2020 Kentucky Derby Facts
The Kentucky Derby is one of the longest-running horse races in North America. And with that fact comes a ton of history. You wouldn’t think it, but the fastest two minutes in sports – so it’s called – is chock full of extremely odd and useful facts that you can use to impress your buddies or that special lady in your life. Without further ado, here is everything you need to know about the Kentucky Derby and some interesting facts you need to know.
The What, Where, and When: In every other year not affected by a pandemic like we’ve experienced in 2020, the Kentucky Derby has been run on the first Saturday in May. It was scheduled for May 5, 2020, but Covid had other ideas. Instead, it will be run on September 5, 2020, making it the second stop on the Triple Crown journey. As for where, the Derby has been and likely always will be run under the twin spires of Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. Post time for the race is usually about 6:30 p.m. ET. The races start many hours before that, though, and there is always great racing of all types on the undercard.
The Who: All horses that run in the Derby are three years old. That means that these horses this year are all born in 2017. To make things simpler, all thoroughbreds have the same birthday regardless of when they are actually born -- Jan. 1. So, a horse that was born on Dec. 30 would technically turn a year old when he had only been alive for two days.
How Many Horses Run in the Kentucky Derby? The maximum field size is 20 horses. However, only recently we have seen Derbies with all 20 entries running. For the longest time, trainers thought twice about saddling up their horses for the Run for the Roses, but now we have “also eligible” horses on standby, which means if a horse is scratched before Friday morning, one of the AE’s will fill the void.
Triple Crown Winners List: Sir Barton (1919), Gallant Fox (1930), Omaha (1935), War Admiral (1937), Whirlaway (1941), Count Fleet (1943), Assault (1946), Citation (1948), Secretariat (1973), Seattle Slew (1977), Affirmed (1978), American Pharaoh (2015), Justify (2018).
As you can see, as the years passed, so did the time between Triple Crown winners. The American Triple Crown is one of the hardest achievements in all of sports, and it may yet be another two, five, 10, or even 15-20 years before we see another horse etch their name in history.
Who Has the Best Kentucky Derby Time? I’m too young to have seen Secretariat run. However, from everything I’ve seen (YouTube) and everything I’ve read, Secretariat may very well be the greatest horse of all time. When he won the Kentucky Derby in 1973, he set an incredible running record at 1:59.40. To this day, that is both a Derby record and the track record for Churchill Downs at the distance.
Minimum Trifecta Bet on the Kentucky Derby: For starters, the trifecta is “a bet in which the person betting forecasts the first three finishers in a specific race in the correct order”. This means that you will not only be picking the winner of the race but the second and third-place finishers as well. A trifecta bet is one of the harder bets to win at the races, but the potential payout is sometimes worth the risk – especially when the race is comprised of several long shot horses and a favorite of 5/2 odds or better. In a 20-horse field, there are 6,840 different three-horse combinations, and only one of them is correct.
The cost of a trifecta really depends on how many horses you include. The simplest form of the trifecta is a ticket that looks like this: 1 with 2 with 3. That means the order of finish has to be 1-2-3. That would cost $1. The more horses you add, the higher the cost because of the more possibly combination you are covering.
Amount of Money Bet on Kentucky Derby Annually: The answer I want to write is a ****-ton. But I can’t swear, so I will just say “a lot of money”. When Justify won this race back in 2018, bettors bet a whopping $149.9 million on the Kentucky Derby alone. That was $10 million more than the previous record, and the whopping $225.7 million bet on the entire card was eight percent better than the previous record. Those numbers are a bit misleading in a sense because that amount doesn't include any money bet on props or futures at sportsbooks or any money bet illegally on the race.
Kentucky Derby Wagering Options: You can bet on this race in pretty much every way you can bet on any other race. The most basic bets are the win, place, and show -- picking the horse that will finish first, first or second, or first, second and third, respectively. The win bet is harder to win than the show bet, so it obviously pays more. You can bet the exacta, which is picking the first- and second-place finishers in the correct order, or the quinella, which is the top two in any order. The trifecta is like the exacta, except you have to pick the top three in any order. The superfecta is the top four, and if you are feeling really wild and crazy the Super High Five is the top five in the correct order. The Super High Five is about as tough to win as a lottery in this race, but you get paid for it if you are right -- a $1 bet last year paid $183,580, and that was with the heavy favorite winning. There is also the inter-race exotic bets. The Daily Double, Pick 3, Pick 4, Pick 5 and Pick 6 allow you to pick the winner of the Derby along with the winners of the one, two, three, four or five previous race. Obviously, the more races that are involved, the harder the bet is to win, but the higher the expected payout is. Finally, an option unique to this race is the Derby-Oaks double, which allows you to pick the winner of this race and of the Kentucky Oaks, the premier race for three-year-old fillies held on Friday afternoon.
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