In 1952 on May the third, the public at large could sit in front of the television at home and watch the very first televised running of the Kentucky Derby then a scant two years later in 1954, for the very first time in history, the purse at the Kentucky Derby topped one hundred thousand dollars.
For people that are into dates, it was the year nineteen thirty-seven when Churchill Downs acquired that name after John and Henry Churchill who supplied the land where the track is located. In the fifties the Kentucky Derby really began to come into it’s own. It was on May 17th in the year eighteen seventy-five when the first official race was run here featuring a lineup of fifteen three year old horses in front a whopping ten thousand race fans.
Back in 1931 the Kentucky Derby moved into the number one spot in the running of the Triple Crown then the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes.
The race was financially in bad shape until it was purchased in 1902 by a group of Louisville businessmen and it has flourished ever since that time.
In the year 2004, for the first time in history the jockeys were allowed to sport advertising logos on the outfits they wore. In that year it was changed to include the top five finishers all getting a slice of the proverbial winning pie that is known as the Kentucky Derby’s purse.
There has been some tarnish marks along the way in the history of the Kentucky Derby with Dancers Image becoming the first horse in history – in fact the ONLY horse in history – to be disqualified from winning the Kentucky Derby in 1968 after traces of an anti-inflammatory analgesic drug known as phenylbutazone was found in the analysis of the horses urine. You may not know a lot about it, but you have heard about it. They won that right through legalities that ended in a court order forcing the Kentucky Derby to allow it.
In 1973 the horse Secretariat broke the two-minute mark and came in at one minute and fifty-nine point five seconds making it the fasted Kentucky Derby ever.
The History of The Kentucky Derby
by: Simon M. Skinner
To make things more competitive and fair to the horses, jockeys and fans, the Kentucky Derby limits the participants to three years olds and is officially run the first Sunday in May.
If you are alive and live on planet earth, you have heard of the Kentucky Derby. A few years later the rules at the Kentucky Derby were changed to allow horses to run the race while using phenylbutazone. . It has been called the most exciting two minutes in sports since that is about how long the race lasts.
It is only natural that the great state of Kentucky holds the honor of this auspicious race since thoroughbred horses have been bred and raced in Kentucky since late in the eighteenth century.
Up until the year 2005 only the top four horses took home a share of the purse