Five Things to Know About the Kentucky Derby

The ponies are “Running for the Roses” on Saturday and we’re bringing you a Kentucky Derby style five things to know (mint juleps not included). Not only will you be the life of the party with your fabulous Derby hat but with your newly found Derby knowledge.

Place your bets,

The Last Night’s Game Team

Five things to know about the Kentucky Derby

1. The Kentucky Derby, run at Churchill Downs Racetrack, is the first race of the Triple Crown. There are 20 horses, all three-years-old, running in the race. Nyquist is the current favorite with 3-1 odds.

2. The track is 1 ¼ miles long. The Derby is commonly referred to as the “most exciting two minutes in sports.” The winner after those quick two minutes, receives a garland of over 400 red roses, a tradition since 1932.

3. The most recent Triple Crown winner, American Pharaoh, won the title in 2015. He is now living the good life, retired on a farm in Kentucky and commanding a $200,000 stud fee.

4. Mint juleps are the official drink of the Derby and are traditionally made with Kentucky bourbon, simple syrup, crushed ice, powered sugar and mint. Over 120,000 mint juleps are served at Churchill Downs. 

5. We’d be remiss if we didn’t discuss the hats. The long standing tradition started with Col. Meriwether Lewis Clark Jr.'s goal to have high-class folks attend the race. The Derby quickly became as much about the fashion as the racing. The Derby hat as we know it, didn’t come around until the 1960s when fashion norms loosened up and bright, big and festive were socially acceptable. (Here are some of the best celebrity sported hats over the years). 

Extra credit: We don’t claim to be the expert on everything so Friday you’ll hear from Last Night’s Game horse racing expert, three-year old Case, who will share his tips on Saturday’s race. Don’t miss is - he’s cute and full of insights.

You can watch the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 7th at 6:34 pm (EST) on NBC.  

NBA (National Basketball Association)

What just happened? After losing by 32 points in the first game of the series, Oklahoma City Thunder rallied to beat San Antonio Spurs 98-97 in the second game of series. The NBA admits the referees missed a few calls in final 13 seconds of this close game. If you have 13 seconds, watch this circus.  

Marching to victory. The Golden State Warriors sailed into victory without their leader Steph Curry last night. The Warriors lead the series vs Trail Blazers 2-0.

Move over MJ. Star of Space Jam Two, LeBron James, and his Cleveland Cavaliers took a 1-0 series lead with a win over the Atlanta Hawks.

Big win. Last night, Miami Heat stunned big fan, Canadian rapper Drake with a win in overtime against the Toronto Raptors.

NFL (National Football League) 

A beef with beef. NFL players are being warned that eating too much meat in Mexico or China could keep them off the field. No it’s not their cholesterol they’re worried about but clenbuterol, a banned performance-enhancing substance. The drug-testing program's independent administrator advised players that "consuming large quantities of meat while visiting those particular countries may result in a positive test." This warning was prompted by Houston Texans' player Duane Brown who had a positive PED (Performance Enhancing Drug) test overturned due to his meat consumption in Mexico. It would have been 10-game suspension.


On Monday at the Met Gala, Sports Illustrated swimsuit model and the Derby’s “First Lady of the Oaks” Kate Upton announced that she and Detroit Tigers' pitcher Justin Verlander are engaged. (She may need a Derby hat for her rock so it doesn’t blind people).

The Met Gala or “Oscars of the East Coast” isn’t just for the Hollywood elite. Check out these athletes who suited up to attend, including retired baseball player Derek Jeter, also engaged to a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model. #trending  

Sideline stat

Leicester City (pronounced Lester) has clinched the Premier League championship. The team was an underdog from the start; the odds at the beginning of the season for them to clinch the title were 5000-1. If you need further proof, the entire team salary for the year is $54 million, as opposed to the $418 million this year for rival team Manchester City. 

Coaches’ Corner  

What is the Triple Crown in horse racing? The Triple Crown is a set of three races that include The Kentucky Derby, The Preakness Stakes and The Belmont Stakes. Triple Crown winners are horses that have one all three races. Until 2015, there was a 37-year drought in Triple Crown winners when American Pharaoh won (he was the 12th winner in history).