Kentucky Derby Trivia and Facts to Know in 2024

Do you watch the Kentucky Derby? Yay or neigh?

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

Let’s get galloping!

Kentucky Derby History Trivia

When it comes to facts and history, the Kentucky Derby has been obtaining one of the longest sports traditions, which 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 the 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. On May 18, 1875, Aristides managed to cross the finish line ahead of the other 14 horses.

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

A: In 1945 and 2020

Although the Derby is traditionally held on the first Saturday of May, there were two exclusions to the rule: in 1945 due to a wartime ban on horse racing, and in 2020, when the Derby was delayed due to Covid-19 lockdowns.

Q: When was the Kentycky Derby first televised?

A: 1952

On May 3, 1952, the Kentucky Derby was nationally televised for the first time in history. When it comes to viewership figures on TV, the 2020 season had both the lowest rating and lowest number of viewers, with only 8.3 million TV viewers, which was a drop of 49% compared to the previous year.

Q: What year did the Kentucky Derby have the largest attendance?

A: 2015

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.

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

A: Diane Crump

According to Kentucky Derby history facts, Diane Crump was the first woman to participate in the Kentucky Derby in 1970. Although she didn’t win the race then, she went on to have as many as 235 wins throughout her career.

Q: Have any female jockeys ever won the Derby?

A: Nope.

Throughout Derby’s history, six women have competed in eight runnings. Unfortunately, a victory by a female jockey is yet to be seen, according to Kentucky Derby facts. 

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

A:  Eddie Arcaro and Bill Hartack

Arcaro and Hartack share the record for the most Derbys won throughout their careers, which is why they rank among the world’s best jockeys.

Q: Who was the oldest jockey to win the Kentucky Derby?

A:  Bill Shoemaker

The horse-racing legend was the oldest winner, being 54 when he took the victory in 1986. He might be de-throned as the oldest one by Mike Smith, who is set to ride in the 2022 Kentucky Derby.

Q: Who was the youngest jockey to win the Derby?

A: Alonzo “Lonnie” Clayton

Lonnie was just 15 when he rode Azra to victory on May 11, 1982. Clayton and Azra followed up their success with wins in the Clark Handicap and the Travers Stakes.

You might also be interested in How tall are jockeys?

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. He was given the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey two times, in 2004 and 2005. In 2014, Velazquez became the leading money-earning jockey in the history of horse racing.

Q: How much does the average jockey earn?

A: $30,000-$40,000

According to Career Trend, an average year’s earnings for a jockey is between $30,000-$40,000, although many jockeys can make much more with sponsorships, such as from betting companies.

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, which is more than 60% of the total purse, whereas $600,000 is reserved for second place and $300,000 for the horse that comes in third. The prizes for fourth and fifth place equal $150,000 and $90,000.

Q: How much does the winning jockey earn?

A: 10% of the prize

The percentage that a jockey will receive can range from 0.5% for a third-place finish to perhaps 6%-10% for a win. The majority of the prize money, however, goes to the horse’s owner.

Kentucky Derby Fun Facts and Trivia

The Kentucky Derby is celebrating its 147th birthday in 2022. Having such a long tradition carries a plethora of trivia questions about the Kentucky Derby. Let’s dive into them right away!

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”, which is why a horse with such a name is considered a “safe bet”. The most famous of the winners is Secretariat, the first horse to win the Triple Crown in 25 years.

Q: What is the traditional Kentucky Derby drink?

A: Mint Julep

Over the two-day Kentucky Derby, about 120,000 Mint Juleps are served in specially designed collectable glasses. According to Kentucky Derby facts, more than 10,000 bottles of Old Forester Bourbon are used in the process, along with 1,000 pounds of freshly harvested mint and 60,000 pounds of ice.

Q: How much does the Kentucky Derby trophy weigh?

A: 3.5 lbs

Apart from the trophy, the winner is crowned with a 122 inches long and 22 inches wide rose blanket, which takes up to 12 hours to create, according to Kentucky Derby fun facts. 

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

A: 47 degrees

This is one of the trivia questions about the Kentucky Derby that might have you itching your head. On May 4, 1957, it was 47 degrees when the Derby was taking place. The low temperature was accompanied by 20 to 25 mph north winds! 

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

A: January 1.

All thoroughbred horses share the same birthday – January 1. 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.

Related: Greatest racehorses of all time

Q: What is Post #1 commonly called?

A: “The Dreaded Rail”

It is a dreaded starting position as the horse can’t veer much to its left because of the rail, and it can’t veer much right either because of fellow thoroughbreds charging there. Make sure to remember this one – it’s a must in a Kentucky Derby trivia game!

Q: Which post positions have won the most Derbys?

A:  #5 and #8

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 #5 with nine wins, identically to #8. Other lucky positions include #1 with eight wins, #2 with seven wins, #7 with six wins, and #3 as well as #4 with five wins each.

Q: Which post wins the least?

A: Post #17.

Posts closer to the outer rails tend to do the worst, with just one win each for posts #19 and #20 and 2 victories for post #18. However, post #17 is considered cursed (for an unknown reason) with 0 winners in 147 years!

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

A: Art Sherman

Here’s some interesting Kentucky Derby trivia. A former jockey himself, Art Sherman was 77 when he trained California Chrome in 2014 and brought home a victory in both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes.

Photo-Finishing Up

We hope this Kentucky Derby trivia has helped you get a better picture of the world of horse racing and has encouraged you to start placing in some Kentucky Derby wagers.

But before you do, you will need to know all the horse racing systems to help you win big.

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