10 Fun Facts about the 2015 Kentucky Derby

Profile Picture: Jen Caldwell

Jen Caldwell

April 16th, 2015

  1. The Kentucky Derby has four different nicknames – “The Run for the Roses” “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports” “America’s Greatest Race” “The Oldest Continuously Held Major Sporting Event in America”
  2. There are three fillies – Regret (1915), Genuine Risk (1980) and Winning Colors (1988) – and nine geldings – Vagrant (1876), Apollo (1882), Macbeth II (1888), Old Rosebud (1914), Exterminator (1918), Paul Jones (1920), Clyde Van Dusen (1929), Funny Cide (2003) and Mine That Bird (2009) – who have won the Kentucky Derby.
  3. There have been only two disqualifications in Kentucky Derby history – Dancer’s Image (1968, 1st to 14th) and Gate Dancer (1984, 4th to 5th).
  4. The oldest winning owner of the Kentucky Derby is Frances Genter, who was 92 when Unbridled captured the 1990 edition.
  5. Bill Shoemaker has had the most Kentucky Derby mounts (26 from 1952-1988) and is also the oldest winning jockey when piloting Ferdinand to victory in 1986 at the age of 54.
  6. Each year 120,000 mint juleps, the official drink of the Kentucky Derby, are served over the two-day Oaks and Derby weekend at Churchill Downs. They require 10,000 bottles of Old Forester Mint Julep (the ready-to-serve cocktail made with Old Forester Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky), 1000 pounds of freshly harvested mint and 60,000 pounds of ice.
  7. Over the years, the famed Kentucky Derby infield has served as more than just party central on the first Saturday in May. In 1910, one of the first recorded flights in Kentucky took place in the infield courtesy of legendary aviator Glenn Curtiss. In 1918 during World War I, to help offset a potato shortage, the crop was planted in the infield with 1,000 bushels being harvested and auctioned off, with the money going to the Red Cross. And during the 1942 fall meet, soldiers from Fort Knox and Bowman Field were housed in the infield in tents.
  8. The Garland of Roses placed upon the Kentucky Derby winner is 122 inches long, 22 inches wide and weighs approximately 40 pounds. More than 400 “Freedom” roses are placed on the garland, and it takes 10-12 hours, from start to finish, to complete the Garland of Roses.
  9. In 140 runnings of the Kentucky Derby, there have been 1,826 starters, with names beginning with every letter of the alphabet except the letter “X.” Horses whose names begin with the letter “S” have won the most (19) followed by the letters “B” (13) and “C” (12). There are no winners whose names begin with the letters “Q,” “X” or “Y.”
  10. Horses classified as bay have won the most Kentucky Derbies (52), closely followed by chestnuts (46).

Stats and figures courtesy of the Kentucky Derby media guide