Here are FIVE things to know about this year's race . . .
1. Winnings: The purse for the Derby was justraisedto $3 million this year. That's up from $2 million, which had been the overall prize since 2005. From1996 and 2004, it was $1 million.
The winner receives $1.86 million. The runner-up will earn $600,000, with third place worth $300,000, fourth place $150,000, and fifth place $90,000. Thewinning jockey usually gets 10%, but the runners-uponly get 5%.
The losing jockeys get PEANUTS . . . the ones that finish outside of the Top Fivereceivejust "a couple hundred dollars apiece."
The second and third legs of the Triple Crown . . . thePreaknessandBelmontstakes . . . both offer total purses of $1.5 million. The Preakness is happening on Saturday, May 19th, followed by the Belmont Stakes on June 8th.
3. Jockeys:Mike Smithis riding Omaha Beach . . . and if he wins, it'll be his second straight. He was won last year withJustify. And they actually won the Triple Crown,by also taking the Preaknessand the Belmont.
It was the 13th Triple Crown in history . . . and only the 2nd in 40 years.
If Smith wins with Omaha Beach, it'll be histhirdKentucky Derby win, and he'll become the seventh jockey to win in back-to-back years. In addition to last year, his other win was back in 2005.
4. Atmosphere: The Derbyattractsup to 160,000 fans to Churchill Downs . . . which is a far cry from the 10,000 spectators in attendance at the first race in 1875 when Aristides won. This year's race will air on NBC at 6:50 P.M. Eastern.
The Kentucky Derby has been held at the SAME venue since that year, making it the nation's longest continuously held sports event. It also draws around 19 million television viewers. Which is up from ZERO TV viewers in 1875. (???)
This year, there's rain in theforecast, so it'll probably be a sloppy track.