The Kentucky Derby® is, without a doubt, America's most iconic horse racing event. The English have Royal Ascot, Australia comes to a standstill for the Melbourne Cup, but few meetings capture the spirit of a nation quite like the “Run for the Roses.”
So named for the garland of roses that is draped over the winner, the Kentucky Derby traces its rich history back to 1875 when Colonel Meriwether Lewis Clark Junior decided to inaugurate a race in his home state of Kentucky.
Influenced by a visit to the English Derby at Epsom, the Kentucky Derby took place originally over a 1.5-mile distance – the same as Epsom – before being shortened to 1 ¼ miles in 1896.
The Kentucky Derby is also the first leg in the revered Triple Crown™, the other two legs being the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. Considered one of the sternest tests in thoroughbred racing, only 12 horses have ever completed the treble. In recent years in particular, the search for elusiveness has intensified and been unlocked, with American Pharoah in 2015 completing the treble, and California Chrome’s near miss the year previous.
The very first Derby was won by Aristides in front of an estimated crowd of 10,000. Over 140 years later, more than 165,000 people will once again flock to Churchill Downs® on the first Saturday of May 2017 for what will be its 143rd edition.
These days, Kentucky shares its Derby with the world. But it remains, in essence, very local in flavor. The hulking Churchill Downs with its famous twin spires is still imposing, storied with talks of yesteryear.
Make Memories You’ll Cherish!
Make memories that will last a lifetime. Immerse yourself in the midst of 170,000 other racing fans, the excitement is unmatched – your walk in to Churchill Downs will embrace the twin spires to the left and paddock to the right – the dream is now a reality!
The Derby has the unique ability to make friends out of complete strangers, and family out of friends. For the ladies, Derby hats and bright-colored dresses are just another part of this unique day. For the guys, take a stroll to the paddock and examine perfection in equine form before making the all-important decision on who you will wager your hard-earned dollars on!
Irrespective of being the world’s biggest racing fan or a complete novice, the Kentucky Derby will give you an experience you will cherish for a lifetime!
The Kentucky Derby – Be There in 2017!
“The Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sport”, Kentucky has been the custodian of the world's most emblematic race for more than 100 years, and will continue to preserve its unique traditions for many years to come. It doesn't get more authentic than this.
2017 will be no different. Don’t miss your opportunity to be there.
The world stops when it’s Kentucky Derby post time. An unmatched event for excitement and prestige, nothing beats the roar of the crowd from the Churchill Downs pantheon of noise. Book your official ticket package with Derby Experiences today to experience the incredible premium seating locations, unmatched access to exclusive hospitality, and more!