With the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby just weeks away on Saturday, May 3, 2014 it’s time we preview the upcoming horse race and our Kentucky Derby betting picks for it.
But first, we will answer how did the Kentucky Derby become known as the “Run for the Roses?” It is a tradition that the winner of the Derby is given a blanket of woven roses and photographed just after the race.
In the late 1800s, Colonel M. Lewis Clark was flattered by the presence of roses at a Derby after party hosted by a wealthy New York businessman. It is then said that Clark commissioned the Rose as the race’s official flower. There are no records of the winning horses being draped with a blanket of Roses before 1895 therefore historians believe that this tradition started at the 1896 Kentucky Derby.
The University of Louisville’s campus borders Churchill Downs and beginning in 1921, the U of L marching band has serenaded the horses as they make their ways to the starting gate. The song that the marching band plays is called “My Old Kentucky Home” which is the official state song of Kentucky. These additions over the course of 140 years have contributed to the greatness and uniqueness of the Kentucky Derby’s rich and illustrious history. Each year, the Kentucky Derby continues to set attendance records while the sport of thoroughbred racing continues to gain popularity.