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 The Kentucky Derby 
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Post The Kentucky Derby
The Kentucky Derby
by: Simon M. Skinner

The Kentucky Derby is arguably the most famous horse race in the United States. It is held in Louisville, Kentucky at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May. Also known as the "Run for the Roses," the Derby is the first leg of the prestigious Triple Crown. It is followed two weeks later by the Preakness Stakes, and then three weeks after that The Belmont Stakes is The first Kentucky Derby was held in 1875, with Aristides taking the winner's circle. It was originally run at a mile and a half, but in 1896, it was shortened to today's mile and a quarter. 1919 produced the first Triple Crown winner, Sir Barton.

Over the years, many well-known favorites have won the Derby, including Exterminator in 1918, Black Gold in 1924, War Admiral in 1937, Whirlaway in 1941, Citation in 1948, Seattle Slew in 1977, and Barbaro in 2006. In the entire history of the Derby, only three fillies have won the race: Regret in 1915, Genuine Risk in 1980 and Winning Colors in 1988. Another filly, Eight Belles, made a spectacular placing in 2008, taking 2nd behind the favorite, Big Brown. Tragically, she broke both front ankles during the cool down after crossing the finish line, and had to be euthanized. This game little horse was the first one to die in the running of the Kentucky Derby. She will be honored at Churchill Downs in the Garden of the Kentucky Derby Museum at the track. A magnolia tree is being planted in her honor, with her remains buried at its base. The La Troienne Stakes will also be renamed for Eight Belles.

There have been some memorable rivalries associated with the Kentucky Derby, most notably that between Swaps, a West coast horse, and Nashua, an East coast favorite. They met for the first time in the Derby, with Swaps handily beating Nashua down the stretch. This led to a match race later that year that not only pitted both horses against each other, but the nation's two best jockeys at the time as well: Willie Shoemaker and Eddie Arcaro. Swaps injured his foot the day before the race, but continued with the race anyway, losing to Nashua.

The horse that still holds the record for the fasted finish in the Kentucky Derby is Secretariat, who won in 1973. He managed to finish each quarter of the race faster than the last... something that no other horse has been able to do to this day.

There are also many traditions associated with the Kentucky Derby. The mint julep, a cold drink made of bourbon, mint and sugar syrup is the traditional race beverage. Fashion holds the day, with many lady visitors dressing in their elegant best with elaborate hats. It is tradition that during the parade to the post "My Old Kentucky Home" is played by the University of Louisville's marching band. And one of the most coveted awards, the blanket of roses, is draped over the shoulders of the winning horse. This blanket is made of 554 red roses. The rose blanket has been a Derby tradition since 1896, and is believed to have its beginnings from a post-Derby party in 1883, when New York socialite E. Berry Wall presented roses to all the ladies.

About The Author
Simon Skinner has worked in the online gambling industry since 2000. He has worked for some of the top online sportsbooks and now runs internet marketing for BetAmerica - the top online US horse racing betting website. ... mpaign=seo

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Fri Feb 25, 2011 11:26 am
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