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Caturday: Churchill Downs

Image courtesy of Kallie Stahl.

It’s the first Saturday in May and the Kentucky Derby is set to begin at 6:57 p.m. ET on NBC. Even if you’re unfamiliar with the race, the fanfare surrounding some of the derby’s traditions have found their way into popular culture (big hats and mint juleps anyone)!

In honor of “The Run for the Roses” check out some fun facts and explore Falvey Library resources below. Visit the Kentucky Derby website for updates on the race and viewing information.

Fun Facts:

  • The Kentucky Derby is the longest running sporting event in the United States (the first race took place on May 17, 1875).
  • The Kentucky Derby is a Grade I stakes race for three-year-old Thoroughbred horses.
  • 20 horses compete in the race.
  • The race distance is one and one-quarter miles long (which usually takes horses a little over two minutes to complete from start to finish).
  • The race is run on a dirt racetrack at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.
  • Crowds can top 155,000 people.
  • The Kentucky Derby is the first race within the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing (it is followed by the Preakness Stakes race and the Belmont Stakes race).

Falvey Library Resources:

Works Cited: The Race. (2019). Retrieved May 2, 2023, from

Kallie Stahl ’17 MA is Communication and Marketing Specialist at Falvey Library. She visited Churchill Downs in 2019 (unfortunately, not on derby day). 






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Last Modified: May 6, 2023

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