The Kentucky Derby is a thoroughbred horse race held annually in Louisville, Kentucky, United States.
The race is known as “The Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports” and is the first leg of the American Triple Crown, followed by the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes.
The race was first held in 1875 and has since become one of the most prestigious and famous horse races in the world.
When Is The Kentucky Derby 2023?
The 2023 Kentucky Derby is scheduled to take place on Saturday, May 6th, 2023.
The competition is a Grade I stakes race for three-year-old Thoroughbreds. It is run over a distance of one and a quarter miles (2.0 km) at Churchill Downs.
Unlike handicapped races, each runner will carry the same amount of weight. So colts and geldings carry 126 pounds (57 kilograms) and fillies carry 121 pounds (55 kilograms).
How Do Horses Qualify For The Kentucky Derby?
To qualify for the Kentucky Derby, horses must earn points in designated races that are part of the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” series.
These races are typically held from September of the previous year through April of the current year, and they are located at various tracks throughout the United States and abroad.
The “Road to the Kentucky Derby” series consists of a tiered point system, with the highest point values awarded to the most prestigious races. The top 20 horses with the highest point totals at the end of the series are then eligible to enter the Kentucky Derby.
The point system awards points to the top four finishers in each race, with the winner receiving the most points. The point values for each race are determined by its grade level and its distance, with longer and more prestigious races offering more points.
In addition to the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” races, horses can also qualify for the Kentucky Derby by winning certain designated races in Europe and Japan.
Once a horse has qualified for the Kentucky Derby, its connections (owners and trainers) must pay a nomination fee to officially enter the race. The final field for the Kentucky Derby is limited to 20 horses, with any additional entries being placed on a standby list in case of scratches.
The 2023 line-up will include Disarm, who was the last horse to sneak into the Kentucky Derby field. The Steve Asmussen-trained runner finished third in the Lexington Stakes to earn his way into the field.
The 2023 Kentucky Derby Runners
As a place in the Kentucky Derby is based on a points system, here are the qualifiers for the 2023 race, in points earned order:
- 1. Forte – 190 points
- 2. Practical Move – 160
- 3. Angel of Empire – 154
- 4. Tapit Trice – 150
- 5. Two Phil’s – 123
- 6. Lord Miles – 105
- 7. Derma Sotogake (JPN) – 100
- 8. Kingsbarns – 100
- 9. Raise Cain – 64
- 10. Rocket Can – 60
- 11. Hit Show – 60
- 12. Confidence Game – 57
- 13. Verifying – 54
- 14. Sun Thunder – 54
- 15. Wild On Ice – 50
- 16. Mage – 50
- 17. Blazing Sevens – 46
- 18. Disarm – 46
- 19. Reincarnate – 45
- 20. Continuar (JPN) Invite
There are reserves should any of the above horses not be able to compete and they include Jace’s Road, Skinner and Cyclone Mischief.
With 190 points, Forte is at the top of the Road to the Kentucky Derby standings and has earned almost $2.4 million in winnings as the leading three-year-old.
As a result, he is considered the frontrunner with odds of around 5-2 in the 2023 Kentucky Derby.
Past Winners Of The Kentucky Derby
|2022||Rich Strike||Sonny Leon||Eric Reed||81/1|
|2021||Mandaloun||Florent Geroux||Brad H. Cox||27/1|
|2020||Authentic||John R. Velazquez||Bob Baffert||8/1|
|2019||Country House||Flavien Prat||William I.Mott||65/1|
|2018||Justify||Mike E. Smith||Bob Baffert||5/2|
|2017||Always Dreaming||John R. Velazquez||Todd A. Pletcher||9/2|
|2016||Nyquist||Mario Gutierrez||Doug O’Neill||2/1|
|2015||American Pharoah||Victor Espinoza||Bob Baffert||5/2|
|2014||California Chrome||Victor Espinoza||Art Sherman||5/2|
|2013||Orb||Joel Rosario||Claude McGaughey III||5/1|
|2012||I’ll Have Another||Mario Gutierrez||Doug O’Neill||15/1|
How The Kentucky Derby Was Created
The Kentucky Derby was founded by Col. Meriwether Lewis Clark Jr., who was inspired by the Epsom Derby in England.
Clark travelled to Europe and studied the racing there, then returned to the United States with the idea of creating a similar race in Kentucky.
He founded the Louisville Jockey Club and organized the first Kentucky Derby, which was run on May 17, 1875.
The first Kentucky Derby was a success, with 15 horses running the 1.5-mile course. The winning horse was Aristides, ridden by jockey Oliver Lewis. The race was attended by over 10,000 people, which was a huge crowd for the time.
In 1896, the distance of the race was shortened to its current length of 1.25 miles (2.01 km).
In 1904, the race was almost cancelled due to anti-gambling laws in Kentucky, but it was saved by the formation of the Kentucky State Racing Commission.
The race has been held annually since its inception, with the exception of 2020 when it was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was held on September 6th 2020, instead.
Over the years, the Kentucky Derby has become a major cultural event, with the traditional playing of “My Old Kentucky Home” before the race and the wearing of elaborate hats by spectators.
The race has also produced many legendary horses, jockeys, and trainers, including Secretariat, the fastest horse in Kentucky Derby history, and jockey Bill Shoemaker, who won the race four times.
Today, the Kentucky Derby remains one of the most prestigious and popular horse races in the world, drawing visitors and bettors from around the globe.
What To Wear To The Kentucky Derby
The dress code for the Kentucky Derby is typically formal or semi-formal, and it’s known for its fashion and style.
The specific dress code requirements vary depending on the location of the event, such as the Churchill Downs Racetrack or other viewing parties, but some general guidelines include:
For men: A suit, sport coat or blazer with dress pants, a collared dress shirt, and a tie. Hats are also a popular accessory, especially a fedora or a classic bowler hat.
For women: A cocktail dress, dressy separates, or a dressy jumpsuit. Hats are also a must-have accessory for women, and many choose large and elaborate hats that are meant to make a statement.
It’s worth noting that the dress code for the Kentucky Derby has become more relaxed in recent years, and there is more room for creativity and personal style.
However, it’s still a formal event, and guests are expected to dress up accordingly.
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How Much Does It Cost To Go To The Kentucky Derby?
The cost of attending the Kentucky Derby can vary greatly depending on several factors, such as the location of your seats, travel expenses, accommodations, and other related costs.
Here are some estimated costs to consider:
Tickets: The cost of a ticket to the Kentucky Derby can vary depending on the location of your seats and the day of the event. Prices can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars per ticket.
Tickets can be acquired in various ways. The annual online sale allows for the purchase of individual, one-time tickets.
Alternatively, multi-year tickets can be obtained by reserving a Personal Seat License or joining as a Season Box or Turf Club member.
For large groups, tickets can also be secured for corporate hospitality or as Kentucky Derby business partners.
Accommodations: The cost of accommodations can vary depending on the location and type of lodging you choose, as well as the time of year. Hotels and other lodging options can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars per night.
Travel expenses: If you are travelling to the Kentucky Derby from another location, you will need to consider the cost of transportation, such as airfare or gas, rental cars, and parking.
Food and beverages: The cost of food and beverages can vary depending on your personal preferences and the type of dining options you choose. Food and drinks at the Kentucky Derby can be expensive, so it’s important to budget accordingly.
Overall, the cost of attending the Kentucky Derby can range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the level of luxury and extravagance you choose.
It’s important to plan ahead and budget accordingly to ensure that you have an enjoyable and memorable experience.