139th KENTUCKY DERBY TOMORROW (5/4) At Churchill Downs

Tomorrow is The 139th Kentucky Derby.  Here are some of the highlights of the big race:

Official Website: http://www.kentuckyderby.com/

  • 21 horses are in the 139th Running of the Kentucky Derby going for a purse of 2.18 Million dollars.
  • Official Kentucky Derby post time: 6:24 p.m. ET
  • 11:00-4:00pm ESPN Coverage of the Kentucky Derby Undercard Churchill Downs (Versus)  
  • 4:00-5:00pm Access at the Kentucky Derby / Kentucky Derby Red Carpet Special Churchill Downs
  • 5:00-7:00pm 139th Kentucky Derby  Churchill Downs – NBC-TV
  • Martina McBride will sing the national anthem at the 2012 Kentucky Derby

The History Facts Of The Kentucky Derby

  • Held annually on the first Saturday of May.
  • The Kentucky Derby horse race has been ran at Churchill Downs since 1875.
  • Called "The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports."
  • The Louisville, Kentucky race is part of the Triple Crown of horse racing.
  • It is the most prestigious race in the sport of horse racing.
  • Features 3-year-old thoroughbreds.
  • The 1¼-mile race is also known as the "Run for the Roses."
  • The unofficial drink of the Kentucky Derby is the Mint Julep. Consisting of bourbon, sugar syrup and mint, the iced drink is served most notably in a souvenir glass available with all previous winners printed on the cup.
  • The Kentucky Derby earned its nickname "Run for the Roses" because of the blanket of 554 red roses traditionally awarded to the winner after the race.
  • Covering 147 acres, Churchill Downs, where the Derby is ran, is among the most famous sporting venues in the world.
  • It has a seating capacity of over 165,000 people.
  • The fastest Kentucky Derby ever ran was by Secretariat in 1973. The Triple Crown-winning horse ran the 1¼ miles in 1 minute 59 seconds. The first Kentucky Derby was ran in 2 minutes 27 seconds.
  • The Derby was first nationally televised in 1952. Two years later, the prize purse for the winning team first exceed $100,000.
  • Churchill Downs was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1986.

Horse Racing Triple Crown

No horse has won the Triple Crown since Affirmed did it in 1978 and only 11 have ever won it in the last 90 years.

Horse racing’s Triple Crown is often called the toughest challenge in sports and it has hundreds of failures to back up that claim. No horse has won Louisville's Kentucky Derby, Baltimore's Preakness Stakes and New York's Belmont Stakes since 1978, a 29- year drought.

The Triple Crown is a tremendous challenge because:

It often attracts not only America’s best three-year-old thoroughbreds but also outstanding horses from other nations.

The three races are run within five weeks, a grueling schedule for the horses.

The races cover three different distances: 1¼ mile in the Derby; 1 3/16 mile in the Preakness; and 1½ mile in the Belmont.

The Statistics Do Not Favor Triple Crown Chances

Fans looking for some statistical guidance in predicting winners may be interested in these numbers based on the 1919-through-2010 races:

Thirty-one Kentucky Derby winners (34.8 percent) also won the Preakness.

Eleven Kentucky Derby winners (12.4%) went on to win both the Preakness and Belmont.

Twenty Derby winners (22.5%) won the Preakness, but did not win the Belmont.

Twenty-two Derby winners (24.7%) also won the Belmont.

24 Preakness winners (26.9%) won the Belmont.

Eleven horses, (12.4 %) won the Preakness and Belmont but not the Derby.

In 34 years, a different horse won each of the three races. That’s 38%.

All three races are now limited to three-year-olds, meaning a horse never gets a second chance at the Triple Crown. Owners, trainers and jockeys often get more than one try, but they have had even less success winning all three races.

Worst Kentucky Derby Names

The Kentucky Derby’s 139-year history has produced some pretty horrible names.

Here's a list of some of the worst thoroughbred names in Derby history:

Gold Shower -- 1943

Black Servant --1921

The Winner -- finished second-to-last in 1896

Execution's Reason -- 1980

Gay Bit -- 1944

Dunce -- 1959

Quasimodo -- 1934

Our Dad -- 1959

Degenerate Jon -- 1980

Air Forbes Won -- 1982