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May 7, 2016
Rising from humble beginnings as an American variation of England's Epsom Derby, the Kentucky Derby has become a centerpiece of American sports and the horse racing industry, confirming Kentucky's status as the Horse Capital of the World.
Held each year on the first Saturday in May, the race turns worldwide attention to the twin spires of Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky for the high-stakes excitement of the "greatest two minutes in sports." No other American sporting event can claim as much history, tradition, or pageantry.
For more than 130 years, spectators have been awed by the magnificent horses that run the Louisville track. Thoroughbreds such as Secretariat and Barbaro have earned instant international fame, along with jockeys such as Isaac Murphy, Ron Turcotte, and Calvin Borel.
"Within a decade the track would be colloquially known as Churchill Downs, destined to become the most famous racetrack in America."
If the Super Bowl had been played in the same city each year, say a working class community like Green Bay, and still grew up to become a multi-billion-dollar spectacle attracting the world's rich and famous as well as the beer-swilling, tatooed commoners then it would be an event comparable to the Kentucky Derby, especially if you added an extra hundred years of tradition to its history.
An unabashed thoroughbred horse enthusiast and Kentucky Derby fan, author James C. Nicholson nevertheless provides a straightforward history and honest assessment of the event and its evolution in "The Kentucky Derby: How the Run for the Roses Became America's Premier Sporting Event."
Published by The University Press of Kentucky, the book follows the progress of the Derby through the decades as it broke away from a pack of other races to become America’s premier thoroughbred event.
The Kentucky Derby
How the Run for the Roses Became America's Premier Sporting Event
Kentucky Derby Hat
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