The Kentucky Derby is the horse race that stops America, taking place every year at Churchill Downs racecourse in Louisville, Kentucky. While the US and many parts of the rest of the world will stop for it, it stops for nothing and nobody, running every year since 1875. It is no exaggeration to say that the Kentucky Derby is as significant in America as the Grand National is in the United Kingdom. Some of the best thoroughbreds in training will travel to Kentucky from Europe and Japan to challenge the domestic stars in an attempt to go down in history.
The race is prestigious enough in itself but it is also the first event in the American Triple Crown which includes the Preakness Stakes and is concluded with the Belmont. While there have been many attempts to land the Triple Crown, American Pharoah was the first to achieve it in nearly 30 years when winning in 2015.
The 20 runners participating in 2018 come from the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard, where each horse has earned qualifying points to become eligible, mainly through success in their own countries. The list is headed by Magnum Moon, currently 4th in the betting, with Justify, another American thoroughbred occupying favourite status alongside European raider Mendelssohn, trained by the legendary Aidan O’Brien.