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141th Running of the Kentucky Derby
Racetrack: Churchill Downs
Location: Louisville, Kentucky
Date: May 2, 2015
2015 Kentucky Derby Betting Odds - American Pharoah Wins Kentucky Derby
American Pharoah, the 5-2 favorite, finished a length ahead of runner-up Firing Line and three lengths ahead of previously unbeaten and third-place Dortmund, second choice of the oddsmakers at 4-1.
American Pharoah swung wide around Firing Line and Dortmund coming down the stretch and outran his rivals to the finish line to win the 1.25-mile Run for the Roses in 2 minutes, 3.02 seconds on Saturday.
American Pharoah remains undefeated in five career races, including a 4-0 record in 2015.
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It's hard to believe that there have already been 140 editions of the Kentucky Derby in the past. This is known as one of the most important days of a colt's career, as a win in the Run for the Roses will cast him into history forever.
This year, there will be 20 more colts who try to win the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday of May, yet only one will get the biggest part of this $2,000,000 guaranteed purse.
The Kentucky Derby, of course, is the first leg of the Triple Crown and has been since 1931. Prior to that, the Preakness Stakes, which is now the second leg of the Triple Crown, was run before the Derby.
What hasn't changed much is the format of this race. The Kentucky Derby has been run at 1 1/4 miles since 1896, while prior to that, it was a 1 1/2 mile race just like the Belmont Stakes, the current third leg of the Triple Crown.
The Kentucky Derby is also known as the "Fastest Two Minutes in Sports," knowing that the race is almost always run between about 2:01 and 2:04. There were only two times that the race was run in under two minutes, the fastest of which was when the great Secretariat won it in 1973 in 1:59.40. Monarchos posted the second-fastest Kentucky Derby ever at 1:59.97 in 2001.
Times for the Derby have gotten more and more modest over the course of the last few years. California Chrome, the 2014 winner of the Derby, ran the race in 2:03.66, one of the slowest Kentucky Derbies in the last 20 years. Prior to that, Orb won the Run for the Roses in 2:02.89.
Thanks to the fact that there are almost always 20 horses in this field, winning by a huge margin is hardly ever an issue. No horse has ever won the Derby by more than eight lengths, and the last time that happened was back in 1946. The last horse to win this race by more than five lengths was Grindstone in 1996.
Looking for a longshot to win the Kentucky Derby? It's happened a number of times before. Funny Cide was a 60 to 1 winner of this race back in 2003, though that paled in comparison to the 91 to 1 of Donerail, who headed to the winner's circle at Churchill Downs in 1913.
Don't just get sucked into the idea that the biggest trainers always win this race as well. At this point, Bob Baffert and Todd Pletcher are the two biggest trainers in the sport. Baffert has only trailed three winners of this race, the last of which was War Emblem in 2002, while Pletcher has only won this race once with Super Saver in 2010.
Often times, the trainer who wins the Kentucky Derby doesn't even have a serious entrant the next year into the race. That has been the case over the course of the last four years, starting with H. Graham Motion with Animal Kingdom in 2011, Doug O'Neill with I'll Have Another in 2012, Shug McGaughey with Orb in 2013 and now, Art Sherman with California Chrome in 2014.
Victor Espinoza is going to try to become just the second jockey since 1982 and 1983 to win the Kentucky Derby in consecutive years. He did it aboard California Chrome last year, but he'll have a tougher time this year pulling off the feat of Calvin Borel in 2009 with Mine That Bird and with Super Saver in 2010.
The winner of the Kentucky Derby has had a good history of running in the Preakness Stakes as well. California Chrome became the ninth horse since 1997 to win both of the first two legs of the Triple Crown. Almost without an exception, the winner of the Kentucky Derby goes on to be the favorite at the Preakness Stakes.
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2015 Kentucky Derby Contenders