Although it is no longer the richest race in thoroughbred horseracing, the Kentucky Derby is still regarded as racing’s premier event. It is conducted at the distance of 1 ¼ miles each year on the first Saturday in May at the famous Churchill Downs. Celebrities pack the grandstand and Millionaire’s Row to watch the most exciting two minutes in sports! It is a thrilling event. 20 of the most talented 3 year-old horses go head-to-head in the Run for the Roses. All of them are trying the distance for the first time.
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The first Kentucky Derby took place in 1875. Just 10,000 fans showed up that day to watch Aristides win in dramatic fashion. Aristides was a spectacular looking chestnut colt trained by Ansel Williamson and owned by H. P. McGrath. The horse jockey on that day was Oliver Lewis. None of them could have imagined that they were literally racing into the history books of horseracing.
Because the field of horses in the Kentucky Derby is so big the race is often won by a longshot. In 1913, Donrail won the race and paid an amazing $194 for every $2 bet on him. This trend has continued throughout the race’s history. The post time favorite rarely wins the Kentucky Derby. Keep this in mind when you handicap the race! Some longshot winners have included the 50-1 Giacomo in 2005 and the 50-1 Mine That Bird just four years later in 2009. The average win payoff in the Kentucky Derby since 2000 is an astounding $34 on a $2 bet!
Only two runners since 2000 have paid less than $10.00, Fusaichi Pegasus returned just $6.60 in 2000 and Big Brown netted a win of $6.80 in 2008. These horses were both much the best coming into the race and did not disappoint. They are, however, the exception to the rule. So many things can go wrong in a race of this magnitude that it is very difficult for the favorite to win.
Ben A. Jones, Bob Baffert, and D. Wayne Lukas are among the leading trainers when it comes to saddling a Kentucky Derby winner. Todd Pletcher and Dale Romans also regularly enter horses in this event. Only a few jockeys have won the Derby more than once, and Eddie Arcaro and Bill Hartack did it five times each!
EZ Horse Betting Fun Fact
The most successful active jockey to ride in the Kentucky Derby is Calvin Borel, with three wins. Borel is nicknamed “Bo-rail” because he has been known to hug the inner rail so tightly that he returns to the winner’s circle with white paint on his boots!
Kentucky Derby Winners Since 2000 with $2 payoffs:
2012: I’ll Have Another $32.60
2011: Animal Kingdom $43.80
2010: Super Saver $18.00
2009: Mine That Bird $103.20
2008: Big Brown $6.80
2007: Street Sense $11.80
2006: Barbaro $14.20
2005: Giacomo $102.60
2004: Smarty Jones $10.20
2003: Funny Cide $27.60
2002: War Emblem $43.00
2001: Monarchos $23.00
2000: Fusaichi Pegasus $6.60