Though there has been some controversy this year surrounding the singing/playing of the Kentucky Derby anthem and whether or not it will happen due to the protests likely to be held outside the gates of Churchill Downs, the Bluegrass’ signature song has been a part of Derby history for decades.
A spokesperson for Churchill Downs said Thursday they “don’t know” if they will play the song, which is traditionally performed in the final minutes leading up to the Kentucky Derby race by the University of Louisville Cardinal Marching Band.
The Garland of Roses, worn by a single 3-year-old every year, has come to symbolize the Kentucky Derby throughout the world almost since the race’s inception. It is 122 inches long, 22 inches wide and weighs approximately 40 lbs. The lining is made of deep green moiré bengaline and features the great seal of the Commonwealth of Kentucky embroidered on one end and Churchill Downs’ logo on the other. More than 400 “Freedom” roses are placed sewn into the garland.
The “Freedom” rose – a perfect patriotic red – was named shortly after the events of September 11, 2001 in tribute to the victims, their families and the men and women serving in the armed forces to protect the freedom of our great nation and is grown and cultivated for its impressive bloom size, stem length and lush foliage, longevity and classic rose shape. The “Freedom” rose was chosen to replace the “Classy” rose in 2008. Several different roses have been used throughout the years.
The winning horse will be adorned with the Garland of Roses – the most coveted possession in the world of horse racing – in the hollowed grounds of the Kentucky Derby Winner’s Circle just minutes after the race. In addition, the Kentucky Derby-winning jockey will be presented with the Jockey’s Bouquet, which is made of 60 matching long stem roses wrapped with 10 yards of ribbon.
- 400 “Freedom” roses from Kroger’s master floral designers are individually hand sewn to the winner’s garland which is 2 ½ yards long, 14 inches wide and weighs 40 pounds
- 60 matching long-stemmed red roses, wrapped with 10 yards of ribbon, comprise the winning jockey’s bouquet
- 2,100 roses dress the Kentucky Derby winner’s circle
- 22,000 roses being grown in greenhouse
- 250 rose bushes around the facility
- 12,000 tulips planted
- 400 trees and shrubs
|1||Finnick the Fierce||SCR||Rey Hernandez||Martin Garcia|
|2||Max Player||30-1||Steven M. Asmussen||Ricardo Santana, Jr.|
|3||Enforceable||30-1||Mark Casse||Adam Beschizza|
|4||Storm the Court||50-1||Peter Eurton||Julien Leparoux|
|5||Major Fed||50-1||Greg Foley||James Graham|
|6||King Guillermo||SCR||Juan Carlos Avila||Samy Camacho|
|7||Money Moves||30-1||Todd Pletcher||Javier Castellano|
|8||South Bend||50-1||Tyler Gaffalione||Bill Mott|
|9||Mr. Big News||50-1||Bret Calhoun||Gabriel Saez|
|10||Thousand Words||15-1||Bob Baffert||Florent Geroux|
|11||Necker Island||50-1||Chris Hartman||Miguel Mena|
|12||Sole Volante||30-1||Patrick Biancone||Luca Panici|
|13||Attachment Rate||50-1||Dale Romans||Joe Talamo|
|14||Winning Impression||50-1||Dallas Stewart||Joe Rocco, Jr.|
|15||NY Traffic||20-1||Saffie Joseph, Jr.||Paco Lopez|
|16||Honor A. P.||5-1||John A. Shirreffs||Mike Smith|
|17||Tiz the Law||3-5||Barclay Tagg||Manny Franco|
|18||Authentic||8-1||Bob Baffert||John Velazquez|
Miriam Lee has always been a horse racing fan thanks to trips to the tracks in her home state of Maryland with her father as kid. She owns an OTTB and is an advocate for promoting the sport among her peers. Miriam studies communication arts at Hood College and will receive her master’s degree in 2021, which she plans to use for a career in screenwriting. Her all-time favorite racehorse is Man O War.