THE FIRST SATURDAY IN JUNE

The English Derby—officially the Investec Epsom Derby—is always run on the first Saturday in June, similar to how its American cousin, the Kentucky Derby, is held on the first Saturday in May. The race began in 1780 and the 2019 edition will be the 240th consecutive running.

Epsom Downs has been the host except for 1940 through 1945 when the race was temporarily moved to Newmarket owing to World War II. Records indicate that horse racing at Epsom occurred as early as the 1640s and possibly even in 1625.

Legend has it that the 12th Earl of Derby, whose estate was known as The Oaks, had as his house guest Sir Charles Bunbury, and the two flipped a coin to see if the race would be called the English Derby or the English Bunbury. The 1780 race was contested at a distance of a mile, but the distance was increased to a mile and a half in 1784 and remains so today.

Although entries won’t be finalized until May 30th, the famed Coolmore Stud of Ireland plans to start eight horses, including the present favorite Sir Dragonet, who the stable got into the race by paying a supplementary fee of £85,000. Trainer John Gosden is likely to start three horses. So two trainers will account for eleven of the entries in what is expected to be a fifteen-horse field.

If Coolmore were to win the race, Aiden O’Brien would be tied with three old-time trainers at seven wins for the most in Derby history. Lester Pigott is the winningest jockey in Epsom Derby history with nine victories.

The sentimental favorite will be the Andrew Balding-trained Bangkok. He was purchased by the late Thai billionaire Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, who owned Leicester City soccer team of the Premier League and was killed in October 2018 after taking off in a helicopter from the King Power Stadium in Leicester.

Post time for the 2019 Investec Epsom Derby is Saturday, June 1 at 4:30 p.m. British time or 11:30 a.m. New York time.

Copyright © 2019 Horse Racing Business

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