The Kentucky Derby isn’t one of those things that started small and grew bigger over time. It has gotten bigger – today bursting at the seams at Churchill Downs, and followed by millions around the world. But in no way did it start out small. The very first Kentucky Derby, in 1875, was planned to be the greatest horse race ever held, and took off from there.
But what is it about the “Run for the Roses” that so captures our imagination, tugs at our heartstrings, and makes us wish to be in Kentucky on the first Saturday in May? What is it that draws horses and people from all corners to this one place, on this one day, for one very special race?
It begins in the stables during the days leading up to the Derby, in the early hours of springtime mornings, with the soft sounds of horse hooves flying rhythmically over the course at Churchill Downs. Louisville sets itself on its ear for Derby, capped with 170,000 people packing into a sprawling grandstand that’s topped by Twin Spires, laced with box seats and big bets – and even bigger hats! – all leading to a climax of the race itself.
The Derby has everything. It’s colorful, sporty and fun. It’s all about rivalries and romance, heroes and history.