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Kentucky Derby Central

A guide to learning about the Kentucky Derby online


The Kentucky Derby is held every year on the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs in Louisiville, Kentucky. This is the horse race every owner, trainer, and jockey dream of winning and the one race even people who are not horse racing fans watch and follow. Only 3-year-old thoroughbreds can run in the Derby, so each only has one chance at it in his lifetime. Many dream of the roses, but only one horse will wear them out of the thousands born each year.

2014 Kentucky Derby Entries

Kentucky Derby starting gate
© Cindy Pierson Dulay

Only 20 horses can start in the Kentucky Derby, but around 400 will be nominated for it every year. The top 2-year-olds from the previous season will always be favored at the beginning of the year, but as the prep races are run the list will change as horses improve or drop out for various reasons.

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2014 Kentucky Derby and Oaks Results and Photos

horse racing kentucky derby
© Cindy Pierson Dulay

It was a year for favorites, as favorite California Chrome won easily in the Kentucky Dwerby while favorite Untapable ran away with the Oaks.

The Triple Crown Trail

Street Sense wins the 2007 Kentucky Derby
© Cindy Pierson Dulay

Every spring the 3-year-old thoroughbreds start their campaigns hoping to make it to the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in May. Racing fans watch and wonder which prep race will yield the Derby winner as the horses compete on the Triple Crown trail at race tracks from coast-to-coast.

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Kentucky Derby Future Wager

Kentucky Derby Tote Board
© Cindy Pierson Dulay

As if picking a winner on Derby day wasn't hard enough, since 1999 there has been a Future Wager offered so you can try to pick a winner months in advance! Offered in November (new for this year), February, early March, and late March, it has 23 horses plus a field of all other 3-year-olds for 24 betting interests in each pool. If your horse doesn't run in the Derby, you lose. If he wins, you get the odds the Future Wager closed at regardless of his odds on Derby day. Now they even have a Future Exacta!

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Ladies in hats handicapping the Derby
© Cindy Pierson Dulay

This is the most over-analyzed race ever, so there are dozens of angles for picking a winner. It almost seems like you could roll dice to come with a winner and have just about as much luck. Here are some articles and books that may help you with your selections, or may just make you even more confused!

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Derby History

Kentucky Derby History
© Cindy Pierson Dulay

The Kentucky Derby was first run in 1875 and will have its 135th running this year. Many of the greatest thoroughbreds of all time have won the Derby and it is the race all horsemen dream of winning. Find out more about the rich history of the Run for the Roses.

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Monarchos in the winner's circle with his roses
© Cindy Pierson Dulay

There are many traditions associated with the Kentucky Derby from the blanket of roses to mint juleps. Attending the Derby is more than just watching a race. It is being immersed in a culture that is undeniably unique. Women in fancy hats, celebrities making appearances, dressing up (either fancy or fanatical,) sipping a mint julep, eating burgoo and their trademarked pie, going to the backside for morning workouts, or getting rowdy in the infield are all part of the atmosphere at Churchill Downs.

Derby Traditions:

Kentucky Derby 101

Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby
© Cindy Pierson Dulay

An overview of the Kentucky Derby from history to handicapping to how to attend. Perfect for beginners who want to start their education in all things Derby.

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