5 Reasons the Kentucky Derby Is the Best Race in the Triple Crown

Chris StephensCorrespondent IIMay 5, 2012

5 Reasons the Kentucky Derby Is the Best Race in the Triple Crown

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    The Kentucky Derby is one of the greatest sporting spectacles in this country.

    Sure, you have the World Series, Super Bowl and NBA Finals, but nowhere else do you find "The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports."

    For 138 years, the Kentucky Derby has been going strong, and I see no reason why it won't go for another 138 years.

    Around this time every year, excitement brews because everyone wants to see if any horse can win the Triple Crown.

    It all starts at Churchill Downs, then moves on to The Preakness Stakes, before finishing up at the Belmont Stakes.

    Here are five reasons why I think the Kentucky Derby is the best race of all the Triple Crown races.

What Race Comes to Mind When You Think of Horse Racing?

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    When any American thinks about horse racing, the first one that comes to most people's minds is the Kentucky Derby.

    Although the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes have been held longer, the Kentucky Derby is what starts everything off.

    Last year, 14.5 million people watched the Kentucky Derby, while 8.8 million watched the Preakness Stakes and 6.8 million watch the Belmont Stakes.

    Now, when there is a horse going after the Triple Crown, the Belmont can sometimes jump ahead of the Preakness, but neither will ever top the Derby.

The Hats

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    Where else on Earth is there a bigger deal about the hats worn by women at a sporting event?

    The Preakness and the Belmont don't have a lot of emphasis placed on hats, but the Kentucky Derby does.

    The hats worn to the race can provide as many photos and videos as the winning horse does.

    To me, it's something that makes the Kentucky Derby special.

The Pride of Kentucky

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    No state prides itself on one sporting event as much as Kentucky does with the Derby.

    Florida has the Daytona 500, but there's also spring training and multiple other events.

    Other than college basketball, Kentucky doesn't have much in the way of sports.

    But when it comes to the Derby, it's the state being on the national and international stage.

    It's something they pride themselves in, knowing a little-watched sport during the year will get its air time on one Saturday in May every year.

20 Horses After the Triple Crown

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    There are 20 horses that compete in the Kentucky Derby, unless one is pulled out prior to the race.

    The other races have at most 16, while 14 is more likely of a number.

    At the beginning of the Derby, there are 20 horses that have a shot at the Triple Crown, giving 20 owners big dreams leading up to the race.

    Neither of the other races can say that there are 20 horses competing for the Triple Crown.

And, Down the Stretch They Come

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    "And down the stretch they come."

    That didn't come from car racing.

    Those famous words are a product of horse racing and have been a mainstay in the announcing of the Kentucky Derby.

    When those six words are said by the announcer, breathing stops for most people as they hold their breaths for the final seconds of the race.

    Especially since the Derby is the first of the events, the Preakness and the Belmont doesn't even come close to doing that.