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7 quick Derby Day facts to prepare you for the big race

From the trophy to the drinks, we've got you covered

It's Derby Day! That means it's time to get out your floral attire, don your biggest hats and sip your freshly poured mint julep. This year's race features 20 horses that will be competing for the largest-ever guaranteed prize of $3 million dollars, an increase of $1 million from last year. 

The 145th running of the Kentucky Derby is a few hours away and we've got 7 quick facts about the derby that will help you sound like a pro whether this is your first derby or your 100th.

The derby is old...very old

The first Kentucky Derby was held on May 17, 1875. The stands were filled with 10,000 people as they watched fifteen 3-year-old thoroughbred horses race for 1.5 miles.

Same date every year

The Kentucky Derby has been held on the first Saturday in May every year since 1946.

Naming a racetrack

It wasn’t until 1883 that Churchill Downs was used to designate the racetrack as host of the derby.

That's a lot of flowers

The rose garland is made up of more than 400 red roses and weighs more than 40 pounds.

The trophy is nice too

The Kentucky Derby trophy is made of 14 karat gold and stands on a jade base. It’s 22 inches tall and weighs 3.5 pounds.

It's very quick

Once the gates open the horses can reach speeds of 45 mph, making the derby's 1¼ mile-long race the fastest two minutes in sports.

A lot of drinking

About 120,000 mint juleps are served each year for the Kentucky Oaks and the Kentucky Derby.

Here is the recipe used at Churchill Downs

What you need:

  • 2 ounces Woodford Reserve

  • 1 ounce mint simple syrup

  • Sprig of fresh mint

  • Crushed ice


  • Pour Woodford Reserve and simple syrup over crushed ice.

  • Stir with spoon.

  • Garnish with a fresh sprig of mint.

  • Enjoy


The derby starts at 6:50 p.m. on Saturday, who do you think will win?

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