Saturday, May 1, 2010

Derby Day

 I will be spending most of my day at my friend's " Kentucky Derby "  party.  So, in honor of the annual event, I thought I'd post some derby " fun facts & trivia" Enjoy!

The Kentucky Derby trophy is made of 56 ounces of 14 and 18 carat gold, and is two feet tall.

Churchill Downs opened on May 17, 1875 and the very first race was won by a horse named Bonaventure. The featured race's winner was a 3 year-old chestnut colt named Aristides.

The phrase "Run for the Roses" was coined by New York sports columnist Bill Corum, who would later become president of Churchill Downs.

In 1969, Diane Crump became the first woman to ride in the Kentucky Derby and the first to ride in a pari-mutuel race in North America.

The horseshoe atop the Kentucky Derby was originally pointing down, and was turned 180 degrees to point upward in 1924.

Racing silks were adopted in order to distinguish jockeys and horses from one another.

"My Old Kentucky Home", the song played when the horse are led onto the field, has been played by University of Louisville Marching Band since 1936.

Early Times is the official Kentucky whiskey used to make Mint Juleps at the Kentucky Derby.

Many celebrities have owned horses that have run in the Derby, including Steven Speilberg, George Steinbrenner and Burt Bacharach.

The Garland of Roses, presented to the winner of the Kentucky Derby, has been shipped to Danville, Kentucky to be freeze-dried since 1996. Some owners even save a rose in order to dip it in silver for preservation.

The Derby was nationally telecast for the first time on May 3, 1952 on a CBS affiliate.

In 1896, the Derby was shortened from 1 ? miles to 1 ? miles because it was thought that the distance was too long for 3 year-old colts to run in the spring.

Donerail became the longest shot to win the Kentucky Derby in 1913, with 91.45-1 odds.

12 Kentucky Derby winners have sired other Kentucky Derby winners, with Bold Venture actually siring two.

The roses were first established as part of the Derby celebration when they were presented to all the ladies attending a fashionable Louisville Derby party. The roses were such a sensation, that the president of Churchill Downs, Col. Lewis Clark, adopted the rose as the race's official flower. The rose garland now synonymous with the Kentucky Derby first appeared in the 1896 when the winner, Ben Brush, received a floral arrangement of white and pink roses.

In 1904 the red rose became the official flower of the Kentucky Derby. The tradition was strengthened when, in 1925, New York sports columnist Bill Corum, later the president of Churchill Downs, dubbed the Kentucky Derby the "Run for the Roses". The garland as it exists today was first introduced in 1932 for the 58th running won by Burgoo King.

Each year, a garland of 554 red roses is sewn into a green satin backing with the seal of the Commonwealth on one end and the twin spires and number of the running on the other. Each garland is also adorned with a "Crown" of roses, green fern and ribbon. The "Crown", a single rose pointing upward in the center of the garland, symbolizes the struggle and heart necessary to reach the winners' circle.

Each year the Governor and other dignitaries present the winning jockey with a bouquet of 60 long stemmed roses wrapped in ten yards of ribbon.

For several years, owners of the Derby winner also received a silk replica of the garland, but since Grindstone's 1996 victory, the actual garland has made the trip to Danville, Kentucky to be freeze-dried. Some owners have even gone as far as to have a flower dipped in silver. A silver dipped flower from the garland of Gato del Sol, the 1982 winner, is on display in the Kentucky Derby Museum.

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