It’s an exciting time here in Fort Lauderdale with Fleet Week in full swing and the Air Show coming up this weekend. Our office has had a front row seat for the US Navy Blue Angels and other aircraft practicing their air show maneuvers. For many other people around the country and the world . . .
Y’all its Derby Week! Dust off your derby hats, dry clean your seersucker suit, grab a mint julep and get ready for two minutes of pure springtime bliss! The 145th Kentucky Derby is Saturday —equally as enjoyable to the lifelong horse enthusiast as it is to the average sports fan.
Why? Because this race is the spring fling Super Bowl; bourbon dipped in history and southern tradition. The annual Run for the Roses consists of 20 of the country’s top thoroughbred racehorses which, in recent years, has generated over $200 million in sports betting. The purse itself is now guaranteed at $3 million to be distributed primarily to the top five finishes. The increase is purse is suggested to reflect the success of the freshly constructed $65 million dollar gambling facility down the road from Churchill Downs.
The winning horse is draped in more than 500 perfect red roses which have been sewn onto a green satin back. The garland is topped with a single upturned rose that signifies the triumph of heart it takes for both horse and rider to get to the winner’s circle. The rose garland tradition began in 1896 and since 1996 the garland’s have been freeze-dried after the ceremony for safe-keeping.
The Kentucky Derby is the first race of the Triple Crown at 1 ¼ miles or 10 furlongs. A furlong, in racing parlance, is a unit of measure equal to one eighth of a mile. The Preakness, the next race for Triple Crown contenders, is the shortest of the three races at 1 3/16 miles or 9.5 furlongs and the final race, the Belmont Stakes, is the longest at 1 1/2 miles or 12 furlongs.
Coverage begins at noon and post time is 3:50 p.m. ET. Since the Derby favorite Omaha Beach, piloted by the 2018 Triple Crown winning performance of Mike Smith, scratched on Wednesday due to a breathing issue, the field is open and primed for an upset. Thoroughbred racing’s biggest name in training, Bob Baffert has three colts racing this Saturday, Game Winner, Improbable and Roadster. Bill Mott’s Tacticus is also set to run a great race. In the silks will be big names like Javier Castellano, Florent Geroux and Joel Rosario who will pilot their athlete counterparts strategically to oust the favorites.
Although there are no female jockeys in the Derby this year, Sophie Doyle is primed to win the Kentucky Oaks. Doyle is set to become only the second female jockey ever to win the Kentucky Oaks, a Grade I filly race that runs Friday before the Derby at Churchill Downs. Doyle, fresh off her victory at the Fair Ground Oaks in March, will be riding Street Band.
Besides the gambling, the Derby and its associated events will draw hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue to Churchill Downs and other venues. While horse racing is known to be the sport of kings, the entire equine industry in the United States is believed to contribute $50 billion in direct economic impact, slightly less than 1 million jobs, and approximately $38 billion in annual wages.
We’re excited to be a part of this industry. We would like to hear your thoughts (and predictions) about the Derby.
If you would like to speak in more depth about how our team can help with your horse business, please reach out to us via email or through our website. Enjoy the Derby!