The biggest raceday on the calendar for millions of horse racing fans around the world is quickly approaching, as the Kentucky Derby takes place at Churchill Downs on the first weekend in May.
The event is one of the most-watched sporting events of the year in the United States, with non-racing fans, as well as seasoned fanatics, tuning in and even attending the huge race at Churchill Downs. You can verify the results of this event and other Triple Crown events here: twinspires.com/results
So, what makes the race such a much-loved event?
The race is renowned for being one of the most unpredictable in the world, which means that even experts can’t pick out a winner that is nailed on. Therefore, like the Grand National in the United Kingdom, the form book almost goes out of the window, which makes it more appealing for novice fans. A recent example of the unpredictability of the Kentucky Derby came in 2011, and the heavy favorite to win the Triple Crown race, Uncle Mo was scratched 24 hours before Riders Up.
It was one of the most open renewals of the race in generations, with Dialed In being the favorite at 5/1. However, the winner was a much bigger price, with Animal Kingdom being massively overlooked due to inconsistent performances on dirt, but landed the biggest win of his career with a 21/1 shock.
It’s A Raceday For Everyone
The Kentucky Derby is a race day for everyone, and that makes it such a famous race on the calendar. Unlike other Triple Crown races such as the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes and the illustrious Breeders’ Cup in November, there are fun events that go along with the Kentucky Derby. These events can include everyone regardless of whether they know anything about horse racing or not.
Sweepstakes are commonplace in the build-up to the race, which sees players enter for a small fee and could gain the purse should their selection be picked out at random win. The two minutes that the Kentucky Derby lasts for is one of the most exciting in sport, with every person watching believing that they have a chance of getting the winner. The event also brings together friends and families, as they can make a day of the event, having drinks and a barbecue before settling down to watch the precession and then the race.
Legends Are Made
There are few sporting events in the world that are as prestigious as the Kentucky Derby, which is highlighted by the fact that it was one of the only events that continued throughout the Great Depression. The traditions such as Riders Up and the Festival have ensured that it continues to be the most-watched social event of the year, with more fans attending the Kentucky Derby than the other two Triple Crown races and Breeders’ Cup.
One of the reasons for its prolonged success are the stories that are played out at Churchill Downs on that famous day, and fans relay the stories to future generations. Race fans of a certain age will remember the record margins or victory set by greats such as Johnstown and Assault.
Meanwhile, great performances such as future Triple Crown winners American Pharoah and Justify in recent years just prolong the legend that is the Kentucky Derby. Fans will be hoping to see more history this year, as the outstanding Echo Zulu looks to break a long-standing record and become the first filly to win the illustrious race since Winning Colors in 1988. In total only three fillies have won the opening Triple Crown race, but this year that stands an excellent chance of changing.