“And They‘re Off”

Hats. Hats. Hats. Hats. Hats. Hats. RACE!!!!!  Hats. Hats. Hats. Hats. Hats. 

Like most things “spring” – turning of the season, start of baseball, basketball and hockey play-off games galore, spring flower bed clean-up and a trip or two or three to the garden center, cleaning out the garage, and more, one of my favorite traditions is the running of the Kentucky Derby. Often referred to as “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports” due to the race’s approximate duration, the Derby is packed with anticipation and excitement as the horses run 1 1/4 miles, and typically finishes in under two minutes. Like most I love the pageantry, the crazy money invested in horses and of course all of those crazy amazing women’s hats.  I did a bit of digging, and found out May 17th, 1875 was the date of the inaugural race. This year marks the 150th anniversary! Here’s some fun info you can share at your mint julip party.  Thanks to Google, Wikipedia, the chunkychef.com, townandcountrymagazine.com, nbcbayarea.com, and YouTube for the info.  Enjoy!

The Kentucky Derby, known as “The Run for the Roses” or “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports,” first ran on May 17th, 1875. The inaugural race was won by Aristides, ridden by Oliver Lewis, and trained by Ansel Williamson. The winning horse was owned by H.P. McGrath. At that first race there were approximately ten thousand spectators that came to watch Aristides win that inaugural race. The purse was $3,050, with first place receiving $2,850 and second place receiving $200. That purse is today’s money would equate to $70,483.28. The purse for 2024, which only goes to first five is over $3 million.

The Kentucky Derby is one of the oldest continuously held sporting events in the United States. The first live radio broadcast of the Kentucky Derby was in 1925, and the first live television coverage of the race was in 1952.

One of the most iconic symbols of the Kentucky Derby is the twin spires. These spires sit atop the grandstand at Churchill Downs, the venue for the Derby. The Twin Spires were constructed in 1895 and have been an iconic part of the race ever since. Video Here

A starting gate is used to ensure a fair start to the race. It helps in organizing the horses and jockeys before the race begins

The post position from which horses start is crucial. The most successful post position in Kentucky Derby history is post position 5 and 10, with nine wins. Being “on the inside” sometimes forces the horse to hug the rail and get cut off from the front.  Learn More Here

The song “My Old Kentucky Home” has been played at the Kentucky Derby since 1921. It is a tradition for the crowd to sing along as the horses make their way to the starting gate.  Song Here

The mint julep is the traditional beverage of the Kentucky Derby. This cocktail is made with bourbon, mint, sugar, and water. It has been the traditional beverage of Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby for nearly a century. Recipe Here

The winning horse of the Kentucky Derby is draped with a garland of roses. This tradition began in 1896 when the winning jockey, Ben Brush, was presented with a bouquet of roses. The red rose became the official flower of the Kentucky Derby in 1904, and the garland has been awarded to the winner ever since.

The Kentucky Derby is unique in that it is only open to three-year-old Thoroughbred horses. This adds to the excitement, as it’s a one-time chance for these horses to compete in the prestigious event. The Kentucky Oaks is a race for three-year-old Thoroughbred fillies (young female horses) held annually the day before the Kentucky Derby. It’s considered the premier race for fillies in the United States.

In 1973, Secretariat won the Kentucky Derby with a record time of 1:59 2/5, a record that still stands today. Secretariat’s performance in the Derby is considered one of the greatest moments in sports history.

Eddie Arcaro and Bill Hartack hold the record for the most Kentucky Derby wins by a jockey, each with five wins.  The trainer with the most Kentucky Derby wins is Ben A. Jones, who won six times between 1938 and 1952.

The Kentucky Derby is as much about fashion as it is about horse racing. Attendees often wear extravagant hats and outfits, adding to the pageantry and spectacle of the event. See Hats Here  I trust you all realize that this fashion is truly lost on me!

The highest attendance at the Kentucky Derby was recorded in 2015, with over 170,000 people attending the race.  The Kentucky Derby Festival, which precedes the Kentucky Derby, features more than 70 events and is attended by over 1.5 million people annually. Most never get to see the race live due to limited seating

The trophy awarded to the winner of the Kentucky Derby is made of 56 ounces of 14-karat gold and stands 22 inches tall. It has an estimated value of $200,000.

In 1970, Diane Crump became the first woman to ride in the Kentucky Derby. She rode a horse named Fathom and finished 15th.  African American jockeys dominated the early years of the Kentucky Derby. Between 1875 and 1902, 15 of the 28 derbies were won by African American jockeys.

In 1913, Donerail won the Kentucky Derby at odds of 91-1, making it the longest shot to ever win the race. A $2 winning bet paid $184.90.

During World War II, the Derby was not held due to the war effort. From 1942 to 1945, Churchill Downs was used as a military hospital. The Kentucky Derby in 2020 was also postponed from May 2 to September 5 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2005, Giacomo won the Kentucky Derby at 50-1 odds, resulting in the second-highest payout in Derby history.  On a $2 bet for Win, Place, Show, Giacomo paid $102.60, $45.80, $19.80.

The nickname “The Run for the Roses” originated in 1925 when New York sports columnist Bill Corum first used the term. It refers to the blanket of roses draped over the winner of the Kentucky Derby.

The betting handle for the 2024 Kentucky Derby could exceed previous years. A conservative estimate might put the handle at around $200-250 million. A more optimistic estimate might put the handle closer to $300 million.

The Kentucky Derby is the first leg of the American Triple Crown, followed by the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. Only thirteen horses have won the Triple Crown, with the most recent being Justify in 2018.

After the Kentucky Derby The Preakness Stakes is the second leg of the Triple Crown, held two weeks after the Kentucky Derby. It is hosted at Pimlico Racecourse in Baltimore, Maryland, and the horses run 1 3/16 of a mile.

The Belmont Stakes, the third and final leg of the Triple Crown, is held three weeks after the Preakness Stakes. It is hosted at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. If a horse has won both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, the Belmont Stakes becomes a highly anticipated event as it is their chance to win the Triple Crown.

The Belmont Stakes is considered the “Test of the Champion” due to its longer distance (1 ½ miles) compared to the Derby and the Preakness.

Only 13 horses have won the Triple Crown: Sir Barton (1919), Gallant Fox (1930), Omaha (1935), War Admiral (1937), Whirlaway (1941), Count Fleet (1943), Assault (1946), Citation (1948), Secretariat (1973), Seattle Slew (1977), Affirmed (1978), American Pharoah (2015), and Justify (2018).


Me, too.

As you may know the Kowalski Heat Treating logo finds its way
into the visuals of my Friday posts.
I.  Love.  My.  Logo.
One week there could be three logos.
The next week there could be 15 logos.
And sometimes the logo is very small or just a partial logo showing.
But there are always logos in some of the pictures.
So, I challenge you, my beloved readers, to count them and send me a
quick email with the total number of logos in the Friday post.
On the following Tuesday I’ll pick a winner from the correct answers
and send that lucky person some great KHT swag.
So, start counting and good luck!  
Oh, and the logos at the very top header don’t count.
Got it? Good.  :-))))
Have fun!!


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