148th Annual Kentucky Derby Reveals the Tight-Knit Community of Horse Riding

Michael Angee, Sports Editor

The Kentucky Derby is known as the most famous horse racing competition in the world. Annually held in Louisville, Kentucky on the first Saturday of May, crowds swarm the Churchill Downs to experience the race. 

Starting in 1875, known as the ‘most exciting two minutes in sports history,’ the fast paced and high-stakes race lasts around two minutes. 

The “Road to the Kentucky Derby” is a series of 35 races around the country and world. The top four contestants in each race are awarded points; the 20 finalists with the most points scored qualify for the Kentucky Derby. 

Some of the biggest names in country music, as well as in pop culture, attend the event this year such as Jack Harlow and Drake.

The results of the race left fans delighted, as the underdog, Rich Strike, won the race. Despite facing 80:1 odds, the horse won the two-minute race. Another horse within the same team as Rich Strike, Ethereal Road, was slated to race but became unavailable. Their team did not expect to win or race and still ended up placing first. 

The Kentucky Derby and the number of people who tune into the event represent the tight-knit community built by horse races as well as show jumping. 

“Although it is a big community, everyone knows everyone. Even though I’m obviously not up there [at a professional level] just where I show in Wellington, everyone knows everyone,” Miami Palmetto Senior High junior and show jumper Samira Dahlawi said. “Everyone has social media platforms, everyone follows each other and everywhere I go, I know people who are showing, everyone knows mostly the horse and everyone talks a lot.”  

By watching the race, fans who partake in races and horseback riding are able to recall their personal experience with horses, as well as the importance of building a bond with them. 

“I think when they have a connection with the horse they’re riding, it really does affect what you’re doing. I think a lot of the time people — especially the rider — will spend time getting to know the horse and getting to know each other because it’s not only you getting to know the horse, the horse also has to trust you,” Dahlawi said.