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The Kentucky Derby

Even people who don't follow horse racing know about the Kentucky Derby. The iconic race has been run every year since 1875 and marks the beginning of the American Triple Crown races. The race is traditionally run on the first Saturday in May and even though the horses only run once, it marks the ending of the two week long Kentucky Derby Festival. The horses that run here are three year old thoroughbreds, and it is held each year at Churchhill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. The track is 1.25 miles long and the event is sometimes called the "The Fastest Two Minutes in Sports" due to its approximate duration.

The Kentucky Derby is the beginning of the American Triple Crown races, and is followed by the Preakness Stakes, held on the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland, and the Belmont Stakes, where are held in Belmont Park, in Elmont, New York. A horse has to win all three of these races to be awarded the Triple Crown. There have only been 11 Triple Crown Winners in the history of the race, though there have been many attempts where the favorites to win prevailed in the both this event and the Preakness Stakes, but were defeated in Belmont.

The event was originally inspired by the Epsom Derby in England that had been running annually since 1780. Col. Meriwether Lewis Clark Jr., grandson of William Clark of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, created the Jockey Club in Louisville to raise money to build a proper course. The course was named after John and Henry Churchill who provided the land for the course. The Derby has run steadily since its inception in 1875, where the Preakness Stakes took a hiatus from 1891-1893, and the Belmont Stakes from 1911-1912.

There have been many famous winners, too. Secretariat is by far one of the most famous, and after his win in 1973, he still holds the track record for the fastest run, at 1 minute, 59.4 seconds. Seattle Slew was one of the few horses who ran at ages 2, 3, and 4 and remained undefeated all the way through the Belmont Stakes. Affirmed, who won in 1978, remains the last Triple Crown Winner to date. There is a great history of stunning rivalries, come from behind victories, and tragic defeats. Barbaro, the winner in 2006, was fully expected to become the next Triple Crown Winner, when he shattered three bones while running the Preakness Stakes.

Betting on and learning about the Kentucky Derby and horse racing in general has a long and colorful history. With the advent of internet gambling, it has become both more popular and more accessible. There is a large futures market on these races, and many bets are offered after the annual Breeder's cup allows the public to get a look at the year's contenders. Despite the fact that the Breeder's Cup is in November and the Derby isn't run until the following May, initial prices come up following the Breeder's Cup.

As an iconic race, and the kick off point for such a popular series of races, it is of no surprise that it has garnered international interest and everyone wants to know more about the Kentucky Derby. Online sportsbooks make it so that gamblers don't have to travel the globe to bet on their favorite horses. They can place their bets from the comfort of their own home or computer chair. The industry is constantly growing and expanding into the internet for betting is simply the next logical step. The next event will be held on May 12th, 2014.