Horse sense

April 29, 2008|By HANNAH TUSSING / Pulse Correspondent

Most people have heard of and know a little bit about the Kentucky Derby even if they are not interested in horses or horse racing. But how much do they really know?

I recently got the chance to visit the Kentucky Derby Museum at Churchill Downs, Ky. Since the race will be run this Saturday, I would like to share some of the things I learned.

To make it more challenging, I decided to compile a small quiz to test your Kentucky Derby knowledge.

1: How old are the horses that race in the Kentucky Derby?

a. 3 years old
b. 2 years old
c. 7 years old
d. 10 years old

2: The day before the Kentucky Derby, there is a race for 3-year-old fillies (female horses) only. What is this race called?

a. Kentucky Open
b. Filly Race
c. Kentucky Oaks
d. Pre-Kentucky Derby

3: A filly has never won the Kentucky Derby. True or False?


4: What type of flowers are hung on the neck of the winning horse?

5: In 1896, the winner finished 7th place. How could this be?

6: What was the year and what was the name of the horse that most recently won the Triple Crown (winning the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore and the Belmont Stakes in Elmont, N.Y.)?

7: What year was the first Kentucky Derby ever raced?

8: What is the standard weight that a racehorse must carry, including jockey, riding equipment and any dead weight that has to be added to compensate for lighter weight jockeys?

a. 126 lbs.
b. 152 lbs.
c. 175 lbs.
d. 200 lbs.

9: How long does the Kentucky Derby usually last? (Just the race, not the prelude or post race ceremony)

a. 3-5 minutes
b. 2-3 minutes
c. 4-5 minutes
d. 5-7 minutes


1: a. Three years old; most horses, if they are trained to do anything else besides racing, would not be competing or working this early in their life. But racehorses are at their peak at about 3 years of age. Most Thoroughbred racehorses retire around 12 years or earlier. Horses live about 25 to 30 years.

2: c. Kentucky Oaks; most of the entries in the Kentucky Derby are colts (young male horse), but this race gives a chance for fillies to compete in their own race. The banner of flowers given to the winner is made of lilies.

3: False; actually, there were two fillies that have won the Kentucky Derby. Most breeders don't race fillies because they are not usually as strong and tough as the colts and, if they are injured while racing, they might not be able to have any foals (baby horses). The names of the two Derby-winning fillies are Regret and Winning Colors.

4: Roses; the Kentucky Derby is nicknamed "The Run for the Roses."

5: "The Winner" was the name of the seventh-place horse.

6: There have been many tries in the last few years, but no horse has won the Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978.

7: 1875; there have been 133 Kentucky Derbies run so far. This will be the 134th Kentucky Derby.

8: a. The jockeys themselves must weigh between 108 to 114 pounds, but most owners want their jockeys closer to 114 pounds so they don't have to strap much weight to the horse.

9: b. 2 to 3 minutes. The Kentucky Derby is often called "the greatest two minutes in sports," but the actual race takes 2 to almost 3 minutes to complete. The horses must run a mile and a quarter to finish the race.

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