For some, the Kentucky Derby is about the fashion or the festivities, but without the horses, there’d be none of it. To conclude the Fifteen Fun Facts Derby Countdown, some interesting facts about the horses involved in the 137 runnings of the Kentucky Derby:
The Kentucky Derby has been won by the favorite in 52 runnings. The most recent favorite to win was Big Brown in 2008.
Prior to the Kentucky Derby field being limited to only 20 horses, the largest field saw 23 runners break from the gate in 1974.
There have been 22 horses to enter the Kentucky Derby undefeated since 1900. Seven maintained that record at the close of the day. Big Brown in 2008 was the last undefeated horse to win the Kentucky Derby. Gemologist is the only undefeated contender in this year’s Kentucky Derby.
There have been 40 fillies to run in the Kentucky Derby. Of them, three have won it-- Winning Colors (1988), Genuine Risk (1980) and Regret (1915).
The Kentucky Derby prep race that has produced the most Kentucky Derby runners is Keeneland’s Blue Grass Stakes. A total of 93 horses in the last 25 years have come out of the Blue Grass stakes. Dullahan won the Blue Grass Stakes this year.
The 1 1/4 mile Kentucky Derby is a long race to win on the lead from gate to wire, but 22 horses have done it. The most recent was War Emblem in 2002. Could the front-running Bodemeister do it this year?
There have been 19 Kentucky Derby winners whose names began with the letter "S." Sabercat is the only contender with a "S" name is this year's Kentucky Derby.
Since 1973, 11 Kentucky Derby winners have been stabled in Barn 42. This year Union Rags, Hansen and Alpha will call Barn 42 home.
As training patterns change, more horses are making less starts prior to the Kentucky Derby. Eleven Kentucky Derby winners have made only two starts as a three-year-old prior to winning the Kentucky Derby and five of them have won in the last five years. This year's contenders with only two starts this year include: Daddy Nose Best, Done Talking, Dullahan, Gemologist, I'll Have Another, Sabercat, Take Charge Indy, Trinniberg, and Union Rags.
These are just some of the many fascinating facts about the Kentucky Derby. Hope you've enjoyed counting down the Derby the last couple of weeks with these Derby fun facts.
Photo: Kentucky Derby/Dan Dry