horse racing fun facts

Race Day Fun Facts

1. As of 2015, only 12 horses had won the Triple Crown: Sir Barton in 1919, Gallant Fox in 1930, Omaha in 1935, War Admiral in 1937, Whirlaway in 1941, Count Fleet in 1943, Assault in 1946, Citation in 1948, Secretariat in 1973, Seattle Slew in 1977, Affirmed in 1978 and American Pharoah in 2015.

2. While 13 horses tried and failed to sweep the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont since Affirmed in 1978, American Pharoah ended the 37-year drought in 2015 to become thoroughbred racing’s 12th Triple Crown winner.

3. On Kentucky Derby race day, visitors at Churchill Downs consume over 120,000 mint juleps, 40,000 Oaks Lilies and upwards of 425,000 cans of beer.

4. At the Kentucky Derby, over 400 roses are used for the winner’s garland, 60 long-stemmed red roses comprise the winning jockey’s bouquet, 2,100 roses dress the Kentucky Derby winner’s circle and there are 250 rose bushes around the facility.

5. The Preakness-inspired black-eyed Susan cocktail dates back to 1973, when the special drink was concocted to fill commemorative Preakness glasses. The original recipe involved orange juice, vodka, rum and triple sec, served over ice and garnished with a wedge of lime.

6. The Woodlawn Vase (currently valued at over a million dollars) used to be awarded to the winning Preakness owner. Due to the immense responsibility of safeguarding such a valuable trophy, the winning owner now receives a $30,000 sterling replica on a permanent basis while the original is on display at the Baltimore Museum of Art.

7. Considered the “Test of the Champion” and “Run for the Carnations,” the Belmont Stakes has a reputation for being the toughest test in the Triple Crown because it is the longest and last race of the series.

8. White carnations are the traditional flower of the Belmont Stakes. The blanket of carnations awarded to the winner consists of about 400 carnations and takes about 10 hours to put together.

9. The Virginia Gold Cup emerged when eight sportsmen met at the Fauquier Club in Warrenton and organized a four-mile race alongside the natural walls and fences of the nearby countryside on April 3, 1922. Thirty-four days later, the Virginia Gold Cup race was born.

10. Today, over 45,000 spectators attend the Virginia Gold Cup. This famed steeplechase race is one of the largest and most popular sporting events in the greater Washington area.

Fun facts courtesy of the following articles: 
#1, 2: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triple_Crown_of_Thoroughbred_Racing_(United_States)
#3, 4:www.kentuckyderby.com/sites/kentuckyderby.com/files/u64720/Fun%20Facts%20(2013).pdf
#5: www.horsenation.com/2015/05/15/official-drink-of-the-preakness-the-black-eyed-susan-3/
#6: www.preakness.com/preakness-tradition
#7: www.americasbestracing.net/en/the-latest/abrv/2014/5/29/ten-fun-facts-about-the-belmont-stakes/
#8: www.belmont-stakes.info/carnations
#9, 10: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virginia_Gold_Cup