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