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2021 Kentucky Derby week: Derby records, facts and streaming info

Bay Area
Secretariat
Secretariat won the 1973 Kentucky Derby with a record time that was under two minutes.
The Courier-Journal-USA TODAY Sports

The first Saturday in May is Derby Day once again, as the Kentucky Derby returns to its marquee spot on the sports calendar after the COVID-19 pandemic forced it to be postponed to September in 2020. 

As the oldest continuously held sporting event in American history, the Kentucky Derby has no shortage of fun traditions and long-standing records. Let’s take a look at some that might be topped during the 147th Running of the Roses this weekend:

Will any of these Kentucky Derby records be broken?

1. The Kentucky Derby is called the most exciting two minutes in sports for a reason. The record for the quickest finish is held by Secretariat, who won the 1973 Derby with a time of 1:59.40 en route to the Triple Crown. 

2. The largest margin of victory in the Kentucky Derby is eight lengths, held by Old Rosebud (1914), Johnstown (1939), Whirlaway (1941) and Assault (1946).  The second-largest winning margins occurred more recently, with Barbaro (2006) and Mine That Bird (2009) each winning by 6 1/2 lengths. 

3. The biggest longshot to win the Kentucky Derby was in 1913 when Donerail won with odds of 91-1.

 

4. Horses get just one crack at the Kentucky Derby, but that's not the case for jockeys. Eddie Arcaro and Bill Hartack have each won the Derby five times, sharing the record for most victories by a jockey. 

5. Rosie Napravnik holds the best finish for a female jockey in the Kentucky Derby, finishing fifth in 2013. Only six female jockeys have ridden in the Derby, with Diane Crump being the first in 1970. The top finish for the horse of a female trainer was Shelley Riley, who helped Casual Lies to a second place finish in the 1992 Derby. 

6. The youngest winning jockey in Kentucky Derby history is Alonzo Clayton, who guided Azra to victory in the 1892 Derby at the age of 15. As for the oldest? That was Bill Shoemaker, who won the 1986 Derby aboard Ferdinand at 54 years old. Shoemaker holds the record for most rides in the Derby with 26, including four victories -- which could have been a record-tying five had he not miscalculated the finish line aboard Gallant Mant in 1957, prematurely standing up in his stirrups as Iron Liege passed him by to claim the victory.  

7. Post position 17 has never produced a Kentucky Derby winner. That means 17 is due!

8. Calumet Farm, a Thoroughbred breeding and training farm based in Lexington, leads all owners with eight wins in the Kentucky Derby. The record for most wins in the Derby by a trainer is six. That's held by Ben Jones, who won six times between the years of 1938 and 1952, and Bob Baffert, who has won three of the last six Derbies (including last year's with Authentic) to tie Jones' record. 

9. The oldest living Kentucky Derby winning horse is Go for Gin, who won the 1994 Derby and celebrated his 30th birthday on April 18.

10. The most money wagered on Kentucky Derby was in 2019 when $165.5 million in bets were placed.

10 Kentucky Derby facts worth remembering 

1. Meriwether Lewis Clark Jr. started the Kentucky Derby. His grandfather was William Clark of the famed exploring duo Lewis and Clark.

2. African American jockeys won 15 of the first 28 Kentucky Derbies. In the first Kentucky Derby, 13 of the 15 jockeys were African American. 

3. Horses with a name starting with the letter S have won the Kentucky Derby 19 times, more than any other letter. The only first letters that haven't won the Derby, you ask? Q and X. 

 

4. The Kentucky Derby was nationally televised for the first time in 1952, with an estimated 10 to 15 million viewers.

5. The drink of choice at the Kentucky Derby is the Mint Juleps and an estimated 120,000 are served at Churchill Downs on a traditional Derby weekend. 

6. The blanket of roses placed up on the Kentucky Derby winner weighs roughly 40 pounds.

7. The Kentucky Derby was permanently scheduled for the first Saturday in May beginning in 1931. The Derby has run on a day other than the first Saturday in May only twice: when it was postponed in 1945 during a wartime horse racing suspension, and in 2020 when it was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Bonus fact: The Kentucky Derby began in 1875 and has never been canceled.

8. Three fillies (female horses) have won the Derby: Regret (1915), Genuine Risk (1980), and Winning Colors (1988).

9. Sir Barton never won a race before winning the 1919 Kentucky Derby. That year, he won the first Triple Crown (before it was actually called the Triple Crown). 

10. Since the Kentucky Derby began using a starting gate, post position 5 has produced the most Derby winners with 10. 

Watch the 2021 Kentucky Derby live from Churchill Downs on NBC. Stream Kentucky Derby pre-race coverage, undercard and more on NBCSports.com and on the NBC Sports app.

Mike Gavin contributed to this story