A few hours ago the “Fastest Two Minutes in Sports” went down at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky with the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby. At 6:24 PM, Eastern Standard Time, the biggest annual horse race began and 2 minutes and 2 seconds later a new horse became a household name when “I’ll Have Another” took home the title and his owner J. Paul Reddam finished the day with an additional $1,459,600 in his life-time earnings.
As the line in Wedding Crashers goes, “Crab cakes and Football, That’s what Maryland does!”, Kentucky is known for the racing of large mammals and for the hoops success of its two largest state university’s (University of Kentucky, and the University of Louisville). And today there were no balls bouncing on the hardwood as all eyes were on the races as Churchill Downs, and especially the big one, the Kentucky Derby. The Kentucky Derby is the first race in the US Triple Crown and it is always held on the first Saturday in May. The Derby is a one and a quarter mile race (2 km for the metric system fans) and is a race for the top 3-year-old Thoroughbred horses in the world.
The Kentucky Derby is typically the most attended horse race in North America, and while it is predominantly an event predicated on gambling for someone like me it is almost always an event worth watching whether or not I have money on the race. I am someone who lives off the thrill of competition, and for two minutes a year the Kentucky Derby satisfies that need, no matter what horses and/or owners are competing in the event. Besides the Super Bowl, I can’t think off the top of my head how many events have a longer “pre-game” show than the actual event lasts, but the Kentucky Derby certainly does and people eat it up each and every year.
Tonight “I’ll Have Another” finished the mile and a quarter trek in 2 minutes and 1.83 seconds to become the winner of the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby and defeat the tiring Bodemeister by 1 and a half lengths. He will also probably be responsible for many a hangover tomorrow, as the race today happens to coincide with one of America’s drinking holidays, Cinco De Mayo,which is celebrated in the United States and some regions of Mexico as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride. The battle of Puebla happened on this date in 1862, and as a result a whole lot of ignorant Americans celebrate today as the Mexican Independence Day, though that really doesn’t occur until September 16th.
The first race of the Triple Crown is in the books, and the obvious question is whether “I’ll Have Another” has it in him to win all three races. Considering the last horse to win all three races is Affirmed in 1978 it is pretty ridiculous to think that “I’ll Have Another” will be able to take home both the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes over the next few months, so I won’t even ascertain that question. Tonight I will celebrate the win for “I’ll Have Another” and will enjoy the rest of the races as they play out no matter what. I hope that everyone who stumbles upon this blog was able to enjoy the race, and more importantly I hope they have had a fine Cinco De Mayo holiday.