10 Fun Facts About This Year’s Kentucky Derby

Churchill Downs in 1901. Photo courtesy of kentuckyderby.com

Tomorrow it’s Kentucky Derby Day! Now that you already know what to cook for your party, thanks to a shared holiday with Cinco de Mayo, we can now focus on picking our winning horses.

Here are 10 fast fun facts about this year’s race if you are still trying to decide on a winner…

Fun Fact #1…

That’s Victor Espinoza on the left and Kent Desormeaux on the right.

Two jockeys, Victor Espinoza (riding Bolt D’ Oro) and Kent Desormeaux (riding My Boy Jack) are the only two jockeys out of the twenty participating that have won the Kentucky Derby three times before. Victor won in 2002, 2014 and 2015. Kent won in 1998, 2000 and 2008.

Fun Fact #2…

Instilled Regard

The kind-hearted gentleman of the race, Derby contender Instilled Regard was named in the spirit of good sportsmanship. His name reflects his owner’s desire to treat all fellow competitors with respect, kindness and sincerity. In today’s troubling world we can use all the kindness we can get, so we say cheers to Instilled Regard for keeping things convivial on the field this year.

Fun Fact #3…

Left to right: Kyle Frey, Paco Lopez and James Graham.

It’s the first time competing in the Kentucky Derby for all three of these jockeys. Kyle will be riding Blended Citizen, Paco on Firenze Fire and James on Lone Sailor.

Fun Fact #4…

That’s Firenze on the left and baby Bolt on the right.

Two entrants share the same birthday – March 17, 2015. Firenze Fire and Bolt D’Oro were both born on that day which also happened to be St. Patrick’s Day. Sounds pretty lucky, if you ask us!

Fun Fact #5…

As far as jockey breakdown by nationality goes, the United States leads with six jockeys hailing from American soil. Panama, Puerto Rico and Mexico tied with the next largest amount – each boasting three jockeys apiece. France and Venezula each have two. And the U.K. and Ireland each boast one. Jockeys and their birthplaces are broken down as follows…

UNITED STATES: Mike Smith, Kent Desormeaux, Cory Lanerie, Robby Albarado, Draydon Van Dyke, Kyle Frey.

PANAMA: Luis Saez, Jose Lezcano, Ricardo Santana Jr.

PUERTO RICO: Jose Ortiz, John Velazquez, Irad Ortiz Jr.

MEXICO: Victor Espinoza, Luis Contreras, Paco Lopez

VENEZUELA: Javier Castellano, Junior Alvarado

FRANCE: Florent Geroux, Flavien Prat

IRELAND: James Graham

U.K. : Ryan Moore

Fun Fact #6…

My Boy Jack on the left and Mendelssohn on the right

The oldest horse running in the Derby this year is My Boy Jack, born on January 26, 2015.  The youngest of the bunch is Mendelssohn who was born May 17, 2015.

Fun Fact #7…

This trio brought in the most prize money. Clockwise starting at top: Magnum Moon ($1.4 million), Mendelssohn ($1.9 million)  and Good Magic ($1.8 million)

The most expensive horse in the race this year is Mendelssohn with a purchase price of $3 million. He was also one of the top three earners in the field.

Mendelssohn at the Keeneland Yearling Sale

Fun Fact #8

Clockwise from top left: Free Drop Willy, Audible, Lone Sailor and Bolt D’Oro

Four of the horses running in the race are associated with sports. Free Drop Billy was named after the golf term, free drop. Audible and Lone Sailor both have football connections. Lone Sailor was owned by the past owner of New Orleans Saints football team, Tom Benson who recently passed away. Audible refers to the football play call.  And Bolt D’Oro was named after famous sprinter Usain Bolt.

FUN FACT #9

Winstar Farms

Winstar Farms in Versailles, KY has connections to four of the horses in the Derby this year. They are the owners of Audible, Noble Indy and Justify and were breeders of Bolt D’Oro and Noble Indy.

Fun Fact #10

As of this writing, Instilled Regard is the long shot at 99-1 odds.  There’s the terrible cliche that says nice guys finish last, but we have big hopes for this guy, which brings us to the Vintage Kitchen’s picks for this year’s Derby winner…

If you have your own favorites, share them in the comments below. It’s always more fun to watch the race when you have your own specific champions in mind.  Check out the complete list of contenders on the Derby’s official website here.

Cheers to daydreaming and Derby! The fun continues tomorrow with a post on our Derby party table decorations combining horseracing and Cinco de Mayo. Stay tuned!

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