by the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. Only 13 horses have ever won all three races, the most recent being Justify in 2018.
The horses that run in the Kentucky Derby are selected based on a points system that ranks their performance in various prep races throughout the year. The top 20 horses earn a spot in the starting gate, while four alternates are also chosen in case of scratches. The horses are assigned post positions by a random draw, which can have a significant impact on their chances of winning.
The race itself is a mile and a quarter long, or 10 furlongs. The track is made of dirt and has two turns. The horses run counter-clockwise and have to navigate through traffic and avoid collisions. The fastest time ever recorded was 1:59.40 by Secretariat in 1973.
The race is often unpredictable and full of surprises. Longshots have won several times, such as Mine That Bird in 2009, who paid $103.20 for a $2 bet. Favorites have also faltered, such as California Chrome in 2014, who finished fourth after winning the first two legs of the Triple Crown.
The Fashion and the Festivities
The Kentucky Derby is not only a sporting event, but also a social one. It is a chance for people to dress up and show off their style and personality. The most iconic accessory is the hat, which can range from elegant to extravagant. Some hats are adorned with flowers, feathers, ribbons, or even miniature horses. Others are more whimsical and creative, such as hats shaped like cakes, cocktails, or animals.
The attire for men is usually more conservative, but still colorful and classy. Suits, blazers, vests, and ties are common choices, often in pastel shades or patterns. Some men also opt for bow ties or suspenders to add some flair.
The Kentucky Derby is also known for its food and drink. The official drink of the event is the mint julep, a refreshing concoction of bourbon, mint, sugar, and crushed ice. The official dish is the burgoo, a hearty stew of meat and vegetables. Other popular foods include hot browns, Benedictine sandwiches, Derby pie, and fried chicken.
The Kentucky Derby is also preceded by a two-week festival that features various events and activities for all ages. Some of the highlights include:
- The Thunder Over Louisville: A spectacular fireworks and air show that kicks off the festival.
- The Great Balloon Race: A hot air balloon competition that showcases colorful and creative designs.
- The Pegasus Parade: A parade that features floats, bands, celebrities, and equestrian units.
- The Steamboat Race: A riverboat race that pits two historic vessels against each other.
- The Marathon and Mini Marathon: A running event that covers 26.2 or 13.1 miles through scenic Louisville.
- The Taste of Derby: A culinary event that showcases dishes from renowned chefs and restaurants.
The Kentucky Derby is more than just a race. It is an experience that you will never forget. Whether you are a fan of horse racing or not, you will find something to enjoy and appreciate in this amazing spectacle. Don't miss your chance to witness history in the making at the Kentucky Derby 2023!