Kentucky Derby Tickets Continued
The Kentucky Derby is frequently referred to as "The Run for the Roses", because a lush blanket of 554 red roses is awarded to the Kentucky Derby winner each year. The tradition is as a result of New York socialite E. Berry Wall presenting roses to ladies at a post-Derby party in 1883 that was attended by Churchill Downs president, Col. M. Lewis Clark. This gesture is believed to have eventually led Clark to the idea of making the rose the race's official flower. However, it was not until 1896 that any recorded account referred to roses being draped on the Derby winner. The Governor of Kentucky awards the garland and the trophy. Pop vocalist Dan Fogelberg composed a song by that title for the 1980 running of the race.
Legal gambling on the Kentucky Derby is done through parimutuel betting at the track. The infield, a spectator area inside the track is general admission, but little chance of seeing much of the race. Instead, revelers show up in the infield to party with abandon. By contrast, "Millionaire's Row" refers to the expensive box seats that attract the rich, the famous and the well-connected. Elegant women appear in fine outfits lavishly accessorized with large, elaborate hats. As the horses are paraded before the grandstands, the University of Louisville marching band plays Stephen Foster's "My Old Kentucky Home" while the crowd stands and sings along. Native Kentuckians often surrender to tears as this traditional theme plays.
The Kentucky Derby has a rich history on how it came to be a Triple Crown race. As part of gaining income, horse owners began sending their successful Kentucky Derby horses to compete a few weeks later in the Preakness Stakes at the Pimlico Race Course, in Baltimore, Maryland, followed by the Belmont Stakes in Elmont, New York. The three races offered the largest purse and in 1919 Sir Barton became the first horse to win all three races. However, the term Triple Crown didn't come into use until for another eleven years. In 1930, when Gallant Fox became the second horse to win all three races, sportswriter Charles Hatton brought the phrase "Triple Crown" into American usage. Fueled by the media, public interest in the possibility of a "superhorse" that could win the Triple Crown began in the weeks leading up to the Kentucky Derby. Two years after the term was coined, the race, which had been run in mid-May since inception, was changed to the first Saturday in May to allow for a specific schedule for the Triple Crown races.
On May 3, 1952, the first national television coverage of the Kentucky Derby took place. In 1954, the purse exceeded $100,000 for the first time. The fastest time ever run in the Kentucky Derby (at its present distance) is 1 minute 59 2/5 seconds, by the great Secretariat in 1973.