Knowing History – Tracing Back Kentucky Derby Through The Years

Horse racing has been popular throughout the years since people tend to enjoy it, the thrill, and the sport itself. Derby, on the way back 1780’s up to this day. Its thrill and entertainment value still catches people’s attention, from young to adults. Kentucky has one of the best derby contests in the country since they hold so much history in the sport.

The Kentucky Derby was one of the classics for derby racing since they created some unforgettable achievements through derby racing. History tends to improve some things over time to make some things more interesting up to this very day.

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First Derby In 1875

A sport always comes from something that also happens to be the same as derby. The first Kentucky Derby was in 1875, in which they gathered 10,000 spectators for the event witnessing the “Run for Roses,” which featured a thoroughbred horse that ran for about 1.25 miles. Also during this event, it is where kentucky derby betting started where people place wages on racing horses to win cash prizes.

May 17, 1875, is one of the most remembered days for the Kentucky Derby since this featured a field of fifteen three-year-old thoroughbreds that raced a distance of 1.5 miles. During this event, a horse named Aristides finished with a time of 2:37.75 with the jockey Oliver Lewis.

Colonel Matt Winn

Promoting is essential in every sport. Since promotion is needed for a sport to be publicized and recognized by many people. It is where Matt Winn comes into the picture. He’s a larger-than-life promoter who’s slowly turning derby into America’s most iconic horse race. Winn started to use the colonel when he changed the betting system in Churchill Downs, which he replaced with machines that became famous to derby fans.

For the first time in 1925, the sports derby aired on a radio network, and of course, the attendance continued to grow in popularity. Finally, in 1949, the local network televised the first-ever derby competition, and as time passed, three years after the derby competition made it to national television. Winn also used the opportunity to invite celebrities to the derby since he created such influence in the sport.

The Horses And The Jockeys

What is a sport without athletes or players? In horse racing, the horses and the jockeys play a vital role in this event. In 1915, it bore a winner with a female horse named regret. Diane Crump displayed her jockey skills despite being a female in 1970. She became the first female jockey to ride in a derby event and finished in 15th place out of 17 horses.

A horse named Secretariat was declared the fastest horse in 1973; with the time of 1:59.40, Secretariat was declared a winner in the derby competition. Age doesn’t matter according to people who have will, just like Bill Shoemaker, a 54 years old jockey who won the derby.

Triple Crown

Qualifiers are a thing when it comes to a big sporting event, just like derby. For a horse to qualify in a derby, it must undergo various prep racing challenges. It will filter out the horse whether it proceeds to the derby or not by being the top four finishers, and those who will acquire many points will proceed to the derby competition.

A triple crown is one of the prestigious awards that a competitor could receive, just like the first horse who won the triple crown winning the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes handled by Barton in 1919. However, the dancer became the first winner of the derby in 1968 and could not receive the prize money due to the usage of illegal medication.

Run For The Roses

The people always respect traditions; that’s why some traditions exist today, just like Roses, a derby tradition that Meriwether Clark started by giving a flower to the jockeys. It changed in 1930 when the management placed roses on the winning horse.

People always want to add color to the events; that is why fashion is now a thing to derby, thanks to Clark, who wanted to improve the looks of an American racetrack that attracted a lot of crowds. During the 1960s, male and female derby goers wore fancy hats, and their presence aired on television.


Sports can be fun, especially today but also it’s a great thing to know the history of the sport where your interest inclines. The Kentucky Derby is one of the spots where people tend to pay attention when this event happens. Remember, the most important thing about sports is its history since the heart of the sport started somewhere at the beginning where most people don’t know.

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