The Kentucky Derby: Race History & Key Facts

  • Location: Churchill Downs
  • Inaugural Race: 1875
  • Current Distance: 1 & 1/4 miles (10 furlongs)
  • Track Type: Left-Handed Dirt
  • Age Qualification: Three-year-olds
  • 2015 Purse: $2 million

Video of the 2014 Kentucky Derby

Check out the results of the 2014 Kentucky Derby, where jockey Victor Espinoza rode the 2014 Horse of the Year California Chrome to victory, securing his shot at the Triple Crown!

A Brief History of the Kentucky Derby

The most famous horse race in the world is the most thrilling two minutes in sport.  It takes place on the first Saturday in May at the historic Churchill Downs racecourse in Louisville, Kentucky and regularly attended by more than 150,000 people. The record attendance was 165,307 in 2012, and in 2014 164,906 watched California Chrome win "the run for the roses".

The inaugural Kentucky Derby took place in 1875 after Col. Meriweather Lewis Clark, Jr had visited England three years earlier and witnessed the Epsom Derby, a famous race which had been run since 1780 on the outskirts of London. The Kentucky Derby was originally raced over the same distance of 1 & 1/2 miles as the Epsom Derby (it was changed to its current distance of 1 & 1/4 miles in 1896. An estimated crowd of 10,000 watched the colt Aristides crowned winner of the first running of the race at the newly constructed Churchill Downs racecourse.

The first live radio broadcast of the Kentucky Derby was in 1925, and it wasn't until 1949 that the first television coverage of the race happened. In 2015 the race will be covered live by NBC.

The race is so popular that in the preceding two weeks leading up to the running, the city of Louisville holds the Kentucky Derby Festival, Kentucky’s largest single annual event. The Kentucky Derby Festival is comprised of several events, including Thunder Over Louisville (the biggest annual fireworks display in North America), the Great Balloon Race, the Pegasus Parade (one the countries largest), and The Great Steamboat Race.

Entries into the Kentucky Derby include some of the most famous racehorses to ever compete. Notable entries into the race include Regret, Sir Burton, Gallant Fox, Omaha, War Admiral, Citation, Northern Dancer, Seattle Slew, War Emblem, and California Chrome.

Visit our Derby Trivia page for more insights into the most famous race in the world, including detailed facts about entries, records, and winners.

BetAmerica is a licensed supplier of online betting on the Kentucky Derby.  You can bet on the Kentucky Derby legally online at BetAmerica with a regulated U.S. based website where your deposits are safe and your winnings are guaranteed.  All bets are placed directly into the official Churchill Downs betting pools and all winnings are paid at full track odds.

Bet On The Kentucky Derby – Race Records

Scroll over any box below to view the historical records for the Kentucky Derby:

Fastest Time

Secretariat- 1973

Biggest Odds Winner

Donerail- 1913

Most Wins by a Jockey

Eddie Arcaro (1938, 1941, 1945, 1948, 1952) & Bill Hartack (1957, 1960, 1962, 1964, 1969)

Most Wins by a Trainer

Ben A Jones (1938, 1941, 1944, 1948, 1949, 1952)

Most Wins by an Owner

Calumet Farm (1941, 1944, 1948, 1949, 1952, 1957, 1958, 1968)

Biggest Winning Margin

8 lengths
Assault (1946) & Whirlaway (1941)

Historical Race Results for the Kentucky Derby

Winners of the Kentucky Derby are immediately cemented in horse racing history. In the table below, view a record of the winning horses,  jockeys and trainers for the Kentucky Derby.

Click Here to View Full Table
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Country House
Flavien Prat
Bill Mott
Mrs. J.V. Shields, Jr., E. J. M. McFadden, Jr. and LNJ Foxwoods
Mike E. Smith
Bob Baffert
China Horse Club, Head of Plains Partners, Starlight Racing and WinStar Farm
Always Dreaming
John Velazquez
Todd Pletcher
MeB Racing, Brooklyn Boyz, et al.
Mario Gutierrez
Doug O'Neill
J. Paul Reddam
American Pharoah
Victor Espinoza
Bob Baffert
Ahmed Zayat
California Chrome
Victor Espinoza
Art Sherman
Steve Coburn and Perry Martin
Joel Rosario
Claude McGaughey III
Stuart Janney and Phipps Stable
I'll Have Another
Mario Gutierrez
Doug O'Neill
J. Paul Reddam
Animal Kingdom
John Velazquez
H. Graham Motion
Team Valor
Super Saver
Calvin Borel
Todd Pletcher
WinStar Farm