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HOW DOES THE KENTUCKY DERBY WORK AND WHAT'S A TRIPLE CROWN?

When I hear the words "Kentucky Derby", my mind immediately goes to big, beautiful hats, fancy socialites, and delicious mint juleps.  I've only known the charming spectator side of the sport and had no idea just how intense and difficult horse racing truly is.

As one of only 12 horses and jockeys to ever win the Triple Crown, American Pharoah and Victor Espinoza achieved the seemingly impossible in 2015.

The Triple Crown is a series of three thoroughbred horse races that take place in May and June of each year.  The grueling schedule requires a three year old horse to win the Kentucky Derby, then two weeks later win the Preakness Stakes, and finally three weeks later win the Belmont Stakes.

Victor kindly begins to explain the process below until we get sidetracked with tales of how horses are flown via private jet, get daily massages, and have goats and nutritionists on hand.

*GLR TIP:  Goats calm the horses and are kept in the barns as "pets" for the skittish and high-strung thoroughbreds.

This Saturday, May 5th, the Kentucky Derby will kick off the series of prestigious horse races.  To earn one of the 20 available spots, horses and jockeys must travel along the "Road to the Kentucky Derby", a series of designated races at tracks across the country and around the world. Points are awarded to the top four finishers in each race. The 20 horses with the most points earn a spot at the starting gate!

A year ago, Churchill Downs introduced the “Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby” to provide a potential entry for a horse based in Japan. This year, a path is being extended to European horsemen as well (details provided by KentuckyDerby.com).

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