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Epsom Derby

The English Triple Crown series is the where the term “triple crown” originated. With a great deal of history and a three very prestigious races, this series has boasted only 15 Triple Crown wins in 150 years of annual races. The Epsom Derby is the second race of this trifecta. The Epsom Derby is held every June, as part of a very fast paced trio of races. Only the absolute best horses have the stamina to race all three races well, much less have the stamina to win the Triple Crown.

History of the Epsom Derby

The first running of the Derby was in May of 1780. When attempting to decide what to name the race legend has it that the name was decided by the flip of a coin. It ended up named for the 12th Earl of Derby. The first few runnings of the Epsom Derby the race was only 1 mile long. This event is a much loved marker on many social calendars. The Investec Derby Festival as it is officially called is a two day affair, with the opening day as “Ladies Day”. Even though the famed Derby is the following day, Ladies Day is very popular. Spectators delight in dressing to the nines. Top hats, tails, beautiful fascinators, big hats, and the most fashionable dresses are the norm. The Derby may not be the oldest race, but it is extraordinarily popular and has inspired similar races and similar dressing up events worldwide.

About the Derby

The Investec Derby is like any other Derby- a race for 3 year old horses. However, this derby does not allow geldings to compete. This race is a turf race and in 1991 the exact distance of this race was measured at 1 mile 4 furlongs and 10 yards long. This longer distance was increased from 1 mile in 1784 and has not changed since. This race is held every June, and the 2012 Derby is especially special. June 2 is the date of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. She has long had a close relationship with the Derby and regularly attends the race. Buckingham Palace has confirmed that the Queen will attend the 2012 Investec Derby to begin the celebrations surrounding the anniversary of her coronation. It is expected that there will be record numbers of spectators. And where there are spectators, there is betting!

The Trophy

The Epsom Derby was, until 2010, one of the only great British sporting event without a perpetual trophy. The new trophy is a half meter wide, cast in solid silver. It’s a circular trophy, with three horses galloping around the trophy. This is not a prize trophy, however. The trophy will remain at the Epsom Racetrack and will be presented every year at the Derby. There will be smaller replica trophies cast for the winning horse’s owner to take home. The perpetual trophy will remain on display at the track, and will have all 230 past winners engraved on the trophy, and all future winners will be engraved as well.

The Purse

The Epsom Derby is known as the richest race in England. It boasted an amazing purse of £1,250,000 in 2011 and first place alone collected £709,625. Even with such an impressive purse, the prestige that accompanies a win is great, especially considering how often the Queen attends the Derby.