Kentucky Derby

Next Saturday, 3 May 2025

The 2024 Kentucky Derby will take place on May 4th, and it marks the 150th running of the race. 

The Kentucky Derby, also known as “The Run for the Roses” is a very important sporting event that is held on the first Saturday of May every year. 

It is a Grade 1 Stakes Race where 20 thoroughbred horses in the 3-year-old range race on a track of 2 km. 

The horse race is held at Churchill Downs in Louisville, and is often called “the fastest two minutes in sports”.

It opens the American Triple Crown, the three biggest horse races in America, with the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes being the other two. 

The winner of the Kentucky Derby is cloaked with a blanket of roses, and if a horse wins all three races, it wins the Triple Crown. Although in all the years that the event has been held, only 13 horses have done so. 

The event has a very high attendance rate, and due to its history, it has acquired some traditions over the years.

Master Chief Sherri Roberts, assigned to the Navy Operational Support Center (NOSC) Louisville, mans the rails during the 143rd Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs
Master Chief Sherri Roberts, assigned to the Navy Operational Support Centre (NOSC) Louisville, mans the rails during the 143rd Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs

Kentucky Derby Dates (2023 to 2028):

  • 2023: May 6
  • 2024: May 4
  • 2025: May 3
  • 2026: May 2
  • 2027: May 1
  • 2028: May 6

Who Won The Race In 2023?

Mage won the Kentucky Derby in 2:01.57, starting slowly but surging ahead. He overtook Two Phil's near the end, holding off competitors for the victory. Mage had only one previous win before this, making him the fourth horse to win with just three starts. He's also the fourth horse to win without racing as a two-year-old. It's the first Derby win for jockey Javier Castellano and trainer Gustavo Delgado. Mage is owned by OGMA Investments, Ramiro Restrepo, Sterling Racing, and Commonwealth Thoroughbreds. Restrepo and Delgado bought Mage for $290,000, beyond their initial budget, and teamed up with others to support his career.

History of Kentucky Derby

The races came to America by the hand of Meriwether Lewis Clark Jr. who, after traveling to England and France in 1872, was inspired by the races he attended in the countries.

Back in Kentucky, he joined forces with the Louisville Jockey Club to raise funds and construct the racing circuit that would become Churchill Downs. 

The first Kentucky Derby took place on May 17, 1875, with around 10,000 attending the race. Aristides was the horse who won the inaugural Derby. 

In 1931, it was decided that the race would be held on the first Saturday of May, to make it easier to schedule with the other two races.

Up until then, the derby was usually held in mid-May, and it was up to the race organizers to choose a specific date. 

Unlike other major sporting events that went on hiatuses at different points in time, the Kentucky Derby has continuously run every year since its first race in 1875, not even stopping for the World Wars or the Great Depression.

First quarter of 1943 Kentucky Derby from infield
First quarter of 1943 Kentucky Derby from infield


The Kentucky Derby is a big, fancy event full of special things people always do. One of these things is drinking mint juleps, which is a drink of choice made with bourbon, mint, and sugar served in shiny cups. 

People are expected to dress very elegantly, and women take inspiration from the British horse races and wear fashionable, sophisticated hats.

Just before the race begins, people sing “My Old Kentucky Home” together, as a way of remembering the good things about Kentucky. After the race, the winning horse is given a necklace made of roses as a reward for their hard work.

There are two tall towers called “twin spires” at the racetrack that are widely recognized.

They make the place look cool and special. All these things make the Kentucky Derby a really exciting and unforgettable day.

10 Unforgettable Kentucky Derby Trivia

  • The tradition of presenting the winning horse with a garland of roses dates back to 1883.
  • Over 120,000 mint juleps are served during the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby weekend.
  • African American jockeys dominated the early years, with 15 of the first 28 Derby winners being black.
  • Rosie Napravnik became the first female jockey to ride in the Derby in 2013.
  • Kathy Ritvo was the first female trainer to win the Derby in 2018 with Mucho Macho Man.
  • Secretariat set a record time of 1:59.40 in the 1973 Kentucky Derby, which still stands.
  • Bill Shoemaker, at 54, is the oldest jockey to win the Kentucky Derby.
  • During World War II, the Derby was not held at Churchill Downs.
  • Donerail, in 1913, holds the record for the longest shot to win the Derby at odds of 91-1.
  • Secretariat's time remains the fastest under Churchill Downs' current configuration.
  • No horse has ever won from post positions 17, 19, 20, 21, 23, or 24.

Kentucky Derby
Kentucky Derby

Kentucky Derby 2024

Date: Saturday, 02 May 2026

Date: Saturday, 01 May 2027

Date: Saturday, 06 May 2028

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