Events from HistoryMay

The First Kentucky Derby: May 17, 1875

[ad_1] The Kentucky Derby is one of the most prestigious horse races in the world, attracting thousands of spectators and bettors each year. But have you ever wondered how this coveted race came to be? Let’s take a trip back in time to May 17, 1875, the day of the very first Kentucky Derby.

The Kentucky Derby was the idea of Col. Meriwether Lewis Clark Jr., who came from a prominent family in Kentucky. Clark was inspired by the races he witnessed during his travels in Europe and wanted to bring that excitement to his home state. He chose Louisville as the location for the race because of its location as a major hub for horse breeders and its central location within the United States.

Clark formed the Louisville Jockey Club and raised enough money to fund the first Kentucky Derby, which offered a purse of $2,850. Fifteen horses entered the race, but only 13 actually ran due to injuries and scratches. Aristides, a colt owned by H.P. McGrath, emerged as the winner in front of a crowd of around 10,000 people.

The Kentucky Derby quickly became a popular event, with attendances growing every year. In 1896, Churchill Downs became the permanent home of the race and has been the site of every Kentucky Derby since. The race has also undergone some changes over the years, including an increase in the purse and the addition of a garland of roses for the winner, which led to the race being nicknamed the “Run for the Roses.”

The Kentucky Derby has seen some dramatic moments throughout its history. In 1913, a horse named Donerail won the race at odds of 91-1, making it the biggest upset in Derby history. In 1973, Secretariat won the race by a record time of 1:59.4, a record that still stands today.

The Kentucky Derby has also been a platform for social and cultural events. The race draws celebrities, politicians, and people from all walks of life, making it a grand spectacle of fashion and style. The Derby has also been the inspiration for several books and movies, and has become an American icon.

Today, the Kentucky Derby remains one of the most exciting and anticipated events in the racing world. It is a symbol of the rich history and cultural heritage of Kentucky, and a celebration of the sport of thoroughbred horse racing. As we look forward to the 147th Kentucky Derby in 2021, let us remember the history and legacy of this classic race.

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