Leading off the Triple Crown – It’s Kentucky Derby Day!
Over the coming weeks, we’re going to take a look at a few of the world’s most iconic and eye-catching sports events, to get a feel for what it is that makes them such big fixtures on the sporting and social calendars.
This week we’re in the southeast of the United States of America, specifically in Louisville, Kentucky. The city is famed for being the birthplace of Muhammad Ali, as well as a major inspiration for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s acclaimed novel The Great Gatsby. However, its most noteworthy feature takes place every May and comes in the form of the famous and historic Kentucky Derby.
Largely originally based on the Epsom Derby and known in the United States as the “Greatest Two Minutes in Sports”, the Kentucky Derby forms the first leg of the USA’s horseracing Triple Crown and is by far the most eagerly anticipated and spectated of the three races. First competed for in 1875, the Kentucky Derby boasts the rare and distinctive claim that it has taken place uninterrupted every year since then.
Where most long-running sporting events, including Olympic Games and football World Cups, have had to cancel events due to world conflicts, politics, pandemics and economic disasters, the Kentucky Derby has managed to entertain viewers every single year since its inception. In fact, it has only been held on a day other than the first Saturday in May on two occasions. The first of these instances was in 1945, due to a national wartime ban on horseracing that saw the race moved to later in the year and the second being in 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Another reason why this race is so celebrated is due to certain traditions that have emerged over the years, contributing to the familiar imagery and recognition of the event. Dubbed the “Run for the Roses”, for instance, the winning jockey is draped with a blanket sewn with over 500 roses after the race.
Additionally, spectators traditionally don outlandish clothing, as women appear in elegant outfits complete with lavish and elaborate hats and pastel colours can be seen everywhere. Dressing to impress and the social element of the event is as much a part of everything as the race itself, which crowns two weeks of festivities.
Last year, over 14 million people tuned in to watch the Derby and the total prize pot currently stands at $3 million. Live spectatorship has been forced down due to the pandemic, however, it surely won’t be long until the event is attracting maximum crowds again that are more aligned with the record live attendance of over 170,000.
This year the race is due to take place on 7 May and you can get in touch here if you’d like to take it all in from the most prestigious viewing enclosure, Millionaire’s Row. We can also arrange any luxury travel and accommodation requirements you have.