Los Fresnos News

Museum Celebrates 150th Kentucky Derby Anniversary

By Mike Villarreal

The Brownsville Museum of Fine Arts is proud to announce that it will be hosting and celebrating the 150th anniversary of The Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 4, 2024. This is an event you should not miss, as it promises to be an unforgettable evening of entertainment and fundraising. The Museum will be transformed into a stunning venue for the occasion, where guests can enjoy drinks and food, with doors opening at 4:30 pm and the Derby race being shown live at 5:45 pm.

The Kentucky Derby is an American grade 1 stakes race held annually on the first Saturday of May at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. The race features 3-year-old thoroughbred horses racing at a distance of 1 ¼ miles (10 furlongs or 2,012 meters). Fillies carry 121 pounds, while colts carry 126 pounds. The race is considered one of the most prestigious events in American sport and is often called “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports.”

The Kentucky Derby is also the first leg of the Triple Crown, also known as “The Run for The Roses.” The winner of the race is covered in a blanket of roses, hence the name. The Kentucky Derby is preceded by a two-week-long Kentucky Derby Festival, which includes events such as the Thunder Over Louisville fireworks display, the Great Steamboat Race, and the Pegasus Parade.

The first Kentucky Derby race was held in 1875, and it has been held annually ever since, making it the oldest continuous sporting event in the United States. The race has only been rescheduled twice in its long history, once due to World War 2 and the second time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Kentucky Derby and the Oaks are recognized as the oldest continuously held major sporting events in the U.S. and the oldest thoroughbred stakes race held in the same locale since its beginning.

Thoroughbred owners started sending their winning derby horses to compete in two other races, The Preakness Stakes and The Belmont Stakes, as they offered larger purses for these three races. The term “Triple Crown” came about in 1930 when Gallant Fry became the second horse to win all three races, and sportswriter Charles Hatton brought the phrase into American usage and households.

Since 1931, the order of the Triple Crown races has been the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and finally, the Belmont Stakes. The first television coverage of the Kentucky Derby took place on May 7, 1949, and was produced by Wave-tv, the NBC affiliate in Louisville. In 1970, the first female jockey, Dianne Crump, rode in the derby, finishing 15th aboard Fathom.

The fastest time ever run in the Kentucky Derby is still held by the legendary “Secretariat,” who set the record in 1973 at 1:59, breaking the previous record set by Northern Dancer in 1964. Over the years, the Kentucky Derby has produced many other legendary horses and jockeys, including American Pharoah, California Chrome, and Bill Shoemaker.

The 2020 Kentucky Derby was postponed for only the second time in its history; due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Kentucky Derby was held from May 2 to September 5. The purse for the Kentucky Derby was increased to $5 million dollars in January 2024., making it the largest purse in its long history. Don’t miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the excitement and tradition of The Kentucky Derby and to support the Brownsville Museum of Fine Arts.
Photo from the Brownsville Museum of Fine Art Facebook Page