Twelve Things You Should Know About the 2018 Kentucky Derby

Racing
Fans cheer the runners to the finish line in the 2016 Kentucky Derby. (Eclipse Sportswire)

The greatest two minutes in sports is just around the corner! Brush up on your trivia for this year’s Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve with the 12 must-know facts below.

1. The post-time favorite has won the race each of the last five years, a streak that hasn’t been matched since 1895. This year, expected favorite Justify will try to emulate Orb (2013), California Chrome (2014), American Pharoah (2015), Nyquist (2016), and Always Dreaming (2017).

2. The Kentucky Derby is one of the highest-attended sporting events in the world. Last year 158,070 horse racing fans packed the track, and the average over the last 10 years is 160,963.

3. Horses whose first initial is “A” have won the race 11 times from 96 tries, including Always Dreaming’s win last year. The 11.5 percent success rate is higher than any other initial, good news for fans of Audible.

4. No foreign-born horse has won the run for the roses since 1983, when Canadian-born Sunny’s Halo was victorious. Canadian-bred Flameaway will try this year.

5. The red rose has been the official flower of the race since 1904, and the winner’s garland features more than 400 of them.

6. Trainer Todd Pletcher has entered four or more horses in the Kentucky Derby on five occasions, more than any other trainer. This year he’s expected make that six occasions as he enters 20 percent of the field: Magnum Moon, Audible, Noble Indy, and Vino Rosso.

7. Triple Crown winner Secretariat still holds the speed record in the Derby, completing the 1 ¼ miles in 1:59.40 in 1973. Monarchos is the only other horse who’s cracked two minutes, winning the 2001 edition in 1:59.97.

8. The Florida Derby has produced three of the last five Kentucky Derby winners: Orb, Nyquist, and Always Dreaming. Audible, Hofburg, and Promises Fulfilled are the three 2018 Florida Derby runners expected for this year’s Derby.

Kentucky Derby contender Justify
Kentucky Derby contender Justify (Eclipse Sportswire)

9. The Kentucky Derby is the oldest continuously run major sporting event in the country. It has been run every year since 1875, making this year the 144th edition.

10. No horse has won the Kentucky Derby without racing as a 2-year-old since Apollo in 1882. Eight have tried in the last 10 years including Battle of Midway (third) and Patch (14th) last year. Both Magnum Moon and Justify will try to beat the “curse” this year.

11. Though both are 3-year-olds, Kentucky Derby contender Mendelssohn is technically the uncle of fellow Kentucky Derby hopeful Audible. Mendelssohn’s dam (mother) is also the dam of Audible’s sire (father), Into Mischief.

12. Last year fans bet a whopping $209,179,920 on Kentucky Derby day races, a record. More than $139 million of it was bet on the Derby alone.

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