The first Saturday of May can always help drive away the memory of nasty winter cold, politics, wars, terrorism and all the other distractions of life when the Kentucky Derby, the most famous horse race in the world, takes place.
It is the first step in the American Triple Crown for Thoroughbred horses and the beginning of reaching for that dream of all horse breeders and a place in history.
For 142 years horses have gone to the gate in the Kentucky Derby at the legendary Churchill Downs racetrack in Louisville, in hopes of winning the Triple Crown.
The Triple Crown has three races of over a mile against the best horses in the world during a five week period and is the true test of champions. In the 142 years since the Kentucky Derby began only 12 horses have won the coveted Triple Crown. When American Pharaoh won last year it ended a 37 year drought since the last Triple Crown champion, Affirmed in 1978, the longest drought ever between Triple Crown champions.
Between the time Affirmed and American Pharoah won the triple crown, twelve horses have won both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes but none won the Belmont Stakes to claim the Triple Crown. The closest was Real Quiet in 1998 who lost by a nose in the
. In fact, more people have walked on the moon than there have been horses winning the Triple Crown. Belmont
Now no horse will ever be the champion like Secretariat in 1973 who blazed to glory winning the three races by a record total of 36 lengths. It had been 25 years since the previous Triple Crown winner and to this day Secretariat holds the records in the Derby, Preakness and the Belmont.
Secretariat was not the only winner to make history. Affirmed won all three of his legendary races with Alydar finishing second in each. This rivalry ranks as the best triple crown competition in history. Alydar was the only horse to ever finish 2nd in all three races and in the Belmont when Affirmed was going for the Triple Crown they were nose to nose at the finish line with Affirmed winning in a photo finish by a nose. In all three races the two horses finished just two lengths apart.
The Kentucky Derby is the most amazing two minutes in sports and this year another strong field.