Story highlightsThe Derby was first held in 1875Secretariat, the 1973 winner, still holds the track record

(CNN)It’s often referred to as “The most exciting two minutes in sports.”

So what makes the Kentucky Derby so special? Here are five reasons not to miss the event, which will be held on May 4 at Churchill Downs race track in Louisville, Kentucky.It’s America’s longest running sports eventThe first Kentucky Derby was held on May 17, 1875, when a crowd of 10,000 saw three-year-old chestnut colt Aristides, ridden by African-American jockey Oliver Lewis, triumph at Churchill Downs. Read MoreThe Derby has been held at the same venue ever since, even during both World Wars and the Great Depression of the 1930s, making it the country’s longest continuously held sports event. The 145th edition of the mile-and-a-quarter race for three-year-old thoroughbreds is expected to attract more than 150,000 spectators. The Derby is the first leg of racing’s prestigious Triple Crown, which also consists of the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore and the Belmont Stakes in Belmont Park, New York.READ: The world’s richest horse races: The top six prize pots in racingREAD: Meet the racehorse superheroesHow do you make the 'Drink of the Kentucky Derby'?How do you make the 'Drink of the Kentucky Derby'?How do you make the 'Drink of the Kentucky Derby'?JUST WATCHEDHow do you make the ‘Drink of the Kentucky Derby’?ReplayMore Videos …MUST WATCH

How do you make the ‘Drink of the Kentucky Derby’? 01:57 It has literary historyThe Kentucky Derby has been covered by some of America’s most famous writers. In 1925, New York sports columnist Bill Corum called the Derby the “Run for the Roses” because the winning horse gets draped in a garland of hundreds of red roses. In 1935, legendary Tennessee-born sports writer Grantland Rice described the race like this:”Those two minutes and a second or so of derby running carry more emotional thrills, per second, than anything sport can show.”His phrase has since been shortened to describe the Derby as “the most exciting two minutes in sports” or “the greatest two minutes in sports.”In 1955, American author William Faulker, a winner of the Pulitzer Prize and Nobel Prize and a Southerner like Rice, covered the race for Sports Illustrated. This what he wrote:William FaulknerWilliam FaulknerWilliam Faulkner”So it is not just betting, the chance to prove with money your luck or what you call your judgment, that draws people to horse races. It is much deeper than that. It is a sublimation, a transference: man, with his admiration for speed and strength, physical power far beyond what he himself is capable of, projects his own desire for physical supremacy, victory, onto the agent — the baseball or football team, the prize fighter. “Only the horse race is more universal because the brutality of the prize fight is absent, as well as the attenuation of football or baseball — the long time needed for the orgasm of victory to occur, where in the horse race it is a matter of minutes, never over two or three, repeated six or eight or 10 times in one afternoon.” READ: How a young Qatari sheikh shook up the sport of kingsAs the 2016 Kentucky Derby kicks off, we take a look at some of the most eye-catching fashions through the decades. As the 2016 Kentucky Derby kicks off, we take a look at some of the most eye-catching fashions through the decades. Photos: Kentucky Derby: Fashion through the decades Fashion through the decades – As the 2016 Kentucky Derby kicks off, we take a look at some of the most eye-catching fashions through the decades. Hide Caption 1 of 21The Derby first launched in 1875, and up until the turn of the 20th century women could be seen wearing hats, gloves, and long dresses down to their ankles.<br />"At any social outing in America at that time, you would have worn a hat and gloves -- and the Kentucky Derby was no different," said Chris Goodlet, Curator of Collections at the <a href="http://www.derbymuseum.org/" target="_blank">Kentucky Derby Museum.</a><br />"Many women would have worn silk because of the warm weather, and be carrying a parasol."<br />This image features race-goers in 1926.The Derby first launched in 1875, and up until the turn of the 20th century women could be seen wearing hats, gloves, and long dresses down to their ankles.<br />"At any social outing in America at that time, you would have worn a hat and gloves -- and the Kentucky Derby was no different," said Chris Goodlet, Curator of Collections at the <a href="http://www.derbymuseum.org/" target="_blank">Kentucky Derby Museum.</a><br />"Many women would have worn silk because of the warm weather, and be carrying a parasol."<br />This image features race-goers in 1926. Photos: Kentucky Derby: Fashion through the decades Early days – The Derby first launched in 1875, and up until the turn of the 20th century women could be seen wearing hats, gloves, and long dresses down to their ankles.”At any social outing in America at that time, you would have worn a hat and gloves — and the Kentucky Derby was no different,” said Chris Goodlet, Curator of Collections at the Kentucky Derby Museum.“Many women would have worn silk because of the warm weather, and be carrying a parasol.”This image features race-goers in 1926.Hide Caption 2 of 21In the 1920s, women would also been seen wearing tailored suits. Hats and gloves were still in vogue. In the 1920s, women would also been seen wearing tailored suits. Hats and gloves were still in vogue. Photos: Kentucky Derby: Fashion through the decades 1929 – In the 1920s, women would also been seen wearing tailored suits. Hats and gloves were still in vogue. Hide Caption 3 of 21Suits continued to be the outfit of choice for both men and women in the 1930s. <br />"In fact, in the 1930s and 1940s the formal suit seemed to be more popular than the dress," <a href="https://www.kentuckyderby.com/history/fashion/1930s-and-1940s" target="_blank">said the Kentucky Derby on its website. </a>Suits continued to be the outfit of choice for both men and women in the 1930s. <br />"In fact, in the 1930s and 1940s the formal suit seemed to be more popular than the dress," <a href="https://www.kentuckyderby.com/history/fashion/1930s-and-1940s" target="_blank">said the Kentucky Derby on its website. </a> Photos: Kentucky Derby: Fashion through the decades 1938 – Suits continued to be the outfit of choice for both men and women in the 1930s. “In fact, in the 1930s and 1940s the formal suit seemed to be more popular than the dress,” said the Kentucky Derby on its website. Hide Caption 4 of 21Look closer in the top left of this 1940 image, and you'll see a race in action.Look closer in the top left of this 1940 image, and you'll see a race in action. Photos: Kentucky Derby: Fashion through the decades Look closer in the top left of this 1940 image, and you’ll see a race in action.Hide Caption 5 of 21The 1950s saw women wear a more princess-style dress, with billowing skirts and fitted waists. The 1950s saw women wear a more princess-style dress, with billowing skirts and fitted waists. Photos: Kentucky Derby: Fashion through the decades 1954 – The 1950s saw women wear a more princess-style dress, with billowing skirts and fitted waists. Hide Caption 6 of 21In the 1960s, hemlines were on the rise. Meanwhile, on the other side of the globe at Australia's Melbourne Cup, model Jean Shrimpton was causing a stir in a miniskirt that <a href="http://edition.cnn.com/2012/11/01/sport/jean-shrimpton-melbourne-cup-fashion/">"stopped the nation." </a><br />"By the time you get to the 1960s wearing hats was no longer typical," said Goodlet.<br />"But the Derby keeps this tradition -- even when other social occasions don't." <br />In the 1960s, hemlines were on the rise. Meanwhile, on the other side of the globe at Australia's Melbourne Cup, model Jean Shrimpton was causing a stir in a miniskirt that <a href="http://edition.cnn.com/2012/11/01/sport/jean-shrimpton-melbourne-cup-fashion/">"stopped the nation." </a><br />"By the time you get to the 1960s wearing hats was no longer typical," said Goodlet.<br />"But the Derby keeps this tradition -- even when other social occasions don't." <br /> Photos: Kentucky Derby: Fashion through the decades 1966 – In the 1960s, hemlines were on the rise. Meanwhile, on the other side of the globe at Australia’s Melbourne Cup, model Jean Shrimpton was causing a stir in a miniskirt that “stopped the nation.” “By the time you get to the 1960s wearing hats was no longer typical,” said Goodlet.”But the Derby keeps this tradition — even when other social occasions don’t.” Hide Caption 7 of 21Would you believe it. This couple aren't wearing hats or gloves, and the woman's dress hemline is a good few inches above her knees! Welcome to the 1970s. Would you believe it. This couple aren't wearing hats or gloves, and the woman's dress hemline is a good few inches above her knees! Welcome to the 1970s. Photos: Kentucky Derby: Fashion through the decades 1970 – Would you believe it. This couple aren’t wearing hats or gloves, and the woman’s dress hemline is a good few inches above her knees! Welcome to the 1970s. Hide Caption 8 of 21In the 1980s, the bigger the better. Big hat brims, big shoulder pads, and judging by this race-goer, a big smile. In the 1980s, the bigger the better. Big hat brims, big shoulder pads, and judging by this race-goer, a big smile. Photos: Kentucky Derby: Fashion through the decades 1988 – In the 1980s, the bigger the better. Big hat brims, big shoulder pads, and judging by this race-goer, a big smile. Hide Caption 9 of 21Bold prints and multi-colored suits make the 1980s a fashion decade to remember.Bold prints and multi-colored suits make the 1980s a fashion decade to remember. Photos: Kentucky Derby: Fashion through the decades 1988 – Bold prints and multi-colored suits make the 1980s a fashion decade to remember.Hide Caption 10 of 21"In the 1970s and 1980s there was a return to the longer skirt, while the same casual attitude of the 1960s was still in place," said the<a href="https://www.kentuckyderby.com/history/fashion/1970s" target="_blank"> Kentucky Derby website. </a>"In the 1970s and 1980s there was a return to the longer skirt, while the same casual attitude of the 1960s was still in place," said the<a href="https://www.kentuckyderby.com/history/fashion/1970s" target="_blank"> Kentucky Derby website. </a> Photos: Kentucky Derby: Fashion through the decades 1989 – “In the 1970s and 1980s there was a return to the longer skirt, while the same casual attitude of the 1960s was still in place,” said the Kentucky Derby website. Hide Caption 11 of 21"In the 1990s, the dress at the Derby continued to replace the suit, especially with younger women," added the Derby website.<br />"While gloves have become out of fashion, a hat never is, and the hats tend to get wilder and more expensive as the years go on."<br />"In the 1990s, the dress at the Derby continued to replace the suit, especially with younger women," added the Derby website.<br />"While gloves have become out of fashion, a hat never is, and the hats tend to get wilder and more expensive as the years go on."<br /> Photos: Kentucky Derby: Fashion through the decades 1992 – “In the 1990s, the dress at the Derby continued to replace the suit, especially with younger women,” added the Derby website.”While gloves have become out of fashion, a hat never is, and the hats tend to get wilder and more expensive as the years go on.”Hide Caption 12 of 21We'll never know if their horse won. But the pink and pearls combo is a 1990s winner. We'll never know if their horse won. But the pink and pearls combo is a 1990s winner. Photos: Kentucky Derby: Fashion through the decades 1993 – We’ll never know if their horse won. But the pink and pearls combo is a 1990s winner. Hide Caption 13 of 21"The style in the infield is relaxed, with women wearing cool sundresses, cotton skirts, or more frequently shorts," said the <a href="https://www.kentuckyderby.com/history/fashion/1990s" target="_blank">Derby website </a>of 1990s styles."The style in the infield is relaxed, with women wearing cool sundresses, cotton skirts, or more frequently shorts," said the <a href="https://www.kentuckyderby.com/history/fashion/1990s" target="_blank">Derby website </a>of 1990s styles. Photos: Kentucky Derby: Fashion through the decades 1993 – “The style in the infield is relaxed, with women wearing cool sundresses, cotton skirts, or more frequently shorts,” said the Derby website of 1990s styles.Hide Caption 14 of 21The 21st century is here. And the tradition of race-goers making their own fantastical hats which started in the 1960s, continues to this day.<br />The 21st century is here. And the tradition of race-goers making their own fantastical hats which started in the 1960s, continues to this day.<br /> Photos: Kentucky Derby: Fashion through the decades 2002 – The 21st century is here. And the tradition of race-goers making their own fantastical hats which started in the 1960s, continues to this day.Hide Caption 15 of 21Feminine, wide-brimmed hats with a floral or feather adornment were popular in the 2010s.Feminine, wide-brimmed hats with a floral or feather adornment were popular in the 2010s. Photos: Kentucky Derby: Fashion through the decades 2010 to 2012 – Feminine, wide-brimmed hats with a floral or feather adornment were popular in the 2010s.Hide Caption 16 of 21A colorful crowd at the 2012 Derby.A colorful crowd at the 2012 Derby. Photos: Kentucky Derby: Fashion through the decades 2012 – A colorful crowd at the 2012 Derby.Hide Caption 17 of 21Two years later the hats appear to have downsized.<br />Two years later the hats appear to have downsized.<br /> Photos: Kentucky Derby: Fashion through the decades 2014 – Two years later the hats appear to have downsized.Hide Caption 18 of 21Race-goers analyze programs at last year's Derby.Race-goers analyze programs at last year's Derby. Photos: Kentucky Derby: Fashion through the decades 2015 – Race-goers analyze programs at last year’s Derby.Hide Caption 19 of 21Nicknamed the "Run for the Roses" due to the blanket of roses draped on the winning jockey, the Derby has long inspired red accessories among race-goers.Nicknamed the "Run for the Roses" due to the blanket of roses draped on the winning jockey, the Derby has long inspired red accessories among race-goers. Photos: Kentucky Derby: Fashion through the decades 2015 – Nicknamed the “Run for the Roses” due to the blanket of roses draped on the winning jockey, the Derby has long inspired red accessories among race-goers.Hide Caption 20 of 21And after a long day of placing bets, cheering horses, and drinking mint juleps, sometimes you just want to put your fashionable feet up. And after a long day of placing bets, cheering horses, and drinking mint juleps, sometimes you just want to put your fashionable feet up. Photos: Kentucky Derby: Fashion through the decades 2015 – And after a long day of placing bets, cheering horses, and drinking mint juleps, sometimes you just want to put your fashionable feet up. Hide Caption 21 of 21kentucky derby fashion 2014kentucky derby fashion 1926kentucky derby fashion 1929kentucky derby 1938kentucky derby fashion 1940 2Kentucky derby fashion 1954kentucky derby fashion crowd 1966kentucky derby fashion 1970kentucky derby fashion 1988 Kentucky derby fashion 1988 2kentucky derby 1989Kentucky Derby  fashion 1992kentucky derby 1993kentucky derby fashion 1993kentucky derby 2002kentucky derby fashion hats 2010 to 2012kentucky derby fashion 2012kentucky derby crowd 2014kentucky derby fashion 2015kentucky derby fashion couple 2015kentucky derby 2015 It has legendary winnersIn 1973, Secretariat won the Derby in a time of one minute, 59.4 seconds, a record that still stands to this day. By comparison, last year’s race was won by Justify, ridden by jockey Mike Smith, in a time of two minutes, 4.2 seconds, in what was the wettest in the event’s history, with more than 3 inches of rain.Secretariat, also known as “Big Red,” went on to clinch the Triple Crown in 1973, ending a 25-year wait.

Take a trip back in time…..Read the #KyDerby recap article published in 1973 after Secretariat's victory: https://t.co/Yiarpw7BAl via @SINow Vault pic.twitter.com/SsA8EUpgdg

— Kentucky Derby (@KentuckyDerby) March 27, 2018 In 2006, Barbaro captured the public’s imagination with an epic Derby win followed by a heroic fight against injury. After becoming only the sixth horse to win the Derby with an unbeaten record, Barbaro looked like he could be on the way to the Triple Crown when disaster struck in the Preakness Stakes two weeks later — he shattered his leg shortly after getting out of the starting gates. Barbaro was put down by his owners eight months later, unable to overcome the complications he had suffered after the accident.The beloved Barbaro won the  Derby in 2006 by seven lengths.The beloved Barbaro won the  Derby in 2006 by seven lengths.The beloved Barbaro won the Derby in 2006 by seven lengths.But his fight to overcome his injury triggered an outpouring of public support for the horse and his owners the world over. His ashes are now buried at Churchill Downs, while a bronze statue of the horse was erected at the race track in 2009. In 2015, American Pharoah became the first horse to win the coveted Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978. The horse made the cover of Sports Illustrated and was photographed by US fashion magazine Vogue.Last year, Justify became only the 13th horse to clinch the coveted Triple Crown. He was retired, unbeaten, in July, with his hall-of-fame trainer Bob Baffert saying the chestnut colt was struggling from fluid in his left front ankle. Justify retired to a lucrative stud career with $3.9 million in earnings on the track, which is not a bad return for a horse that cost $500,000. READ: Triple Crown winner Justify retires from racingJockey Christophe Soumillon rides Thunder Snow across the finish line to win the Dubai World Cup horse race at the Dubai World Cup in the Meydan Racecourse on March 31, 2018 in Dubai. / AFP PHOTO / GIUSEPPE CACACE        (Photo credit should read GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images)Jockey Christophe Soumillon rides Thunder Snow across the finish line to win the Dubai World Cup horse race at the Dubai World Cup in the Meydan Racecourse on March 31, 2018 in Dubai. / AFP PHOTO / GIUSEPPE CACACE        (Photo credit should read GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images)Jockey Christophe Soumillon rides Thunder Snow across the finish line to win the Dubai World Cup horse race at the Dubai World Cup in the Meydan Racecourse on March 31, 2018 in Dubai. / AFP PHOTO / GIUSEPPE CACACE        (Photo credit should read GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images)JUST WATCHEDDubai World Cup returns with record $35M purseReplayMore Videos …MUST WATCH (10 Videos)Jockey Christophe Soumillon rides Thunder Snow across the finish line to win the Dubai World Cup horse race at the Dubai World Cup in the Meydan Racecourse on March 31, 2018 in Dubai. / AFP PHOTO / GIUSEPPE CACACE        (Photo credit should read GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images)Jockey Christophe Soumillon rides Thunder Snow across the finish line to win the Dubai World Cup horse race at the Dubai World Cup in the Meydan Racecourse on March 31, 2018 in Dubai. / AFP PHOTO / GIUSEPPE CACACE        (Photo credit should read GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images)Dubai World Cup returns with record $35M purseGran Premio Latinoamericano: South America’s showpieceFranco Moro marginally leads the field in a skijoring race in St Moritz.Franco Moro marginally leads the field in a skijoring race in St Moritz.Skijoring: The crazy cocktail of skiing and horse racingCompetitors take part in the Skikjoering race at the White Turf horse racing event held on the frozen lake of the Swiss mountain resort of St. Moritz on February 17, 2019. - More images can be found on www.afpforum.com. Search slug: HORSE-RACING-SWITZERLAND (Photo by STEFAN WERMUTH / AFP)        (Photo credit should read STEFAN WERMUTH/AFP/Getty Images)Competitors take part in the Skikjoering race at the White Turf horse racing event held on the frozen lake of the Swiss mountain resort of St. Moritz on February 17, 2019. - More images can be found on www.afpforum.com. Search slug: HORSE-RACING-SWITZERLAND (Photo by STEFAN WERMUTH / AFP)        (Photo credit should read STEFAN WERMUTH/AFP/Getty Images)St. Moritz’s beautiful and glamorous White TurfLONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Polo equiptment lies on the ground as children from the Ebony Horse Club in Brixton are given Polo lessons at the newly launched Moor Hall Farm (MHF)  Polo Club on February 12, 2018 in London, England. Professional England Polo players and coaches, Alec and Edward Banner-Eve, visited the MHF Docklands centre as part of an initiative to give children their first experience of Polo. Ebony Horse Club sits in the heart of Brixton, South East London, one of the most disadvantaged inner city neighborhoods in the country. The club focuses on the use of horses as a means of therapy, and provides a positive experience for young, often socially disadvantaged children, who otherwise would have little or no contact with animals, especially horses.  (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Polo equiptment lies on the ground as children from the Ebony Horse Club in Brixton are given Polo lessons at the newly launched Moor Hall Farm (MHF)  Polo Club on February 12, 2018 in London, England. Professional England Polo players and coaches, Alec and Edward Banner-Eve, visited the MHF Docklands centre as part of an initiative to give children their first experience of Polo. Ebony Horse Club sits in the heart of Brixton, South East London, one of the most disadvantaged inner city neighborhoods in the country. The club focuses on the use of horses as a means of therapy, and provides a positive experience for young, often socially disadvantaged children, who otherwise would have little or no contact with animals, especially horses.  (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)Winning Post’s Aly Vance learns to play polo in UruguayLOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 05:  Roses are seen from the winner's circle prior to the the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 5, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 05:  Roses are seen from the winner's circle prior to the the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 5, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)Inside the ‘most exciting 2 minutes in sports’HONG KONG, HONG KONG - DECEMBER 05: Silvestre De Sousa representing Great Britain poses with the trophy after winning championship during the LONGINES International Jockeys' Championship at Happy Valley Racecourse on December 05, 2018 in Hong Kong. (Photo by Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images)HONG KONG, HONG KONG - DECEMBER 05: Silvestre De Sousa representing Great Britain poses with the trophy after winning championship during the LONGINES International Jockeys' Championship at Happy Valley Racecourse on December 05, 2018 in Hong Kong. (Photo by Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images)The Hong Kong Jockey ChampionshipsLAYTOWN, IRELAND - SEPTEMBER 08: Racegoers shelter from the rain as the runners pass during the Laytown race meeting run on the beach on September 08, 2011 in Laytown, Ireland. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)LAYTOWN, IRELAND - SEPTEMBER 08: Racegoers shelter from the rain as the runners pass during the Laytown race meeting run on the beach on September 08, 2011 in Laytown, Ireland. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)Training the “horse America bred” in KentuckyThe Laytown RacesUAE Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum (C-R) celebrates with Jockey William Buick (C-L) and horse Jach Hobbs (C) after they won the Longines Dubai Sheema Classic at the Dubai World Cup in the Meydan Racecourse on March 25, 2017 in Dubai. / AFP PHOTO / Abdulqader  AL-ANI        (Photo credit should read ABDULQADER  AL-ANI/AFP/Getty Images)UAE Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum (C-R) celebrates with Jockey William Buick (C-L) and horse Jach Hobbs (C) after they won the Longines Dubai Sheema Classic at the Dubai World Cup in the Meydan Racecourse on March 25, 2017 in Dubai. / AFP PHOTO / Abdulqader  AL-ANI        (Photo credit should read ABDULQADER  AL-ANI/AFP/Getty Images)Five reasons why Winx has been unbeatableIt attracts the rich and famousThe Derby has always been a draw for the rich and famous, with some of the biggest stars in sports, fashion and Hollywood mixing with royalty.Previous Derby guests include Britain’s Princess Margaret, boxer Muhammad Ali, US presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard Nixon, Hollywood legends Lana Turner and Bing Crosby, baseball star Babe Ruth and in recent years, singer Justin Timberlake, actor Jack Nicholson, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and NFL star Eli Manning. Justify crosses the finish line at last year's Kentucky Derby. Justify crosses the finish line at last year's Kentucky Derby. Justify crosses the finish line at last year’s Kentucky Derby. The favorite tends to do wellLast year’s win by Justify marked the sixth year in a row the pre-race favorite had won the race, the most since the 1890s. This year’s race doesn’t have a clear favorite, with Arkansas Derby winner Omaha Beach, ridden by last year’s winning jockey Smith and trained by Richard Mandella, at 6-1 at UK bookmaker William Hill. The next three favorites are all trained by five-time Derby winner Baffert, with Roadster and Game Winner at 7-1, followed by Improbable at 8-1.

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