Kentucky Derby 2024: Why This Edition Of The Run Of The Roses Is A Special One


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There are few biggest races to be staged in the United States annually than the Kentucky Derby. However, the 2024 edition of the race will be one of the most famous in the long history of the Triple Crown. 

This year, the Kentucky Derby will celebrate its 150th anniversary, with a unique trophy also having been announced for the landmark event. Despite being one of the most attended races on the international schedules, this year’s Kentucky Derby will be one of the most exciting in the history of American racing. 

Huge Build Up For The Big Race

The anticipation ahead of the Kentucky Derby this year will kick off on April 27, a week before the opening race at Churchill Downs. The post position draw will kick off the weekend, with a number of nostalgic clips set to be shown during the traditional curtain-raising event of the week.

One of the most exciting events of the week is staged across Sunday April 28 and Monday April 29, as all visitors will be able to get up close and personal with all the leading Derby and Oaks contenders. Visitors are able to attend the morning at Churchill Downs up until Wednesday, May 1, with there also been an excellent Dawn at the Downs Dining experience on offer. 

Tuesday of Derby week is all about celebrating local business, with visitors able to learn about the local community after paying a $5 entry fee. There will also be a lot of attention on Champions Day this year, which will take place on Wednesday, May 1. Viewers will be able to take a step back in time to look at some of the most impressive winners of the Kentucky Derby throughout history. 

Business Picks Up With The Oaks

The first big raceday at Churchill Downs comes on the eve of the Derby, as fillies aged three will compete in the Kentucky Oaks. This race was first staged in 1875, and the field will compete over a 1 1/8 miles for their share of the $1.25 million purse. 

The silver Kentucky Oaks trophy is presented to the winner, and the race historically took inspiration from the Epsom Oaks, which has been staged in the United Kingdom since 1779. The first edition of the Oaks was won by Vinaigrette, with the Oaks staged annually since the debut edition. 

It is one of the most popular racedays on the calendar, with over 100,000 people attending Churchill Downs. The Oaks forms the opening leg of the Filly Triple Crown, with the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes and Acorn Stakes taking place later in the year. 

It is certainly a wide open renewal of the Oaks this year, with G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Just F Y I currently heading the betting. However, we are yet to see the William Mott runner return to action since the action at Santa Anita in November.

You can check out here out the wagering works: 

Derby Day Kicks Off

The action kicks up a gear on the first Saturday in May, as anticipation levels will be rising ahead of the 150th Derby. Fans will be able to enter the track earlier in the day before the Run for the Roses, with a number of high-quality preps set to be staged before the Kentucky Derby. However, the big race of the day is undeniably the opening leg of the Triple Crown.

The Derby has been staged since 1875, and it is regularly one of the most-attended horse racing events in the history of the sport in the United States. A purse of $5 million is available to the runners, with a total distance of 1 ¼ miles covered. 

Legendary horses have won the opening leg of the Triple Crown throughout history, including Secretariat, who clocked a record speed in 1979. Meanwhile, three horses have won the Kentucky Derby without having competed on track aged two. Eddie Arcaro is the most successful jockey with five victories, while Ben Jones and Bob Baffert are tied for the most wins as trainer with six apiece. 

Who Are The Leading Contenders In 2024?

There is a wide-open feel to the Kentucky Derby this year, with no standout contender yet coming from out of the pack. Long-time market leader Fierceness failed to deliver on his three-year-old bow after finishing only third in the Holy Bull Stakes. 

Meanwhile, Locked and Track Phantom are currently among the early market leaders. Mystik Dan was one of the most impressive prep winners in recent weeks, and could be a solid value contender if he gets his conditions. Dornoch could also have very interesting claims for trainer Danny Gargan after scoring in the Ramsen Stakes by a nose from Sierra Leone. The trainer will be looking for a first ever Triple Crown victory at the 150th Derby. 

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