Underdog wins the Kentucky Derby


(Courtesy of the Kentucky Derby Museum)

The horses take off to begin the Derby.

The gate opens and the bell rings signaling the riders to start. The horses sprint out of the gate with their jockeys’ pushing them as hard as possible. The viewers stand up in their seats in anticipation for the longest 2 minutes of the year, waiting to see which horse comes out on top. This is something that people around the world, especially Kentuckians, have felt for the past 147 years. 

May 4, the first Saturday of the month is when the Derby took place. It’s always the first Saturday of the month. 150,000 people got all dressed up in formal outfits with exquisite, large hats, particularly the ladies. People betted on two horses with hopes of them winning first and second. These people gathered in the stands to drink their mint juleps and snack on hot browns while the anticipation for the race to start sky-rockets.

“On Saturday, I am going to my friend’s house and we’re going to recreate all the well-known snacks and drinks that the Derby is known for having. We all plan to get dressed all nice in big hats as the ladies wear to the actual Derby,” said Freshman Evelyn Morel.

The Kentucky Derby is one of the main sporting events still going on today and it plans to be continued. The Derby has still been celebrated despite the Great Depression, World War I and II, and the outbreak of COVID-19. 

In 1872, Meriwether Lewis Clark brought the Derby back to America from a trip to Europe. He went to their Derby over there called the Epsom Derby. When he came back he wanted to create a similar race with his two uncles, Henry and John Churchill, funding. They built this track on their property, naming it Churchill Downs.

The length of the track started off longer than it is today. Originally, it was 1.5 miles and then got condensed to 1.25 miles. While the track was shortening, the crowd was expanding. The first Derby had about 10,000 in attendance, but in 2015 the largest crowd came in with 170,500. Not only did the crowd expand, but so did the prize. It’s up to $3 million dollars. 

Well established in tradition, the Kentucky Derby is known as “the greatest 2 minutes in sports.” “My Old Kentucky Home,” being sung begins the race, and then it’s ended with red roses being given to the winner. Betting on the Kentucky Derby has brought in $150 million dollars. 

The Derby this year brought an enormous upset. With odds 80-1, Rich Strike came in first.