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“Run for the Roses” – 2017

May 5th, 2017 · No Comments · Books, City Library, Events, Main Branch

May 17, 1875 marked the debut of what some call “the most exciting two minutes in sports,” known to us as the Kentucky Derby. The Derby is now in its 142nd year and is as much a cultural event as a sport. Each year thousands of people gather at Churchill Downs to take part in all of the traditions surrounding this race.

It all began when Meriwether Lewis Clark traveled to England to attend the Epsom Derby. This trip inspired him to create a similar horse racing event in the United States. His uncles, John and Henry Churchill, gave Clark land for a racetrack in Louisville, Kentucky. The racetrack, later known as Churchill Downs, opened on May 17, 1875 and the first Kentucky Derby was held with a field of 15 Thoroughbred horses which raced 1 ½ miles. Aristides was the first winner of the Derby.

There have been many changes over the years but some traditions have endured and are well-known to all, not just horse race fans. The Kentucky Derby brings us mint juleps, women in beautiful big hats, a garland of roses for the winning horse, and the huge crowd singing “My Old Kentucky Home”.

This year’s race will take place on May 6th. Post time is approximately 6:30 EDT. Fix yourself a nice pitcher of mint juleps and enjoy the show!

Also, check out our display of books related to the Kentucky Derby in the library rotunda.

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