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Kentucky Derby Fun Facts

The Kentucky Derby trophy is made of 56 ounces of 14 and 18 carat gold, and is two feet tall.

Churchill Downs opened on May 17, 1875 and the very first race was won by a horse named Bonaventure. The featured race’s winner was a 3 year-old chestnut colt named Aristides.

The phrase “Run for the Roses” was coined by New York sports columnist Bill Corum, who would later become president of Churchill Downs.

In 1969, Diane Crump became the first woman to ride in the Kentucky Derby and the first to ride in a pari-mutuel race in North America.

The horseshoe atop the Kentucky Derby was originally pointing down, and was turned 180 degrees to point upward in 1924.

Racing silks were adopted in order to distinguish jockeys and horses from one another.

“My Old Kentucky Home”, the song played when the horse are led onto the field, has been played by University of Louisville Marching Band since 1936.

Early Times is the official Kentucky whiskey used to make Mint Juleps at the Kentucky Derby.

Many celebrities have owned horses that have run in the Derby, including Steven Speilberg, George Steinbrenner and Burt Bacharach.

The Garland of Roses, presented to the winner of the Kentucky Derby, has been shipped to Danville, Kentucky to be freeze-dried since 1996. Some owners even save a rose in order to dip it in silver for preservation.

The Derby was nationally telecast for the first time on May 3, 1952 on a CBS affiliate.

In 1896, the Derby was shortened from 1 ? miles to 1 ? miles because it was thought that the distance was too long for 3 year-old colts to run in the spring.

Donerail became the longest shot to win the Kentucky Derby in 1913, with 91.45-1 odds.

12 Kentucky Derby winners have sired other Kentucky Derby winners, with Bold Venture actually siring two.

There has never been a winner to come out of post position #15.

The fastest Derby run was by Secretariat in 1973, at 1:59.40. The slowest run was by Stone Street in 1908, at 2:15.20.