A Quick Introduction to the Epsom Derby, a Jewel of the Horse Racing World

Here in the States, the Kentucky Derby is the “granddaddy of all races.” However, the U.K.’s Epsom Derby, which takes place on the first Saturday of every June, is considered one of the most prestigious and toughest races in the world.

Since the Epsom Derby — known officially today as the Investec Derby — began in 1780, colts, fillies, jockeys, and trainers have traveled from all over the globe to compete on the mile-and-a-half track for the Derby Stakes grand prize, which is £1.5 million (USD $ 2,106,240) today. The two-day affair hosts even more than your fair share of racing filled with hopeful and plentiful payouts, dapper morning suits, and bottles of Champagne.

introduction to epsom derby deryb racing 2017 getty images
John Walton - PA Images/Getty Images
John Walton – PA Images/Getty Images

Like horse racing at its core, the Epsom Derby has an intoxicating history. The event earned its name from a simple coin toss between the 12th Earl of Derby and Sir Charles Bunbury, according to official ferby historian Michael Church. Lord Derby won, which not only resulted in an annual horse race branded with  his name, but the term “derby” is now widely used as a trademark for  thoroughbred flat track sport racing all over the world.

The Investec Epsom Derby attracts crowds of over 125,000 people a year (to put that into perspective, the Kentucky Derby attracts over 150,000). From horse race fanatics, foodies, and history buffs to A-list celebrities and the royal family, everyone’s enjoys celebrating Derby Day in the place where it all started. Some of the festival’s other attractions include a carnival-like atmosphere of vendors; a plethora of eating experiences, from fine dining with panoramic views to a good old picnic; and musical entertainment on Poundland Hill.

For ticket and more information concerning this year’s event, which takes place June 2, 2018, check out the fest’s website. Want to use your winnings to help retired thoroughbreds? See how you can help here.

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