The 139th Kentucky Derby takes place Saturday, with coverage beginning at 11 a.m. ET on Live Extra and 4 p.m. ET on NBC. Before the Run for the Roses gets going, here's a list of nine things that you can use to impress your friends at your Derby party.
1. First run in 1875, the Kentucky Derby is the oldest continuously held sporting event in the United States. NBC also covers the second-oldest event: the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
2. A garland of roses first was draped over the winner in 1896, but it wasn't until 1925 that New York sportswriter Bill Corum coined the phrase the "Run for the Roses."
3. Over its 138 runnings, a total of 22 horses have won in wire-to-wire fashion, but there have been only eight last-to-first Derby winners. The last wire to wire winner was War Emblem in 2002. The last horse to win from last was Mine That Bird in 2009.
4. Only one Derby winner, Apollo (1882), did not race as a 2-year-old; this year, Verrazano will attempt to defy that statistic. Recent top Derby horses not to race as a two-year-old include last year's Derby and Preakness runner-up, Bodemeister, and 2007 Derby third-place finisher, and eventual Preakness winner, Curlin.
5. Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas has two shots, Oxbow and Will Take Charge, for his fifth Derby victory; he is currently tied for second with H.J. "Dick" Thompson on the all-time list of Derby-winning trainers, behind only Ben A. Jones (six wins).
6. Recently named Hall of Famer Calvin Borel is bidding for his fourth Derby win, which would move him into a tie for second on the all-time list of Derby-winning riders with Bill Shoemaker, behind only Eddie Arcaro and Bill Hartack (five apiece).
7. If the Aidan O'Brien-trained Lines of Battle wins, he'd become just the second foreign-based horse to win the Derby, after Canonero II in 1971.
8. 1973 Triple Crown legend Secretariat not only holds the record time of 1:59 2/5 for the Derby's 1 1/4 miles, but also the race's fastest final half-mile (in :47 3/5) and final quarter-mile (:23 1/5).
9. As one of six women to ride in the Kentucky Derby, Rosie Napravnik already has the distinction of having the best finish when ninth on Pants On Fire. Napravnik is already one of only two women to win a Breeders' Cup race. The other-Julie Krone-is the only female jockey to win a Triple Crown race (Colonial Affair in 1994).