We’re Off to the Races With 45 Fascinating Kentucky Derby Trivia Questions and Fun Facts to Know

Kentucky Derby facts

Most of us have heard about the Kentucky Derby but many of us may not really know that much about it. Yes, it's a horse race, but there is so much more to know about its history, traditions and the horses themselves. If you are attending either the Kentucky Derby itself or a celebratory watch party, you might want to brush up on some of your facts so that you can be in the know with the rest of the guests. A little Kentucky Derby trivia and a fun facts list will get you on your way to talking the lingo in no time.

Did you know that there is basically a fashion parade with all of the Derby's attendees that includes a very important accessory? You might also be interested to know that there is an official flower as well as an official drink of the Kentucky Derby. In fact, the Kentucky Derby is one of the most prestigious horse races in the world that draws royalty, presidents and celebrities to attend the race. Find out even more thanks to these 45 Kentucky Derby facts and trivia questions (with answers).

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20 Kentucky Derby Facts

1. The Kentucky Derby is the first leg of the three races for the Triple Crown.

2. Each year, a garland of more than 400 red roses is made for the race to be draped over the winning horse.

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3. Throughout history, the rich and famous have attended the Kentucky Derby including royalty, presidents and celebrities.

4. The Kentucky Derby has more attendees than the Super Bowl and the World Series.

5. In 1973, Secretariat was considered the greatest racehorse of all time and to this day, the greatest racehorses are compared with the performance of Secretariat.

6. The Kentucky Derby is one of the most prestigious horse races in the world.

7. Every year the Kentucky Derby is held on the first Saturday in May.

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

9. The coldest race time temperature for the Kentucky Derby was 45 degrees back in 1957.

10. The hottest race time temperature for the Derby was 94 degrees in 1959 which was only two years after the coldest race time.

Related: How Many Mint Juleps Are Consumed at the Kentucky Derby?

11. There has never been a canceled Kentucky Derby race. Instead, there have been just two delays—one postponement in 1945 because of World War II and the second was postponed in 2020 because of COVID.

12. Post position one is one of the most dreaded since it’s difficult for horses to gain enough racing room while breaking from the inside of a large field.

13. Most of the winning horses have come from Kentucky.

14. Gallant Fox is the only Triple Crown winner to sire a U.S. Triple Crown winner, Omaha.

15. In 1913, a long-shot named Donerail won the Derby at odds of 91-1 which is still the highest odds of any Derby winner.

16. The Kentucky Derby in 2015 attracted the largest crowd ever with 170,500 people.

17. The thoroughbred industry in Kentucky generates over $3.1 billion in revenue.

18. The entry fee for the Kentucky Derby is $25,000 fee.

19. The Kentucky Derby is called "the most exciting two minutes in sports."

20. Hats became popular in the 1960s after the race started to be televised in 1952.

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25 Kentucky Derby Trivia Questions and Answers

1. Question: What is the traditional drink of the Kentucky Derby? 
Answer: The mint julep

2. Question: Where is the Kentucky Derby held? 
Answer: Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky

3. Question: How long does the actual race last? 
Answer: Two minutes from start to finish

4. Question: What day is the Kentucky Derby held on in 2024? 
Answer: Saturday, May 4

5. Question: How many horses compete in the Kentucky Derby? 
Answer: 20 horses

6. Question: What race is held before the day of the Kentucky Derby?
Answer: The Kentucky Oaks

7. Question: How many times can a horse race in a Kentucky Derby?
Answer: Just once in the horse's lifetime

8. Question: How old are the horses that race in the Kentucky Derby?
Answer: Three years old

9. Question: How long of a distance is the race? 
Answer: 1 1/4 mile of 10 furlongs

10. Question: What is a furlong? 
Answer: 1/8 of a mile

Related: How Many Feet Are in a Mile? Here’s a Simple Trick To Remember the Exact Number

11. Question: What time does the Kentucky Derby race start?
Answer: 6:57 p.m. ET

12. Question: What year was the first Kentucky Derby race? 
Answer: 1875

13. Question: What popular accessory is worn by most spectators of the race?
Answer: A hat

14. Question: What is the official flower of the Kentucky Derby?
Answer: The rose

15. Question: What is the nickname of the Kentucky Derby?
Answer: "Run for the Roses"

16. Question: What was constructed on top of the Churchill Downs grandstand to give it a striking appearance?
Answer: The Twin Spires

17. Question: What song is played as the horses approach the starting gate?
Answer: "My Old Kentucky Home"

18. Question: What number race is this year's Kentucky Derby?
Answer: 150

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19. Question: What is the owner of the winning horse given as a trophy?
Answer: A 14-karat gold cup

20. Question: How much is the Kentucky Derby winning purse?
Answer: 3 million

21. Question: Which two races follow the Kentucky Derby for the Triple Crown?
Answer: Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes

22. Question: What does "the road to the Kentucky Derby" mean?
Answer: It's a series of races where horses win points to qualify to compete in the Kentucky Derby

23. Question: Who won the first Kentucky Derby?
Answer: Aristides

24. Question: Which jockey has won the most Kentucky Derbies?
Answer: There is a tie between Eddie Arcaro and Bill Hartack with five wins each

25. Question: Have any female jockeys won the Kentucky Derby?
Answer: No, but six have competed

Next Up: Celebrate the Kentucky Derby on May 4th With the Ultimate Mint Julep Recipe