Photo courtesy of the Associated Press
The Kentucky Derby is not simply a race to determine the fastest three-year old thoroughbred horse in the country. It is an event steeped in tradition and pageantry for both the horses and the spectators. People come dressed to impress, sip Mint Juleps, and wager bets on the outcome of the race. Women wear beautiful dresses complimented by elaborate millinery (hats) and men wear coats, ties, and fedoras. Held in Louisville, Kentucky at the Churchill Downs racetrack since 1875, the Kentucky Derby otherwise known as the Running for the Roses attracts an enormous crowd with over 167,000 spectators in attendance this year and more than 16 million tuning in at home. The track is 1 1/4 miles long or, in horseracing parlance, 10 furlongs. It may take only 2 minutes to run the race, but for breeders, owners, trainers, jockeys, spectators, and bettors, it is the most exciting couple of minutes of their lives. The winner takes home a purse of $2 million, gets draped in a garland of red roses, and has the chance to win the Triple Crown if it goes on to win the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes in the following weeks. Nyquist, jockeyed by Mario Guiterrez was the horse favored to win, and he did not disappoint. He posted a time of 2:01.31 minutes, which was the 14th fastest time in the race’s 140 year history. Congratulations to Nyquist and good luck to him as he seeks the Triple Crown.