Kentucky Derby Trivia and Facts to Know in 2021

Do you watch the Kentucky Derby? Yay or neigh?

The Kentucky Derby is the most distinguished horse race in the USA. It was established in 1875 and runs annually on the first Saturday in May at the Churchill Downs racetrack in Louisville, Kentucky. There’s almost a year until the next derby runs, but if you’re gonna win those Kentucky Derby trivia games, you’d better start preparing right about…now!

Being the Kentucky Derby trivia pros that we are, we’ve prepared a list of the most engaging facts that will also help you excel at Kentucky Derby betting.

Let’s get galloping! 

Kentucky Derby History Trivia

When it comes to facts and history, Kentucky Derby has been obtaining one of the longest sports traditions, which is what makes it so important for Kentuckians and Americans in general. Let’s weigh into some interesting Kentucky Derby history facts.

Q: Who founded the Kentucky Derby?

A: Lewis Clark Jr.

Lewis Clark Jr. is the grandson of William Clark, the famous explorer of the Lewis and Clark duo. He started Kentucky Derby after visiting the Epsom Derby in England.

Q: Who won the first Kentucky Derby?

A: The first Kentucky Derby was won by a horse named Aristides.

It’s a racing certainty that this one comes up in a Kentucky Derby trivia game. Aristides, who was trained by a former slave named Ansel Williamson, was ridden by Oliver Lewis on May 18th 1875 and managed to cross the finish line ahead of others. The horse’s owner, H.P. McGrath was watching the race along with an enormous crowd.

Q: How many horses have run at the Kentucky Derby?

A: 1,846 in 141 runnings.

Facts about the Kentucky Derby show that fillies carry 121 pounds whilst colts carry 126 pounds. As of 1896, the race distance was also reduced from 1.5 miles to the current distance which is 1.25 miles.

Q: How many horses are admitted per race?

A: 20

This one is bound to come up at a Kentucky Derby quiz. The Derby is limited to 3-year-olds and as of 1975, only 20 horses are admitted to the race each year. This, however, remains to be the largest field among races in the United States.

Q: What colour horses have won the most races?


A: Bay horses

According to Kentucky Derby facts, bay horses have won a total of 52 races, shortly followed by chestnut horses with 46 wins, dark bay/brown horses with 31 wins and grey/roan horses with a total of 8 wins.

Q: Which post positions have won the most Derbys?

A: #10 and #5

Fun facts about the Kentucky Derby reveal that the starting gate was introduced in 1930. Some of the luckiest post positions ever since have been #10 with 9 wins, identically to #5. Other lucky post positions include #1 with 8 wins, 38 with 8 wins, #2 with 7 wins, #7 with 6 wins, #3 with 5 wins as well as 34 with 5 wins.

Q: How many horses ran in the 1892 Derby?

A: Three.

The three horses that ran in 1892 were Azra, Huron and Phill Dwyer, Kentucky Derby facts trivia show. The winner received a purse worth $4,230, the jockey that came in second received $300 and the prize for third place was $150.

Q: What was the name of the horse that became the first Triple Crown winner in 25 years?

A: Secretariat.

Secretariat is hot stuff among Kentucky Derby interesting facts. Secretariat, also known as Big Red was a champion thoroughbred horse and the 9th winner of the Triple Crown. He took his record-breaking victory by 31 lengths in the Belmont Stakes, which is still considered one of the greatest races in the history of the Kentucky Derby.

Q: What is the traditional Kentucky Derby drink?

A: Mint Julep.

About 120,000 Mint Juleps are served over the two-day Kentucky Derby. According to Kentucky Derby facts, more than 10,000 bottles of Old Forester Julep are used in the process, along with 1,000 pounds of freshly harvested mint and 60,000 pounds of ice.

Kentucky Derby Jockey Trivia

The Derby has been home to numerous jockeys throughout the years. Kentucky Derby jockey facts are bound to come up in any Kentucky Derby trivia quiz, so let’s take a look at the demographics regarding the contestants by reviewing some Kentucky Derby trivia questions.

Q: Have any female jockeys ever won the Derby?

A: Nope!

Unfortunately, no female jockey has won the Kentucky Derby, according to Kentucky Derby facts. However, 6 women have competed in 8 runnings with Rosie Napravnik finishing fifth on Mylate in 2013, which was thought to be the best finish for the year.

Q: Which jockey has the most Kentucky Derby mounts?

A: Bill Shoemaker with 26 mounts.

Despite Bill Shoemaker being the real deal, other jockeys have been noted to have a favourable number of mounts, including Pat Day with 22, Eddie Arcaro with 21, Laffit Pincay Jr. with 21 and Mike Smith with 20 mounts.

Q: How many winners have had names starting with the letter “S”?

A: 19.

As fun facts about the Kentucky Derby claim, a total of 19 former winners have had names starting with the letter “S”, the most famous of which is Secretariat, the fastest horse in the history of the Kentucky Derby. Secretariat finished the 1973 race in less than 2 minutes.

Q: What was the name of the first female jockey to ever ride in the Derby?

A: Diane Crump.

Diane Crump was the first woman to participate in the Kentucky Derby, according to Kentucky Derby history facts. A female victory is yet to be seen, however, Shelley Riley came in second in 1992, which was the closest to a female victory.

Q: Where were the most Kentucky Derby winners born?

A: Kentucky, duh!

Facts about the Kentucky derby reveal that Kentucky-born players have been dominating the Derby for quite some time, with 107 winners being born at the scene of the crime. But, not all winners were actual Kentuckians, with 6 players being born in Florida, 4 in Virginia, 4 in California and 3 in Tennessee. Only 4 Kentucky Derby Winners have been born outside the borders of the United States: Tomy Lee and Omar Khayyam, both born in the UK and of course, the Canadian-bred Sunny’s Halo and Northern Dancer.

Q: What was the youngest jockey to win the Kentucky Derby?

A: Alonzo “Lonnie” Clayton

Lonnie was just 15 when he won the Derby in 2892. The oldest winner of the race was Bill Shoemaker, who was 54 when he took the victory in 1986.

Q: What is the name of the jockey that won the Derby in 2020 and 2021?

A: John Velazquez

John R. Velazquez is a Puerto Rican jockey involved in thoroughbred horse racing. As per Kentucky Derby jockey facts, he was the United States Champion Jockey by earnings in 2004 and 2005 and was given the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey. He became the leading money-earning jockey in the history of horse racing in 2014.

Q: Which jockeys hold the record in most Derbys won?

A: Eddie Arcaro and Bill Hartack

Arcaro and Hartack share the record for most Derbys won over the course of their careers. Despite the Derby being referred to as “the most exciting two minutes in sports”. Only two horses have managed to finish in under two minutes, with the first being Secretariat and Sham, who finished two and a half lengths behind Secretariat.

Kentucky Derby Fun Facts and Trivia

The Kentucky Derby is celebrating its 146th birthday in 2021. Having such a long tradition carries a plethora of trivia questions about the Kentucky Derby. Let’s dive into them right away!

Q: How much does the Kentucky Derby trophy weigh?

A: 3.5 lbs.

Apart from the trophy, the winner is crowned with a rose blanket which takes up to 12 hours to create, according to Kentucky Derby fun facts. The rose blanket is 122 inches long, 22 inches wide and weighs around 30 pounds. After he puts on the blanket, the winner usually heads over to Baltimore, where he is greeted with a second jewel of the crown and the Preakness Stakes. 

Q: What was the lowest temperature the Kentucky Derby was organized at?

A: 47 degrees.

This is one of the trivia questions about the Kentucky Derby that might have you itching your head. In 1935 and 1957, it was 47 degrees cold outside at the time the Derby was taking place. The Derby has also taken place in hot weather as well, with the record being set in 1959 with 94 degrees outside.

Q: What is the administrative birthday of all thoroughbred horses?

A: January 1.

All thoroughbred horses share the same birthday – January 1. This is, of course, purely administrative and does not represent the actual birthdays of the horses. However, in order to make it easier to keep track of bloodlines, their horse age begins with the start of the year, regardless of their actual birthdays.

Q: What is Post #1 commonly called?

A: The Dreaded Rail

The #1 post makes it a bit difficult to pull away from the pack due to its tendency to leave the horse behind other racers. Thus, it’s often referred to as “The Dreaded Rail”. Make sure to remember this one, it’s a must in a Kentucky Derby trivia game.

Q: When didn’t the Kentucky Derby take place on a Saturday?

A: In 1945 and in 2020.

The Derby is traditionally held on the first Saturday of May each year, with only two exclusions to the rule. Once in 1945 due to a wartime ban on horse racing and in 2020, when the Derby was slightly delayed due to Covid-19 lockdowns.

Q: How many fillies have won the race?

A: Three.

Facts about the Kentucky Derby reveal that only three female horses have managed to win the Kentucky Derby.  Regret in 2915, Genuine Risk in 1980 as well as Winning Colors in 1988.

Q: When was the Kentucky Derby first televised?

A: 1952.

On May 3rd 1952, the Kentucky Derby was nationally televised for the first time in history. Later on, in 1956, the first-ever Kentucky Derby festival took place. The event is now held annually in the first two weeks before the actual races.

Q: What is the current purse for the Kentucky Derby?

A: $3 million.

According to Kentucky Derby fun facts, the prize has significantly risen since old times. The winner currently takes home $1.86 million, whereas $600,000 are reserved for second place and $300,000 for the jockey that comes in third. The prizes for fourth and fifth place equal $150,000 and $90,000.

Q: Who was the last foreign-bred horse to participate in the race?

A: Castledale

Castledale is an Irish-bred horse that entered the competition in 2004, which marked the 130th edition of the Derby. Castledale was trained by Jeff Mullins.

Q: Who is the oldest winning trainer at the Kentucky Derby?

A: Art Sherman

Here’s some interesting Kentucky Derby trivia. Art Sherman was 77 when he trained California Chrome in 2014 and brought home a victory on both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes. Art Sherman is also a former jockey himself. The youngest trainer to ever win the Derby was James “Jimmy” Rowe Sr. who was only 24 when he trained Hindoo in 1881.

Q: What was the largest Kentucky Derby attendance?

A: 170,513 people

A total of 170,513 people came to see the races in 2015. The largest attendance for a Kentucky Oaks, on the other hand, was a total of 124,589 people in 2016.

Photo-Finishing Up

The Kentucky Derby is one of the most important, traditional events in the history of American sports. It is surely a fascinating event and there’s still so much about it that we’re yet to discover, but we hope this Kentucky Derby trivia has helped you a better picture of the world of horse racing and has encouraged you to start placing in some Kentucky Derby wagers.

We don’t guarantee a win, but your chances of picking up a banker are significantly higher now, wouldn’t you say?

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