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Hundreds of thousands gather for Kentucky Derby, the oldest sporting event in the United States | New Word

Hundreds of thousands gather for Kentucky Derby, the oldest sporting event in the United States | New Word

This year, about 150,000 spectators are interested in the horse race, which dates back a century and a half, and an audience of ten million can watch the main race on television.

Twenty horses will compete in the 2km main race, which takes place in the evening local time, with total prize money available at a record $5 million.

The owner of the winning horse will receive $3.1 million.

Due to the rules of participation, a horse can only enter the race once in its life, as it is held specifically for 3-year-old competition horses.

This year's Derby favorite is Fierce. The animal was priced at $2.3 million and has already brought his owners $1.64 million in prize money.

Meanwhile, there's a racehorse in the field – West Saratoga – whose Colorado owner paid just $11,000 for him, but the animal has already earned him $363,000.

The Kentucky Derby is traditionally held on the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs, and owners have spent about $500 million updating the track over the past decade. A new grandstand was completed this year after an investment of $200 million.

Events accompanying the Kentucky Derby continue throughout the week, and on race day many races are organized in different categories.

The main race, which starts before 9 p.m. local time, is one of the most popular sports programs in the United States: in 2023, it attracted the second-largest number of viewers after the Super Bowl, the American football championship final.

The first Kentucky Derby was held on May 17, 1875, in front of 10,000 spectators.

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The 2023 race was overshadowed by the deaths of several horses. Animals died at Churchill Downs Stables in the weeks leading up to the Derby, including horses that had been entered in the main race. An investigation ruled out any connection between the facility and the tragic events, but as a precaution, the track’s planned races were held elsewhere after the event.

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