The Crazy World of the Kentucky Derby

Kim Kardashian at the 135th Kentucky Derby 2009. Image credit Getty.

With the 143rd Kentucky Derby going down this weekend, here’s a peek into the wacky world of the iconic horse racing event. 

The 143rd Kentucky Derby falling Saturday 6 May 2017 is set to be another huge, dazzling, impressive horse racing event only a southern state in America knows how to put on.


The Race

Falling on the first Saturday in May each year, the Kentucky Derby is now in its 143rd year. It takes place at the dirt track at Churchill Downs in Louisville Kentucky, with 20 (three year old) horses competing for $2 million (US) in prize money.

The race has been nicknamed The Run for the Roses, due to the tradition of the winner being draped in a garland of 500-something red roses. It’s also referred to as “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports”, as that’s around how long it usually takes for the winner to reach the winning post.

The Kentucky Derby is incontestably one of the world’s most famous horse racing events.

Kentucky Derby winnerKentucky DerbyRon Turcotte winner Kentucky Derby 1973


The Fashion

Big, bright, in-your-face fashion is the order of the day. It’s racing southern style y’all. If you don’t need a neck brace by the end of the day (from supporting over-sized millinery on your head), you’ve done something wrong.

Kentucky Derby fashion Kentucky Derby fashion Kentucky Derby fashion Kentucky Derby fashion Kentucky Derby fashionKentucky Derby fashion Kentucky Derby fashion


The Celebs

As you would imagine, the Kentucky Derby has attracted its fair share of VIPs over the years. Here’s a few you might recognise:

Kentucky Derby Usher Kentucky Derby Kim Kardashian Kentucky Derby Ashton Kutcher Kentucky Derby Josh Duhamel Kentucky Derby Kate Upton

From the top: Usher (2006). Kim Kardashian and Kris Jenner (2009). Ashton Kutcher (2012). Josh Duhamel (2016). Kate Upton (2016).

The Beverage of Choice

Synonymous with the Kentucky Derby is the mint julep, the traditional beverage of the event for nearly a century. A refreshing blend of mint (of course), sugar syrup, bourbon whiskey and crushed ice, thirsty crowds consume around 120,000 of these over race day weekend.

Kentucky Derby Mint Julep Kentucky Derby Mint Julep


The Crowds

Around 155,00 people attend Churchill Downs in Louisville Kentucky to watch the race each year. That’s nearly 60,000 more people than the attendance at Flemington on Melbourne Cup Day. We wouldn’t like to imagine the toilet and bar queues, but the atmosphere is breath taking.

Kentucky Derby crowd Kentucky Derby crowd

All images Getty.

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