Saturday, May 3, 2008

Kentucky Derby

(Photo: Favorite "Big Brown", shown with workout rider.)

As this is written, the 2008 Run for the Roses is only minutes away. Aren't you excited?

As always with these pop quizes, you will be disqualified if you Google the answers. I have my ways of knowing who cheats.

1. What racetrack hosts the Kentucky Derby?
Answer: Churchill Downs

2. The race is billed as "The most exciting 2 minutes in sports." How long (in miles) is the Kentucky Derby?
Answer: A mile and a quarter.

3. How old are the horses in the Kentucky Derby?
Answer: It's a race for 3-year-olds.

4, How much weight must each horse carry?
Answer: 126 lbs. for colts, 121 lbs. for fillies (includes the weight of the jockey, of course.)

5. A few horses have gone on to win American horse racing's "Triple Crown". Can you name one?
Answer for me: Yes. Answer for Brits: Probably not.
Real Answer: They are few and far between, maybe a dozen in 134 years. I can remember Secretariat and Seattle Slew. Others before my time that I have heard of were Whirl-A-Way in the 1940s and I think Man O' War. A few more. Not going to look them up since you don't really care. :)

You probably don't even know what the Triple Crown of American racing is, do you? The three big races are the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont Stakes.

6. British Royalty are big fans of the Kentucky Derby. Has the Queen ever personally attended?
Answer: Although Her Majesty has visited Kentucky on 5 occasions, she never attended the Kentucky Derby until last year when she happened to be here in May for the 400th anniversary celebration of the founding of the first British Settlement. (Jamestown, in Virginia.) I think I will now start putting some hidden questions in these answers that you should know, since we are really bombing out on the regular race questions. So here goes. Many of the East Coast place names were named after British Monarchs and also for British towns or other places. (Our mutual ancestors were not very original.) Who was Jamestown named after? (Start with an easy one.) Who was Virginia named after? Who was Georgia named after. duh. Charlotte is the largest city in Virginia. Who was it named after? You people better be getting these easy ones.

7. What important American river flows by Louisville?
Answer: the Ohio River (which drains the Ohio Valley and flows into the Mississippi.)

8. Today is the 134th running of the Kentucky Derby. Of the 20-horse field, "Eight Belles" is a filly. Has a filly ever won the Kentucky Derby?
Answer: of course. several. The first was "Regret" in 1915. "Eight Belles" would probably have won it today if it had been a little longer race; she was closing hard on Big Brown at the finish. I wonder if she was wanting to keep running his ass down when her jockey pulled her up? We'll never know.

9. What famous olympic and professional boxing champion is from Louisville?
Answer: Muhammad Ali (Cassius Clay in the Olympics.) And it was the Ohio River that he threw his olympic medals into, frustrated with racial prejudice.

10. Does it upset you that Americans call many of their horse races Derbys instead of Darbys?
Answer: Very much. But you are too proud to admit it. You think that kind of stuff is beneath you. But you ARE bothered by it.

[WINNER: "BIG BROWN" 2:01 4/5]

[The filly, "Eight Belles", finished second but was injured badly, breaking down after the finish]

[Update on injury: both front ankles broken. Extreme pain. She was destroyed immediately.]


"When we passed the wire I stood up. She started galloping funny. I tried to pull her up. That's when she went down," a distraught Saez said.



Eight Belles record for tuneup races this year leading up to the Kentucky Derby:

The next day: Complete story. Eight Belles euthanized in the dirt where she had just galloped to greatness. Caution: graphic photo of Eight Belles' final moments.

Max has suddenly found another cause to campaign against. It isn't that this is an isolated case. It happens all the time in horse racing. Read the story. Write a letter to someone who can change this.


  1. I think it's pretty obvious you Googled these answers. You're disqualified. Nobody could possibly know this much about this race, not even the owners. :)

  2. No idea and its very sad about the horse.

  3. Oh the poor horse. Horse racing? Not for me, I don't like it.

  4. I hate horse races. Poor Eight Belles.

    There's nothing witty to say!



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