PP Travel Blog
8 Epsom Derby Facts of Interest!
Is following horse racing your hobby or passion? Do you enjoy Royal Pageantry, social outings, celebrity watching and fashions on the field? What about carnival rides and sideshows or perhaps food and drink!
Run at the Epsom Downs Racecourse in Surrey, the Epsom Derby, held on the first Saturday in June each year attracts around 125,000 people and here, PP travel brings to you 8 interesting facts about the UK's most famous horse racing day :-
- It is the richest horse race in Britain
From the inaugural Derby Stakes back in 1780 and run for prizemoney of just £1,065 15s, winnings today have reached £1.5M.
- The Derby is the most prestigious of British horse-racing's Triple Crown
Victory in the Derby is considered to be the most dignified among the British Classics that denote the five long-standing Group 1 horse races. The 2000 Guineas, the 1000 Guineas, The Epsom Oaks and the St Leger Stakes are the other races but the 1000 Guineas and the Oaks are horse races for fillies only. The Triple Crown (2000 Guineas, Epsom Derby and St Leger) are horse races open to both colts and fillies.
- The race was named by the toss of a coin
Beginning at a celebration following the first running of the Oak Stakes in 1779, The race name was to be given either to the 12th Earl of Derby, who was the host of the event, or his guest, Sir Charles Bunbury. The decision was finally made by a coin toss (although it's also believed that Bunbury deferred to his gracious host). Bunbury also has a famous horse race named in his honour in the Bunbury Cup which is held at Newmarket Racecourse each year at the end of their racing festival in July.
- The race starting point has altered from inception
The starting point of the race on the race track at Epsom Downs has been moved twice, the first time in 1848 as suggested by Lord George Bentinck, and the second was in 1872. It wasn't until 1991 that the exact length of the race was documented as being one mile, four furlongs and 10 yards.
- The date of Derby Day has shifted four times
Since 1995 the Derby has been contested on the first Saturday of June each year, prior to that it was run on the first Wednesday of June from 1900 until 1995 (except for a few changes in war years). Previous to 1900 it was again on a Wednesday and initially, from its inauguration, the Derby day racing at Epsom was run in late May or early June.
- Venue change of Epsom Derby
During the World Wars, the Derby had a venue change with Newmarket being the alternate location for the race and it was nicknamed the "New Derby" during the years.
- The race was a pioneer of worldwide similar horse-racing events
With the Epsom Derby's fame came imitations the world over most notably the Kentucky Derby in the USA but in fact there are several big races in the US with the suffix of Derby in their name. Australia, France, Germany, Ireland and New Zealand also hold premier Derby races for three year old horses as do the Japanese in the form of the Tokyo Yushun! The name "Derby" when attached to any horse race anywhere in the world now signifies horse stock of superior talent.
- The race day incorporates the famous Epsom Fair
Besides Royalty, Charles Dickens was the Epsom Derby's most historical famous celebrity attending many meetings in the 1850's. Dickens involvement brought artist from many walks of life to the races, collaborations inevitably occurred and eventually evolved into crowd entertainment. Musicians, writers, artists and public-speakers, clowns, magicians and many other entertainers would ply their trade in the centre of the racecourse. In the 1870's steam-driver rides were introduced and today the area is recognized as a full-on carnival. Such is its popularity that many people attend just for the carnival and never see a horse.
There you have it folks a list of some interesting facts about the Epsom Derby - we hope you enjoyed reading and we hope to see you on one of our Epsom Derby Tours as some point in the future!
Mark is managing partner of PP Travel and has attended the Epsom Derby on Derby Day multiple times over the past 20 years
#epsomderby #derbyday #thedearby #horseracing #horserace #epsom #derby #epsomdowns #triplecrown #kentuckyderby #racing #horsesPosted: 11 October 2019 15:04:01 GMT by Mark
The Investec Derby on Derby Day, Saturday, 1st of June at Epsom Downs is the richest race on the British racing calendar. Picnics, parties, people and prestige are the flavour of the Derby Festival and there's a real carnival atmosphere with live ent ... read more