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Sunday, 5 October 2014

The Derby (Epsom)

The Derby or Derby Stakes is run over one and a half miles at Epsom Downs; It is open to 3-year-old colts and fillies.

It was named after the 12th Earl of Derby. He was dining with his chum Sir Charles Bunbury when they hatched a plan to race three-year-old fillies at Epsom. The name of the race was to be decided with the toss of the coin and the duke won.

The first race took place on May 4, 1780, and Bunbury had his revenge as his horse, Diomed, came first.

The racehorse Eager was not given his name until the year after he won the 1791 Derby Stakes, whereas the 1797 Derby winner was never officially named.

After winning the 1819 Derby Stakes, the racehorse Tiresias overcame his jockey's restraints, left the racecourse and galloped into town.

The racehorses Assassin, Hannibal, Cardinal Beaufort, Election and Lap-dog won the Derby Stakes in 1782, 1804, 1805, 1807 and 1826 respectively, making the 3rd Earl of Egremont the first-ever owner of five Derby winners.

A stable worker was bribed to allow Middleton to drink buckets of water, leaving the racehorse bloated, in a plan by bookmakers to prevent it from winning the 1825 Derby Stakes.

After winning the 1841 Derby Stakes, the Thoroughbred racehorse Coronation kicked and killed a spectator.

The first Derby Stakes to be officially timed took place in 1846, with Pyrrhus The First completing the mile-and-a-half course in 2:55.0.

The winning time of 3.04 by Ellington at the 1856 Derby Stakes was the slowest ever recorded, breaking the "record" of 3.02 set in 1852 by Daniel O'Rourke.

When Lord George Bentinck accused Benjamin Disraeli of not knowing what the Derby was, Disraeli replied "Yes I do. It’s the blue ribbon of the turf."

The 1895 Derby was the first horserace in the world to be recorded on film.

In 1909, King Edward VII’s Minoru became the only winner owned by a reigning monarch.

On June 4, 1913 Emily Davison, a suffragette, ran out in front of King George V's horse, Anmer, at the Epsom Derby. She was trampled, never regained consciousness and died a few days later. Jockey Herbert Jones was concussed but raced Anmer at Ascot two weeks later.

Davison falling to the ground after being struck by the King's horse

The 1931 Epsom Derby was Britain’s first ever live sport broadcast. Televised on June 3, 1931, it was also the first remote outside broadcast in the world. The favorite, Cameronian, won.

The broadcast was provided by the Baird Television Company, in cooperation with the BBC, using the filming equipment of the former and the transmission facilities of the latter.

Source March Hares and Monkeys’ Uncles by Harry Oliver, Daily Express

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