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The Kentucky Derby

Enjoy these programs and clips that explore Kentucky Derby history, celebrate the race’s favorite customs, and honor the special bond between horse and human that is at the heart of Thoroughbred racing.

Kelsey Starks smiling in a red jacket and fascinator and Chip Polston smiling in a blue jacket with Churchill Downs spires in the background and the Inside the Kentucky Derby logo superimposed over the image.

Come along for the ride!

It’s known as the greatest two minutes in sports, but the Kentucky Derby is much more than a horse race. In this special program, KET takes you behind the scenes in Inside the Kentucky Derby to see the hats, horses and hospitality that make our old Kentucky home shine bright on the first Saturday in May.

Learn the storied history. See the milliners in action. Visit the backside morning workouts. And take a tour of Millionaire’s Row. Join hosts Kelsey Starks, Chip Polston and Christie Dutton as they take you on an insider’s tour of the Kentucky Derby.

Derby History

A close up of a silver trophy and a small silver horse with rider

Antiques Roadshow: Appraisal: 1955 Willie Shoemaker Kentucky Derby Trophy
In Palm Springs Hour 1, Leila Dunbar appraises a 1955 Willie Shoemaker Kentucky Derby trophy.

Historian Pellom McDaniels III seated on the Connections set

Connections: Kentucky Author Remembers the “Prince of Jockeys”
Hall of Fame jockey Isaac Burns Murphy accrued more than 600 wins in his lifetime yet few know of his legacy as perhaps the greatest American jockey of all time. Historian Pellom McDaniels III shares Murphy’s story.

Donna Barton Brothers on a KET set

Conversations with Champions: Donna Barton Brothers
Billy Reed interviews retired jockey Donna Barton Brothers, who serves as the on-track reporter and analyst for NBC Sports’ Triple Crown coverage.

Jennie Rees on a KET set

Conversations with Champions: Jennie Rees
Billy Reed speaks with former Louisville Courier-Journal racing writer Jennie Rees, one of the sport’s most knowledgeable authorities.

Mike Battaglia on a KET set

Conversations with Champions: Mike Battaglia
Billy Reed interviews Mike Battaglia who has been involved in thoroughbred racing for more than 40 years and is known as the oddsmaker for the Kentucky Derby, a former track announcer and TV analyst.

Five riders on horseback on a dirt horse track

Kentucky Life: Derby Special
After the Civil War, African American jockeys dominated horseracing and won 15 of the first 28 runnings of the Kentucky Derby; track ponies, the unsung heroes; the official Derby Pie; and eye-catching hats.

Two African American actors performing on stage

Kentucky Muse: Frank X Walker – I Dedicate This Ride
Through poetry and drama, Frank X Walker, Kentucky writer and poet laureate for 2013-14, illuminates the life of legendary 19th-century African-American jockey Isaac Murphy.

Derby Culture

A close-up of a silver mint julep cup

Antiques Roadshow: Appraisal: Kendrick Silver Mint Julep Cup, ca. 1850
Watch Nicholas M. Dawes appraise a Kendrick Silver Mint Julep Cup in Vintage Louisville 2021, Hour 2.

Kentucky Edition: Freshly Minted
Kentucky Edition takes you to the farm that grows all the mint used at the Kentucky Derby.

A close up of four Derby attendees. The two women wear extravagant Derby hates. one man has on a straw cowboy hat.

Kentucky Life: Derby Hats
Some are tasteful, some are fashionable, and some are completely over the top. They’re Derby hats, and they’re an iconic part of Kentucky Derby Day.

A collection of jockey bobbleheads

Kentucky Life: Derby Memorabilia
Ken Grayson has been a thoroughbred racing fan for more than 50 years. Kentucky Life got a look at his extensive collection of horse racing memorabilia, which chronicles the sport’s history in America.

Artist Jaime Corum outside in front of a horse statue

Kentucky Life: Equine Artist
Kentuckian Jaime Corum combines her love of horses and painting in her career as an equine artist. Her talent has taken her to the stalls of equine royalty and made her well-known in the thoroughbred industry.

Muddle, mix, crush, garnish and sip
Take five minutes to learn how to make a proper mint julep to celebrate the Kentucky Derby.

Derby Horses

Two sets of horseshoes mounted on boards with silver plaques

Antiques Roadshow: Appraisal: 1939 & 1940 KY Derby Winner Horseshoes
In Jacksonville Hour 1, Jasmani Francis appraises 1939 & 1940 KY Derby winner horseshoes.

Host Bill Goodman on the Bookclub@KET set

Bookclub@KET: Horse of a Different Color
Host Bill Goodman and a panel of readers discuss Horse of a Different Color by Jim Squires, the retired newspaper editor who bred 2001 Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos.

The cover of Geraldine Brooks' book Horse along with the Great Conversations logo

Great Conversations: Geraldine Brooks and Jacki Lyden
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Geraldine Brooks talks with journalist and author Jacki Lyden about Brooks’ recent novel, Horse, which chronicles the thoroughbred named Lexington and the Black groom who raised him. Recorded at the UofL Kentucky Author Forum.

Mary Quinn Ramer seated in front of a bookshelf

Kentucky Life: Lexington the Racehorse
The story of a racehorse named Lexington (1850-1875), the most famous Thoroughbred in the country in the 1800s. Lexington won six of his seven races before he had to retire in 1855 due to failing eyesight.

Michael Blowen in sunglasses and a UK ballcap with a horse standing at a fence next to him

Kentucky Life: Thoroughbred Retirement Home
Visit Georgetown’s Old Friends, a retirement home for legendary thoroughbred racehorses.

White thoroughbreds walking in a grassy field with trees and buildings in the background

Kentucky Life: BB Riverboats; Fort Knox Gold; Rare White Thoroughbreds
Kentucky Life visits Megson Farms, breeders of rare white thoroughbreds, and meets equine movie star, Arctic Bright View.

A black-and-white photo of a jockey carrying a bouquet of roses a board  a horse

Kentucky Life: Roscoe Goose; Churchill Downs; Mint Juleps; Zenyatta
Legendary racehorse Zenyatta spent most of her career based on the west coast, but she was a Kentucky-born filly.

Derby for Kids

Two horse standing in green grass with trees, white fences and an elaborate barn in the background

Electronic Field Trip to a Horse Farm
A trip to Margaux Farm in Woodford County shows what makes this region great for raising horses, what a farrier does, what a day on a horse farm is like, how a vet knows a mare is in foal, and a bit about breeding.

A jockey racing a thoroughbred on a track with the race scores on a board in the background

The Kentucky Derby | Social Studies Shorts
The Kentucky Derby is the longest continually-held sporting event in the U.S. This episode of Social Studies Shorts explores the history of Kentucky’s famous horse race.