It’s Kentucky Derby Time! Five Facts About “The Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports”

The Kentucky Derby, also known as “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports,” is going down today, and it’s about way more than a bunch of horses running in a circle. The Derby is an event in and of itself, spawning days of partying, drinking, and awesome clothing. After the jump, all you need to know about the event, from this year’s favorite to how many mint juleps will be made at Churchill Downs.

  • If you’ve never had a mint julep, you’re not alone. But over the next two days at Churchill Downs racetrack in Louisville, spectators will down around 120,000 of them. The drink is a mix of bourbon, mint, sugar, and ice. [Kentucky Derby] — Yumz.
  • The crazy hats for which the Derby is famous are a tradition dating back to the days when it would have been simply unacceptable for a lady to leave the house sans hat. The tradition has been kept up in part because Britain’s big horse race, the Royal Ascot, still requires formal dress, including tuxes and top hats for dudes. [Royal Ascot]
  • Secratariat, the famous horse who won the Triple Crown (that’s the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes) in 1973, went on to have more than 650 children, including 57 stakes race winners. [Road to the Roses] — If you know a thing or two about racing, this is the place to show off—the winner snags a free trip to next year’s Derby.
  • The derby was almost canceled in 1945 when the government banned horse racing in order to preserve food and electricity for wartime use. After VE Day, the ban was lifted, and the 71st Kentucky Derby was run on June 9, 1945. Luckily, our economy isn’t such a mess that people are talking about canceling this year. We’d riot.

So, are you headed to a Derby party tomorrow?