Considered “the greatest two minutes in sports,” the Kentucky Derby is always a highly anticipated event. Each year over 100,000 people gather at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky to watch the horse race, and this year’s race will be held on Saturday, May 3. Although the Kentucky Derby is a well-known event, there are some things about the annual race that many people might not know. Here are five things most people do not know about the Kentucky Derby.
History of the hat
One of the most recognizable aspects of the Kentucky Derby is the collection of high fashion hats worn by the women in attendance. The first Kentucky Derby in 1875 set the pace for what became an event where fashion is just as important as the horse race. Women wanted to make sure that they looked their best, so they would coordinate their hats, dresses, handbags, and shoes in order to impress everyone else at the race. At first, hat choices were simple and conservative. However, during the 1960s, fashion became more flamboyant and the appearance of large and dramatic hats became the norm. Each year, photographers at the Kentucky Derby are sure to capture the biggest and boldest hats of the event.
Attending the Kentucky Derby was once reserved for the rich
It was viewed as a status symbol to be seen at the Kentucky Derby. Attending the Kentucky Derby was similar to going to any formal event. It was mostly viewed as activity for the wealthy and upper class. In the past, lower and middle class citizens could not afford to go to the Kentucky Derby, nor could they afford the high fashion that accompanied a trip the Kentucky Derby. Presently, the stigma of the Kentucky Derby being an event for the elite is still around in the minds of many. Although people from all walks of life are welcome to attend the event, the less expensive general admission tickets give attendees a slim chance of being able to see the actual. On the other hand, “Millionaires Row” is the collection of expensive box seats that are usually occupied by the rich and famous.
The mint julep is the official drink of the Kentucky Derby.
For over one century, the mint julep has been the traditional drink of Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby. Approximately 120,000 mint juleps are sold annually at the Kentucky Derby over the weekend. In order to raise money for retired horses, Woodford Reserve created a custom designed mint julep drink that costs $1,000-$2,000. In honor of the 89th anniversary of the Kentucky Derby being named the “Run for the Roses,” 89 custom mint julep cups will be made. “Seventy-nine cups available for $1,000 each feature a gold-plated, hand-engraved medallion of a thoroughbred adorned in a rose garland. Ten cups available for $2,000 each are gold plated with a sterling silver medallion also featuring a thoroughbred wearing a garland.”
No Kentucky Derby has ever been cancelled due to rain or bad weather
Each year the weather report is an important aspect of the Kentucky Derby monitored by many. Despite some very rainy and muddy races, the horse race has never been cancelled due to bad weather.
The Kentucky Derby is referred to as the “Run for the Roses”
In 1925 the Kentucky Derby was referred to as the “Run for the Roses,” years after the rose became the official flower of the Kentucky Derby. At the end of the race, the winning jockey is given 60 long stemmed red roses, presented by the Governor of Kentucky.