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Kentucky Derby Facts

  • The Kentucky Derby is the oldest continually held sporting event in the United States.

  • About 10,000 people watched the first Kentucky Derby held on May 17, 1875. The winner of the first Derby was a three-year-old chestnut colt named Aristides. Owned by H.P. McGrath, Aristides was trained by Ansel Williamson, and ridden by Oliver Lewis.

  • Thirteen of the 15 riders in the first Kentucky Derby were African-American, while African-American riders won 15 of the Derby's first 28 runnings.

  • The red rose became the official flower of the Kentucky Derby in 1904.

  • The first network television broadcast of the Kentucky Derby aired on May 3, 1952. It originated from Louisville, Kentucky based CBS affiliate WHAS.

  • The first woman to ride in the Kentucky Derby was Diane Crump on May 2, 1970. No woman has ever ridden a Derby winner.

  • The Derby speed record was set by Secretariat, who broke the two-minute mark in 1973, and blazed the mile and a quarter distance in 1:59.4.

  • The largest Kentucky Derby field was achieved in 1973 when 23 horses ran in the race. The smallest field was only 3 horses, in 1892 and 1905 running of the race.