Derby Day History
After the very first running of the Oaks Stakes in 1779 a massive party ensued in celebration of the day's success. Legend has it that at that party, the Derby Stakes (more commonly known as simply "The Derby"), was a race devised between the 12th Earl of Derby and his friend Sir Charles Bunbury and it is supposed that the race was so named over the toss of a coin.
Whatever the origins of the Derby there can be no doubt about its fame and prestige. Britain's richest horse race, since 1995, has been run on the first Saturday of June each year and is open to three-year old colts and fillies and is run at the Epsom Downs Racecourse in Surrey over a mile, four furlongs and ten yards (metric is 2,423 meters). Along with the 2000 Guineas and the St Leger, the Derby completes the make-up of the Triple Crown as the middle leg. Often the Derby is referred to as the Blue ribbon of the turf and the name of this classic race has been borrowed (or stolen) many times in its history and is now synonymous with great races all over the world. The Kentucky Derby is no doubt the most famous of these race facsimiles.
At the fist running of The Derby in 1780 the colt Diomed, which was owned by Sir Charles Banbury, was victorious. The prize purse at that time was £1065 and 15 shillings. Lord Derby did not achieve his first victory in the race named in his honour, until 1787 with his horse named Sir Peter Teazle.
The Derby has always been run at Epsom Downs apart from the war years from 1915 to 1918 and between 1940 and 1945 where the race was run at Newmarket. Those races away from Epsom Downs were all known as the "New Derby".
The days that the Derby has been run on have changed many times and, in fact, even the starting point of the race has been changed twice over the years at Epsom. Nevertheless, the race has held its head high on the international stage spawning countless races of the same name in many countries. There are more than a dozen races in the USA named the Derby, and nationally famous premier races in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Germany, Japan and Italy as well.
Without a doubt, the Epsom Derby is the world's most famous horse race and we, at PP Travel, will ensure you have the best possible experience on a not to be forgotten day out at Epsom.
Please see the links below where you can find out full information about the brilliant day trips to the Epsom Derby Festival.