- The 145th running of the Kentucky Derby will take place on May 4 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.
- While many people think it’s a classy affair filled with fancy dresses, huge hats, and mint juleps, the reality is a bit rowdier.
- There are over 150,000 people at the race annually.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.
The Kentucky Derby is the biggest horse race in the US, and this year will be held on May 4 for the 145th time. The very first Kentucky Derby was in 1875.
What you might not know, though, is that the Kentucky Derby gets rowdy, crowded, and attendees might even end up covered in mud.
Here’s what attending the Kentucky Derby is actually like in real life.
The Kentucky Derby is the most popular horse race in the US.
The Kentucky Derby is one of three popular horse races in the US, along with the Belmont Stakes and Preakness Stakes. Between the three, millions of dollars are bet and hundreds of thousands of spectators come out to the tracks. If a horse wins all three, which happens rarely, it receives the Triple Crown.
But trying to get to the track might prohibit you from seeing the race at all. Lines are out the door, and not just to get a seat.
Technically, the Kentucky Derby is comprised of 14 races, but the most important one is No. 12. It’s been called the “most exciting two minutes in sports.” Unfortunately, that also means No. 12 is quite easy to miss it among the crowds and lines.
Betting on the ponies sounds like it would be fun, in theory.
But the reality of betting in the Kentucky Derby is a lot more complicated, since everything from a horse’s past performances to how many races it’s participating in come into play. As much as $US150 million was wagered at the 2018 Kentucky Derby, according to Legal Sports Report.
And just trying to place your bet might cause you to miss the race altogether.
Again: the big race is two minutes long. You’ll probably be waiting in line to place a bet longer than that. As betting can have serious consequences, wagering your money might also not be the best idea …
You might think the race might be a great way to spend time with your friends.
To be fair, it does look like it can be a lot of fun in the right circumstances.
But good luck to you if you get separated — there are thousands of people at Churchill Downs.
There were more than 157,000 people in total at the 2018 Kentucky Derby, according to the Courier Journal.
Rocking a huge hat is part of Kentucky Derby tradition.
Hats have been a part of Derby Day since the first race 144 years ago in 1875.
“When women got dressed up, especially when they were going to church and formal events, the woman’s crowning glory was the hat,” stylist and creative director of YRB magazine Darius Baptist told ABC News.
But that might not even matter when you’re trying to snag a spot just to see the race.
Celebrities from the Simpson sisters to Queen Elizabeth II to Kim Kardashian have attended the Kentucky Derby, all clad in their fabulous hats. Granted, they probably didn’t have to wait in these lines…
The mint julep is the classic drink of the race. Good luck getting one, though, as, again, there will be lines for those, too.
If rain gets in the way, the entire area turns into a mud-wrestling free-for-all. Good luck keeping your clothes clean.
As of 2016, it has rained around 46% of the time during the Kentucky Derby, though it’s never been cancelled due to rain. But if it does rain, you can kiss your pristine clothes goodbye. Mud gets splattered everywhere, especially if people have indulged in too many mint juleps.
- Read more:
- 14 traditions that make the Kentucky Derby unlike any other event in sports
- Forget owning a sports team: Rich people are snapping up race horses for up to $US2.4 million, and they will probably never get that money back
- How the mint julep became one of the most popular drinks in the Southern US
- Kentucky Derby 2019: A beginner’s guide to betting the biggest horse race of the year
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