“The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports"
Each year during the first weekend in May is the annual Kentucky Derby, one of the most famous and storied horse races in the world. The big race happens at the end of the Kentucky Derby Festival at Churchill Downs, finishing off a week of events and celebrations. Consisting of three-year-old thoroughbreds on a course of one-and-a-quarter-miles, The Kentucky Derby is a Grade 1 stakes race. This derby is incredibly exciting, so much so that it has been called “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports”. It's the first race and 1/3rd of the American Triple Crown, along with the Belmont and Preakness Stakes. All three must be won to be awarded the storied Triple Crown. In 2022, the Kentucky Derby will be run for the 148th time and will take place on May 7th, with a guaranteed purse of $2 million dollars.
What’s so great about the Kentucky Derby, along with the race of course, is the many traditions associated with it. With the derby being run every year since 1875, it’s no wonder why there are so many customs that play into the entire experience. Before the race, almost everyone drinks a mint julep, the cool and delicious cocktail made of bourbon, mint and sugar syrup. Attendees also enjoy Burgoo, which is a very thick stew made with chicken, pork, beef and vegetables. At Churchill Downs, there are two main locations to experience the race - the infield and Millionaires Row. The infield, while not having the best views of the race, is where those looking to party will be. On the other side of the spectrum is Millionaires Row with most expensive box seats and where you will find the rich, famous and well-heeled all dressed in extravagant derby outfits.
Being in Louisville, a city that really comes to life during the Kentucky Derby, means that there are lots of high-end accommodations, restaurants and events all catering to the race and its events. All over the city during derby week are events such as the Winners Party where the fastest horse, its owner, trainer and jockey are honored and awarded. Guests can take tours of Churchill Downs or see how bourbon is made during a distillery tour. When you are ready to head out for the night, there venues like Fourth Street LIVE! where top musical artists show up during race week to perform. And even though the Kentucky Derby is all about horse racing, the excitement and fun will be happening long before and after the big event.