Kentucky Derby & Museum

Monday, Oct 24, 2022 0


There are few American sporting events with the history and popularity of the Kentucky Derby. Since 1875, the race has continuously produced “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports,” uninterrupted – even when coinciding with profound historical events like the Great Depression and two World Wars. Its rich traditions – sipping a mint julep from a silver cup, donning a beautiful hat and belting out “My Old Kentucky Home” with fellow race fans – have become just as iconic as the race itself.


The Kentucky Derby takes place on the first Saturday in May every year. More than 150,000 fans gather under the iconic twin spires of Churchill Downs, with millions more watching at home, but any Kentuckian will tell you: there’s nothing like the real thing.


A bugler in a red jacket sounds the call at Churchill Downs on Derby Day


The Road to Derby Day


Twenty horses compete in the Run for the Roses® – a larger field size than most horse races, which typically average eight. Those 20 horses must first travel the Road to the Kentucky Derby, a series of 35 races taking place at tracks across the country and the world. Points are awarded to the top four finishers in each of those races, and the 20 horses with the most points earn a coveted spot at the starting gate at Churchill Downs. The Derby is the first race in the legendary Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing, followed by the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes.


Kentucky Derby Fast Facts:

Grade: Grade I stakes race
Horses: Three-year-old thoroughbreds
Distance: 1¼ miles
Surface: Dirt
Purse: $3 Million


More Than Just a Race


The race itself lasts just two minutes, but the Derby is more like a marathon. In fact, Derby Day is just one aspect of the month-long Kentucky Derby Festival, which kicks off with Thunder Over Louisville, one of the largest annual fireworks displays in the country.


In the leadup to the Kentucky Derby, there are several other horse races that deserve your attention. Locals love Thurby, a race held the Thursday before the Derby. The next night, Kentucky Oaks is America’s premier race for three-year-old fillies (female horses). Whichever race you attend, be sure to visit the paddock to see the horses up close.


Learn more about the Kentucky Derby >


Kentucky Derby Museum


Visitors engage with the Winner's Circle exhibit at the Kentucky Derby Museum at Churchill Downs


Every Day is Derby Day at the Kentucky Derby Museum! Explore two floors of interactive exhibits, take an exclusive tour of historic Churchill Downs and get your heart racing and emotions soaring watching the Museum’s signature 18-minute movie on a 360°, 4k high resolution screen.


Learn more about the Kentucky Derby Museum >

Learn more about Kentucky Tourism

Most Read

Mike Ferguson of Skyscanner talks to Graham about expansion and the new research key for DMO’s

Dana Young updates Graham McKenzie on the progress Visit Florida is making

Jenna Saucedo-Hererra of Greater SATX

Charles Godot General Manager at voco Dubai Palm Jumeirah

Robert Khoury JA Resorts and Hotels Vice President Sales and Marketing

Harry Hastings of Ocean Holidays talks to Graham McKenzie about the past 20 years and the next 20

Nium - Is this the fastest growing Fintech company? Spencer Hanlon talks to Graham McKenzie

Sarah Doyle from Visit Phoenix

Michelle and Jalyssa of Visit Mesa

Alison Cryer, MBE of Representation Plus

Tracy Vaughan, SVP Global Trade Development at Visit Lauderdale

Marc Anderson CEO of Visit San Antonio speaks to Graham McKenzie in London about his city and IPW23

Your Email is bounced out please whitelist Or You can change your email from your profile Setting Section

Your region selection will be saved in your cookie for future visits. Please enable your cookie for so this dialog box will not come up again.

Price Based Country test mode enabled for testing United States (US). You should do tests on private browsing mode. Browse in private with Firefox, Chrome and Safari