Some call it the “most exciting two minutes in sports,” in reference to the speed of good, old-fashioned horse power and the millions of dollars that ride on the outcome. Others call it the “run for the roses,” given the giant floral garnish donned by the fastest pair in the winner’s circle. But you probably know this annual celebration of hats, horses and hooch as the Kentucky Derby, or the first leg of the Triple Crown.
This year marks the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby, held each May at Louisville’s historic Churchill Downs Racetrack. Yet only 36 mounts have followed up a Derby victory with a win in the Triple Crown’s second leg, the Preakness Stakes. And a mere 13 have then sealed the deal in the Belmont Stakes. That includes 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify. The chance to see history is nevertheless just one element of what makes the Kentucky Derby so special.
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More than 120,000 Mint Juleps are served each year, for one thing. The most fashionable headgear also is on display, as roughly 90% of female attendees embrace the time-honored tradition of big hats at the race track. It’s really just a big party, and to help get you in the spirit for this year’s festivities, we analyzed the event from all angles. We researched everything from betting slips and boozing to spectator fashion and stud fees in search of the best Kentucky Derby facts and stats out there.