The Kentucky Derby is one of the oldest sporting events in the U.S. as it has been going strong every year since 1875. It is probably one of the most exciting as well! Everyone gets dolled up in their finest attire to cheer for those two nail-biting minutes when the horses “Run for the Roses.”
To make sure that you are ready for the 2019 Kentucky Derby, brush up on these 3 facts about this iconic race.
#1 The Kentucky Derby Draws a Big Crowd
Considered one of the most highly attended sporting events in the entire world, the Kentucky Derby brings in an average of 160,000 spectators per year. The fans of the race that can’t manage to get themselves to Churchill Downs have been able to watch the televised version of the event since 1952. The last several years have seen viewers numbering in around 16 million. If that isn’t proof enough of the crowd this race draws, consider the betting numbers. In 2016, Derby day saw $197,587,197 worth of bets being placed!
#2 Aristides was the Original Victor
At that very first Kentucky Derby which took place in May of 1875, the big winner was a three-year-old chestnut colt named Aristides. He beat out the fourteen other horses vying for the top spot. Another notable win was in 1973 when Secretariat set the all-time fastest record coming in with a time of 1:59 minutes. Curious fact: no horse has ever won from the number 17 post position. All 19 of the other spots have had a least one winner, but 17 has proven to be the unlucky spot year in and year out. In 2019, a favorite contender for the blanket of 554 roses is named Roadster.
#3 The Drink of the Day is the Mint Julep
Attendees of the Kentucky Derby enjoy the traditional drink called the Mint Julep. Guests at Churchill Downs order around 127,000 of these frosty drinks over the two-day event, the Kentucky Oaks and the Kentucky Derby. The mint is grown locally, and the bourbon is, of course, the Kentucky variety. If you are watching the proceedings from home, you can still enjoy the signature beverage. Simply mix two cups of sugar into two cups of boiling water to create a simple syrup. Add a bit of fresh mint to the mix and refrigerate it overnight. When you are ready to mix up your drink before the big race, add crushed ice, 1 tablespoon of your minty syrup, and 2 ounces of good quality Kentucky Bourbon. Garnish with a mint leaf and enjoy.
If you can’t make the trek to Kentucky to enjoy the Derby in person, you can still have a great time at home. Mix up your Mint Julep, don your favorite fancy hat, and place a bet on your favorite horse. Get all the thrill and action in the comfort of your own home!