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KENTUCKY DERBY BETTING (HORSE RACING)

The Kentucky Derby

Kentucky Derby Betting

Arguably the most famous horse race in North America is the Kentucky Derby. It gets its annual running at Churchill Downs in Louisville Kentucky and it comes at the end of a fortnight of action at the Kentucky Derby Festival.

This is also perhaps the most famous race from America that people outside of the country know about. The race is also known as “The Run for the Roses” and has been in operation since the late 1800s.

Dubbed as the “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports” the Derby continues thrill punters to this very day. Extra excitement and pressure for the Kentucky Derby come from runners only having the one shot at glory in the race.

Kentucky Derby History

The first-ever Kentucky happened in 1875. It became an American version of England’s Epsom Derby which has been running since 1780. Founder William Clark got a hold of the Louisville Jockey Club and got enough money to build Churchill Downs (which was named after the people who had provided the land).

Early Kentucky Derby races went over 1 1/2 miles to match what the Epsom Derby was doing, but it was cut by a quarter of a mile in 1896 and has stayed that way ever since. That inaugural edition of the Kentucky Derby featured 15 three-year-old competitions, which was won by Aristides.

The Derby has been the leading stakes race in North America for three-year-old thoroughbreds since the early 1900s. The natural progression from this, because the Derby was being run earlier in the calendar year, was for owners to send competitors on to the country’s other two big features, the Preakness Stakes which is held at Pimlico Racecourse in Maryland and the Belmont Stakes in New York.

As a progression of the prize money that has happened in the Kentucky Derby, the first time that $1 million purse was offered was in 1996. Less than a decade later it had doubled up to $2 million and then in 2019, the purse for the famous race had jumped up to $3 million.

Triple Crown

Things eventually came together in 1930. That’s when the term Triple Crown was introduced to the three races. All three of the individual races were offering some of the biggest prize money on the continent at the time.

So that also raised the interest in the Triple Crown. Just the naming of it really raised the profile and expectations that some super horses, the very elite were taking part.

The usual order of the Triple Crown is the Kentucky Derby followed by the Preakness Stakes and then the Belmont Stakes. There have been a few occasions when the latter two have changed around, but the former has been the general order throughout the history of the Triple Crown.

About the Race

The Kentucky Derby itself is a 1 1/4 mile trip on the dirt at Churchill Downs. That’s a 10-furlong race. The runners take on a left-handed track and the Derby is open to three-year-old thoroughbreds only. Colts, Geldings and Fillies can all take part. There is a limit of 20 runners for the Kentucky Derby.

Road To The Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby, well, it’s a big deal. So much so that there is a qualification process for it. It is all based on a points system. Of the 20 places that are available in the starting gate at the Kentucky Derby, one is offered to a contender from Japan (Japan Road) and one from Europe (European Road). If they aren’t accepted, North American horses just fill the spots.

The Road To the Kentucky Derby features a whole host of races. They are all for two and three-year-old thoroughbreds. There are 35 race in fact on the Main Road. 19 of these are the Kentucky Derby Prep Season. The other 16 are the for the Kentucky Derby Championship Season, where the real business is done.

The major prep races for the Kentucky Derby are the Louisiana Derby, UAE Derby, Florida Derby, Wood Memorial, Blue Grass Stakes, Santa Anita Derby and the Arkansas Derby.

Famous Winners

There have, of course, been some famous winners of the Kentucky Derby. In the 1930s there were the likes of Gallant Fox, Omaha and War Admiral, all of which would go on to win the Triple Crown.

Secretariat’s amazing feats

Perhaps the first real superstar of the race was produced in 1973. That was the year Secretariat delivered the win and went on to win the Triple Crown. He became the first in 25 years to pull off that feat.

To this day Secretariat’s winning time in the Kentucky Derby has never been beaten. He also crushed the Belmont Stakes by a staggering 31 lengths. He set an American record for one and a half miles on the dirt there and his Preakness Stakes time was recognised as a Stakes record as well.

Baffert delivers a Triple Crown double

Then was then a long gap to the next Triple Crown winner. After an expected Triple Crown assault by California Chrome came up short in 2014, American Pharoah stepped into the ring a year later.

He did the business for legendary trainer Bob Baffert. American Pharoah became the first Triple Crown winner since Secretariat.

But then just three years later the thrilling Justify came up and delivered the Triple Crown, once again for trainer Baffert.

Read more racing tips and news in our Horse Racing section

2019 Kentucky Derby Review

Country House won the 2019 Kentucky Derby but it was under some controversial circumstances. The race was run on May 4th, 2019 and Country House had actually come home second to Maximum Security. By a hefty distance as well.

No-one was sure of what the actual result was as the stewards pondered for 22 minutes about the race outcome.

Controversy

It ended up that Maximum Security was disqualified because of costing War of Will and Longe Range Toddy better finishes. That was adjudicated because Maximum Security had gone on a bit of a swerve across the course and the other two had had their strides interrupted. He had actually made contact with the War of Will.

Maximum Security jockey Luis Saez had said that it had been the noise from the crowd which had started his charge and had caused him to swerve. But still he was slapped with a 15-day suspension for failing to control his mount.

Objections

There were big objections to the actions of Maximum Security, including by Country House jockey Flavien Prat. The stewards upheld the objection and history was created with the first-ever first-place finisher having been stripped of the race because of an on-track incident.

Country House had finished with 65/1 odds (the second-highest in the history of the Kentucky Derby) after having been at 30/1 in the morning line odds. Code of Honour took second place with Tacitus third.

So it was a strange edition of the Kentucky Derby whichever way you look at it.

2020 Kentucky Derby

The 2020 Kentucky Derby has been moved to September 5th. The hot ticket for the 2020 edition being Tiz The Law who stormed to a brilliant win in the Florida Derby.

But with preparations severely disrupted with a big chunk of the prep races being cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak, it could be another strange Kentucky Derby.

This will be the first time since 1945 that the Derby has not been run in May. There have been talks of contingency plans by Churchill Downs to run more qualifying races due to all of the disruption.