Derby 101 : About The Races
The trumpeter sounds the “Call to Post”, eyes shift to the starting gate, the announcer readies the contenders …and they’re off! The gates release a thundering stampede of hooves; the stands come alive with a gargantuan roar and a sea of waving tickets and fists surge to the air... who will be victorious? Find out »
Pink Out! In honor of the Oaks official flower, the
stargazer lily, southern belles and gentleman converge in a sea of pink attire to witness
"The Race for the Lilies"!
The race currently covers 1 1/8 miles and the winner of the Kentucky Oaks is presented with a Garland of Lilies draped around the filly's withers.
The Kentucky Oaks® is a Grade I stakes race for three-year-old Thoroughbred fillies staged annually at Churchill Downs® on the day preceding the Kentucky Derby®.
The Kentucky Oaks partner charities are Susan G. Komen for the Cure® and Horses and Hope, and a Survivor's Parade precedes the races on Oaks day.
"The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports" derives its
name from the approximate duration of the race to the 1 1/4 mile finish line! The Kentucky Derby
is also referred to as "The Run for the Roses", aptly named for the blanket of roses draped
over the winner.
Held every year on the first Saturday in May, the Kentucky Derby® is the longest continuously running event in the U.S. and is the first leg of thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown.
The Kentucky Derby is a Grade I stakes race for three-year-old thoroughbred horses, held annually in Louisville, Kentucky at the Churchill Downs race track. The Kentucky Derby is the first leg of U.S. racing's Triple Crown and is followed by the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes.
The race record of one minute 59.40 seconds was set by Secretariat in 1973.
If a filly wants to run in the Kentucky Derby she can, but she’ll have to earn her way into the field by accumulating points against open company just like the rest of the colts and geldings and be nominated to the Triple Crown. Additionally, any points earned by a filly in the
“Road to the Kentucky Derby” series against open company will be credited to
her point total in the “Road to the Kentucky Oaks” series.
The Kentucky Oaks race has a $1 million-guaranteed purse.
The Kentucky Derby winner will receive a a 14-carat gold trophy plus, a garland of 564 red roses sewn into a satin blanket and an estimated $1.24 million payday. A total of $400,000 will be awarded to the runner-up, $200,000 to third, $100,000 to fourth and $60,000 to fifth.
The track uses takeout money (Takeout is the money removed from each pari-mutual betting pool before gamblers are given their payoffs) to pay horse owners their winning purses, taxes and other costs. All horses finishing first through fifth receive a share of the purse.
Conditions and Qualifications
The Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks equines must be proven to be a direct descendant of three stallions, Darley Arabian, Godolphin Arabian or Byerly Turk, from the General Stud Book of England, bred back in the late 17th and early 18th centuries.
Thoroughbreds have a well chiseled head, long neck, high withers, a deep chest, short back, good depth in the hindquarters, a lean body and long legs. Most Thoroughbreds stand over 16 hands high and are usually brown, chestnut, black or gray.
All horses must be 3 year old thoroughbred horses leveled at grade 1, at the top of their form with sufficient group 1 winnings in past performance to ensure the horse is fit for the race’s level.
On course weight allocation: 126 lb (57.2 kg) for colts and geldings and 121 lb (54.9 kg) for fillies.
- NOMINATIONS – Horses born in 2010 were made eligible to run in this year’s Kentucky Derby and Triple Crown with a $600 early payment that was due Jan. 26, 2013. A late period for nominations at $6,000 each will close Saturday, March 23, 2013. In addition to the Triple Crown nomination fee, owners must pay $25,000 to enter the Derby by 10 a.m. ET on Wednesday, May 1, 2013, and an additional $25,000 to start. If there are less than 24 Triple Crown nominees entered, a horse may be supplemented for $200,000.