Friday, May 4, 2012

The 138th Kentucky Derby


This Saturday, May 5th (Cinco de Mayo!) will be the Kentucky Derby on NBC at 6:23pm.  This annual event takes place each year at the historic Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky and is considered the "The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports" or "The Fastest Two Minutes in Sports" for its approximate duration.  Please check out our latest podcast here to get our feelings regarding this race!

The actual race is one and one quarter miles and will have nearly 155,000 spectators on hand.  It's the first leg of the Triple Crown which also features The Preakness and Belmont Stakes, both later this summer.  There hasn't been a Crown winner since 1978's Affirmed accomplished it.  The closest we got was in 2004 when Smarty Jones finished 2nd in the Belmont just missing out!  Most recently in 2008, Big Brown won the first two but did not finish the Belmont.  In 2005, Afleet Alex won the Preakness and Belmont but had finished 3rd in the Derby.

The record at this track is 1:59.4 of course accomplished by the great Secretariat in 1973.  In fact, only one other time has a horse broken the fabled 2 minute mark and that was in 2001 when Monarchos clocked in at 1:59.97.  The first ever Derby was won in 2:37 in 1875 with a purse of $2,850 and the slowest time is 2:52 accomplished in 1891 (it must have snowed or something!).  Last year's winner Animal Kingdom, in front of the largest crowd ever (nearly 165,000), won $1.4 million in purse money.

Secretariat's immortal run in the '73 Derby

There are many fine and prestigious traditions associated with the Kentucky Derby:

  • First up is the drink of choice during this event, the Mint Julep:
This iced drink consists of bourbon, mint and sugar!
  • Next is the food of choice, Burgoo:
Typically a thick stew of lamb and vegetables is served from iron pots sometimes 10 feet in diameter
  • Of course there's the infield part of the track where most of the spectators enjoy cheap seats but you cannot see the race, literally.  Which is why I never attended!
    • As native son Hunter S. Thompson said,
"That whole thing will be jammed with people; fifty thousand or so, and most of them staggering drunk. It's a fantastic scene--thousands of people fainting, crying, copulating, trampling each other, and fighting with broken whiskey bottles."

  • Meanwhile, the opposite of the infield is "Millionaire's Row."  Celebrities fill this event each year and it's always fun to see who shows up.

  • The hats.  The Kentucky Derby would be silly if not for these hats!
I'd like to bend her over a barrel and show her the 50 states...I don't care how fat she gets
  • Gambling!  Let's be honest, almost no one besides the horses owners care about the finish, people just want to win that green, if you know what I mean...sssssss
  • Finally, the roses...a garland of red roses is awarded to the Kentucky Derby winner which is handed out by the governor who also hands out the trophy

Having lived in the city of Louisville for 2 years, it was an exciting time of year!  Once college basketball finishes, it's a month long celebration leading into this historic race.  From mini-marathons, to Pegasus Pins, to chow wagons, to the fantastic Thunder Over Louisville, the city does it all first class.  
Thunder Over Louisville which is the largest annual pyrotechnics display in North America and it's totally freakin' awesome!  Except usually there's 500,000 people in attendance...
While traffic and congestion of people make for a busy town, it's an absolutely great environment that makes a seemingly ancient sporting event really exciting.  Kentucky is home to the horse capital of the world, and if you ever get a chance to visit Louisville during this race, do it, you won't regret it.


In Post 6, Bodemeister is considered the early favorite at 4-1 odds when the field was announced Wednesday.  At this time, no other horses can be added but they can be scratched and odds can of course change.

Favorite name: Done Talking - while at 50 to 1 odds, this would be hilarious to hear as announcers call this horses name down the homestretch and would make it rain for betters!

Lamest name:  Daddy Nose Best - I love jokes with the best of them but this childish play on words is just too downright silly for me to even like.