Tomorrow, the first Saturday in May, marks the 134th Kentucky Derby .
The fans, celebrities, jockeys, and team owners are making final preparations for the biggest horse race in sports.
The fans are either anticipating another great race or excited about another excuse to party. The celebrities are putting the final touches on their outfits and big hats. The jockeys and team owners are hoping to earn the title as “Kentucky Derby Champion.”
However, the most interesting element about the Kentucky Derby is in the qualification process. There are strict guidelines that determine if a horse can enter or not.
1. Three-Year-Old Thoroughbreds Only. A horse can not race if they are younger or older than 3 years old. Talk about pressure! One and done in the biggest horse race of their careers. Proper documentation is a must (losing the birth certificate is not going to fly with these strict regulations).
2. Invitation Only. A horse can win an invitation (only 20 spots) by performing well on smaller horse racing circuits and by having enough “graded earnings” on their record. There is a points verses money earnings qualification discussion that goes into more details here.
3. Put Up The Cash. Entry fees alone are about $50,000 (entry plus starting fees). If you want to enter the Triple Crown nomination process, the fee is $200,000 for the Kentucky Derby alone. A price owners are willing to pay for glory.
Additional information I came across on the history of the Kentucky Derby: Celebrity Horse Owners.
M.C Hammer (1992, horse named Dance Floor, finished 3rd); New York Yankee owner George Steinbrenner ( 1997, horse named Concerto, finished 9th); U of L Rick Pitino (1998, horse named Hallory Hunter, finished 4th); Steven Speilberg (2003, horse named Atswhatimtalknabout).
PS. My wife is pulling for Pyro (9th spot, 6-1 odds). Big Brown is the favorite, but in the 20th spot, not a winner in that spot since the 40’s.