Kentucky Derby 2021 by the numbers

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April 27th, 2021

Following an unprecedented Kentucky Derby (G1) held in September, the 2021 rendition of the Run for the Roses will look much more familiar Saturday, May 1.

The 147th edition of the most exciting two minutes in sports will feature a somewhat limited crowd at Churchill Downs, where 20 Thoroughbred horses are set to sprint for the finish line in an effort to collect the famed Garland of Roses.

To get you ready for the most exciting racing event of the year, check out these fast facts and figures, as we break down the 2021 Kentucky Derby by the numbers.

1 1/4

The distance in miles of the Kentucky Derby, the Grade 1 stakes race for three-year-old Thoroughbreds at Churchill Downs.


The number of gray or roan horses entered in the 2021 Kentucky Derby field. Only eight gray horses have won the Kentucky Derby, and the last was Giacomo in 2005.

In 2021, the Brad Cox-trained Essential Quality is expected to become the first gray horse to run as the Kentucky Derby favorite since Unbridled's Song in 1996. Longshot Soup and Sandwich is another gray in the 2021 field.


The number of horses in the 2021 Kentucky Derby who are undefeated — Essential Quality (5-0), Rock Your World (3-0), and Helium (3-0).


The post time for the 2021 Kentucky Derby is 6:50 p.m. ET. NBC will provide live race-day coverage from 2:30 to 7:30 p.m. ET.


The number of Kentucky Derby victories trainer Bob Baffert will own if Medina Spirit finishes first in 2021. Baffert is currently tied with Ben Jones for the most Kentucky Derby wins (six) by a trainer.


The record, held by Calumet Farm, for most Kentucky Derby victories by an owner. A win by the Todd Pletcher-trained Bourbonic in the 2021 Derby would give Calumet a ninth victory.  


The number of Kentucky Derby-winning horses who have sired a Derby winner.

The most recent example occurred in 1996, when Grindstone, the son of 1990 Derby winner Unbridled, triumphed in the Run for the Roses.

This year, O Besos, son of 2013 Derby winner Orb, could become the next son of a Derby champion to wear the Garland of Roses.


The number of Derby-winning horses whose name started with an "S." This year, Sainthood, Super Stock, or Soup and Sandwich could add to that tally.


The number of horses entered in the 2021 Kentucky Derby field.


The attendance capacity for this year's event. After the 2020 Kentucky Derby was postponed until September and held without fans, this year’s rendition will permit attendance at 50% capacity.

In a normal year, Churchill Downs’ regular capacity is 165,000.


According to Weather.com, the forecast high temperature for race day will be 74 degrees Fahrenheit, with plenty of sunshine and a 4% chance of rain.


The number of Kentucky Derby winners born in the state of Kentucky, including last year's victor, Authentic.


The number of points accumulated by Essential Quality, the leader in the Road to the Kentucky Derby standings. Hot Rod Charlie is second, with 110 points, followed by Super Stock, at 109.


The number of times the Kentucky Derby has been run. The event has been held each year since 1875, and on the first Saturday in May since 1946, with the exception 2020 (because of the COVID-19 pandemic).

$3 million

The purse for the Kentucky Derby, which increased from $2 million in 2019. The winner of the race receives $1.86 million, $600,000 goes to the runner-up, and $300,000 is awarded for third place.