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The Kentucky Derby Is Turning 150 Years Old. It’s Survived World Wars And Controversies Of All Kinds

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Louisville, Kentucky – As a huge crowd cheered, American Pharoah came from behind to aim his final two challengers in the stretch. In the 2015 Kentucky Derby, the bay colt and jockey Victor Espinoza raced to the lead with a furlong to go and finished a length ahead of the field.

“There’s nothing like winning the Kentucky Derby,” recalled Espinoza, who has won three times. “To me it’s the most important thing in horse racing.”

This Saturday, America’s longest-running sports event will celebrate its 150th anniversary. It is two years older than the Westminster Dog Show. The Derby has weathered two world wars, the Depression, and pandemics, including COVID-19 in 2020, when it was run in virtual quiet without the customary 150,000 spectators.

Derby Day is celebrated on the first Saturday in May. It features beautiful hats, supporters dressed in their Sunday best, mint juleps served in souvenir glasses, the audience chanting “My Old Kentucky Home,” and the winner receiving a hand-sewn garland of red roses. The Derby was the second-most-watched sporting event in 2023, trailing the Super Bowl.

kentucky derby

kentucky derby

The Kentucky Derby Is Turning 150 Years Old. It’s Survived World Wars And Controversies Of All Kinds

“I’ve heard a lot of people say it’s on their bucket list to attend and the one horse race they watch every year,” said trainer Todd Pletcher, a two-time Derby champion with Fierceness as this year’s early favorite.

The fact that only 3-year-olds are eligible for the Derby adds to its uniqueness. It is also the only race in America with a field of 20 horses. Since 2013, horses must accumulate points in qualifying events to gain entry. Previously, the money won in graded stakes races determined the field.

“It’s very difficult to keep them on track to get to the Derby, get into the Derby, and then, hopefully, everything goes well and you get a good, clean trip,” said trainer Brad Cox, a Louisville native who will saddle Catching Freedom, Encino, and Just a Touch on Saturday.

Louisvillians take pride in their city’s 1875 history, preparing at-home versions of high-calorie treats such as Benedictine dip (grated cucumber, cream cheese, sour cream, and mayo), Derby pie (chocolate chips and almonds) and cocktails when they aren’t at the track.

Thirteen of the fifteen jockeys in the first Kentucky Derby were black, including Oliver Lewis, who led Aristides to victory in front of 10,000 applauding fans in 1875.

Black riders won 15 of the first 28 Kentucky Derbys, and there were none from 1920 to 2000. As Jim Crow laws were implemented, segregation extended throughout the country, including horse racing, where Black riders found it practically impossible to obtain a license.

In 2021, Kendrick Carmouche became the final Black jockey to compete in the event.

Black trainers also dominated the Kentucky Derby’s early years, winning seven of the first seventeen from 1875 to 1891. Larry Demeritte will saddle long shot West Saratoga on Saturday, becoming only the second since 1951 and the 17th overall.

kentucky derby

AP – VOR News Image

The Kentucky Derby Is Turning 150 Years Old. It’s Survived World Wars And Controversies Of All Kinds

Following the death of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black EMT, by police during a botched narcotics raid at her Louisville home, protesters calling for racial justice and an end to police violence gathered at Churchill Downs in 2020 and 2021.

Women have had an intermittent presence in the Kentucky Derby. Only six riders have competed in the race, the last being Rosie Napravnik in 2014. Seven women have trained Derby runners, with Vicki Oliver last doing so in 2021.

“It’s an incredibly hard race just to get into, let alone win,” he remarked.

Cox was named the winner of the 2021 race nine months after Medina Spirit was disqualified for failing a drug test — only the second such DQ in race history — and Mandaloun was promoted to first.

“We’re all trying to win this race to experience the thrill of victory,” Cox said, “and we’ve yet to do that.”

Last year, 12 horses died at Churchill Downs in the weeks leading up to the Derby, damaging the race’s image. An independent investigation ruled out any faults and found no single cause. The track continued to train but relocated the remainder of its spring racing event to western Kentucky.

The trainer who won a record-tying six races for the third consecutive year will not be in Louisville. Churchill Downs Inc. suspended Bob Baffert after Medina Spirit failed a drug test, upsetting the 2021 results.

Baffert challenged his original two-year suspension in court but lost a year ago. Last August, the track announced extending the suspension until 2024. It said there were “continued concerns regarding the threat to the safety and integrity of racing he poses.”

Churchill Downs Inc., the track’s publicly traded parent corporation with shareholders to satisfy, has spent $500 million on renovations and modernizations during the last decade. Its newest attraction is the $200 million paddock, where visitors willing to spend up to $12,000 may dine and watch the horses being saddled before the races.

kentucky derby

AP – VOR News Image

The Kentucky Derby Is Turning 150 Years Old. It’s Survived World Wars And Controversies Of All Kinds

In its 150th year, the Kentucky Derby purse has been increased to a record $5 million, with the winning owner receiving $3.1 million.

Despite modifications to the race and the track over the years and the incorporation of current events, the first Saturday in May remains.

“The one thing that hasn’t changed is that you have 20 of the best 3-year-olds from all over the world,” said trainer Doug O’Neill, who has won the Kentucky Derby twice.

Pletcher continued, “It seems like the one mainstay that we can really rely on.”

SOURCE – (AP)

Kiara Grace is a staff writer at VORNews, a reputable online publication. Her writing focuses on technology trends, particularly in the realm of consumer electronics and software. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for breaking down complex topics, Kiara delivers insightful analyses that resonate with tech enthusiasts and casual readers alike. Her articles strike a balance between in-depth coverage and accessibility, making them a go-to resource for anyone seeking to stay informed about the latest innovations shaping our digital world.

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Boxing Legend Mike Tyson Recovering after Inflight Medical Emergency

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Mike Tyson Recovering
Mike Tyson: Getty Images

Boxing legend Mike Tyson was recovering Monday after getting ill on a flight from Miami to Los Angeles the day before, according to his agents. The 58-year-old boxing legend “became nauseous and dizzy due to an ulcer flare up 30 minutes before landing” on Sunday.

“Thankfully, Mr. Tyson is doing great,” the statement read. “He is appreciative to the medical staff that were there to help him.”

First responders met American Airlines flight 1815 as it landed at LA International Airport “due to the medical needs of a customer,” according to an airline statement.

Tyson is planning to fight Jake Paul, a 27-year-old social media celebrity turned boxer, this summer at Dallas Cowboys Stadium, which seats 80,000 people. Netflix will broadcast the fight live, marking a first for the streaming platform.

Tyson was the undisputed world heavyweight champion from 1987 to 1990. He retired in 2005, but most recently competed in an exhibition versus Roy Jones in California in November of 2020.

Mike Tyson emerged on the boxing world as a fearsome and intimidating heavyweight. With his bald head, fierce scowl, and explosive power, he rapidly gained the nickname “Iron Mike.” In his prime, Tyson’s mix of speed and knockout punches made him an unstoppable force in the ring.

He won his first 19 professional fights via knockout, 12 of which came in the first round. At the age of 20, Tyson became the youngest heavyweight champion in history. His reign of terror included the 91-second demolition of Michael Spinks and the 93-second annihilation of Carl Williams. Tyson’s savage attitude and ability to stop fights with a single strike made him must-see television.

However, Tyson’s life outside of the ring was turbulent. He suffered legal challenges, jail time, and personal difficulties. Losses, controversies, and an infamous 1997 bite fight all contributed to the end of his great career. Despite his shortcomings, Tyson enthralled spectators with his sheer power and left a lasting impression on boxing history.

Jake Paul and Mike Tyson trade insults

Jake Paul and Mike Tyson: Getty Images

Jake Paul and Mike Tyson trade insults

Jake Paul and Mike Tyson hurled obscenities and expletives as they previewed their fight just a few football fields from the planned June clash at the Dallas Cowboys’ 80,000-seat stadium.

In terms of substance, Thursday night offered little.

Paul denied that the 27-year-old social media star-turned-boxer still hasn’t faced a serious opponent, while Tyson just declined to answer a question regarding his age. The former heavyweight champion will be 58 years old when the match takes place on July 20 at AT&T Stadium.

“I haven’t seen too many people criticizing it. Look at this,” Tyson added, referring to the rowdy audience at an entertainment establishment near the fight location.

When a reporter mentioned there were detractors, Tyson responded, “Who? Please name me someone. You? Who?”

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation has approved the fight as a professional battle, although it will only last eight two-minute rounds rather than ten or twelve three-minute rounds. The gloves will be heavier (14 ounces instead of 10), reducing the force of punches.

Tyson retired in 2005, but he most recently competed in an exhibition against Roy Jones in California in November 2000, which was not considered a professional bout. Tyson was largely agitated by the scene and the questions, particularly when asked what it meant to have the opportunity to fill AT&T Stadium.

“I was doing this years ago, so this is nothing new to me,” said Tyson, who won 50 fights and 44 knockouts before retiring. “This is new to this young boy over here.”

Entering to loud boos, Jake Paul responded with bad language and rude gestures before encouraging and leading the pro-Tyson audience in an expletive-laden chant.

“I hope you all keep that same energy when I knock this old man out,” stated Paul.

Paul has nine wins in ten fights, including three since his sole defeat to Tommy Fury, the teenage half-brother of heavyweight champion Tyson Fury. One of his most recent victories was against former UFC fighter Nate Diaz in nearby Dallas.

“In due time, I will be fighting for a world championship,” Paul responded to the idea that he hasn’t fought a genuine opponent, which prompted Tyson’s ire. “And I will be making you eat your own words.”

Netflix is broadcasting the fight live, marking a first for the streaming service. Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano are the co-main event in a repeat of their fight at Madison Square Garden two years ago.

Paul amassed a sizable fan base as a YouTube influencer before pursuing a professional boxing career four years ago. Tyson was the undisputed world heavyweight champion from 1987 to 1990.

“I respect Mike,” Paul stated. “But it is time. It’s my turn now. “I will be remembered as the man who defeated Mike Tyson for the final time.”

Source: AP

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Harrison Butker Has No Regrets About Expressing His Beliefs During Recent Commencement Speech

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Harrison Butker | AP News Image

Harrison Butker, a Kansas City Chiefs kicker, had no remorse about expressing his ideas in a recent commencement speech. He claims to have received both support and “a shocking level of hate” from others.

Butker spoke Friday night at the Regina Caeli Academy Courage Under Fire Gala in Nashville, Tennessee.

butker

Harrison Butker | AP news Image

Harrison Butker Has No Regrets About Expressing His Beliefs During Recent Commencement Speech

He made his first public remarks since his controversial recent commencement speech at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, where he said most women receiving degrees were probably more excited about getting married and having kids; argued some Catholic leaders were “pushing dangerous gender ideologies onto the youth of America;” referred to a “deadly sin sort of pride that has a month dedicated to it” in an oblique reference to Pride month; and took aim at President.

“It is now, over the past few days, my beliefs or what people think I believe have been the focus of countless discussions around the globe,” Butker stated on Friday. “From the start, many people displayed alarming levels of hatred. However, as time passed, even those who disagreed with my ideas supported my religious freedom.

Butker said that he understands criticism for his on-field performance. The 28-year-old stated that he cherishes his religion more than football.

“It’s a decision I’ve consciously made and one I do not regret at all,” he stated.

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Harrison Butker | AP News Image

Harrison Butker Has No Regrets About Expressing His Beliefs During Recent Commencement Speech

The NFL has distanced itself from Butker’s remarks, stating that the comments and “views are not those of the NFL as an organization.”

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes said the three-time Super Bowl champion is entitled to his ideas, even if he doesn’t always agree.

Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce spoke about Butker on his “New Heights” podcast, saying he values him as a teammate.

butker

Harrison Butker | AP news Image

Harrison Butker Has No Regrets About Expressing His Beliefs During Recent Commencement Speech

“When it comes down to his views and what he said at (the) commencement speech, those are his,” said Kelce. “I can’t say I agree with the majority of it, or any of it, except from him loving his family and children. And I don’t think I should condemn him based on his beliefs about how to live life, particularly his religious beliefs; that’s just not who I am.”

Kelce hosts the podcast with his brother Jason, who recently retired following a stellar career with the Philadelphia Eagles.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Leclerc’s Win Removes Monaco Millstone. Ferrari Boss Hopeful The Gap To Red Bull Is Closing

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Ferrrari | AP News Image

MONACO — Ferrari increased its win total from last season, while Charles Leclerc broke a two-year drought in Formula One with victory from pole position at Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix.

Ferrari and McLaren are in a position to challenge Red Bull after eight races this season. This provides optimism for more competitive racing for all F1 fans.

“It’s exciting, and I hope it continues like this for the rest of the season,” Ferrari team principal Frédéric Vasseur said following Sunday’s race. “It will be up and down until the end.”

It wasn’t last season that Max Verstappen broke his own F1 record with an incredible 19 victories for Red Bull. His teammate Sergio Perez won twice, and the only non-Red Bull driver to win was Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr.

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Ferrari | AP News Image

Leclerc’s Win Removes Monaco Millstone. Ferrari Boss Hopeful The Gap To Red Bull Is Closing

Leclerc and Sainz have one win each this year, as does McLaren’s Lando Norris. Red Bull now leads 5-3, with all of Verstappen’s victories, while Leclerc’s pole in Monaco on Saturday stopped Verstappen’s bid for a record-extending ninth consecutive pole.

Vasseur believes the momentum may be shifting.

“You have a kind of snowball effect,” Vasseur remarked. “You have to continue like this.

The 55-year-old Frenchman had known Leclerc since they worked together at Sauber in 2018 when Leclerc made his Formula One debut. They were reunited when Vasseur took over at Ferrari in December 2022, but Leclerc failed to win a race last year despite qualifying well with five pole positions.

Some of Leclerc’s performances were erratic. He made some sloppy blunders and lacked the calmness to match his undeniable speed: Leclerc and Verstappen are regarded as the fastest in Formula One.

Vasseur felt Leclerc was placing too much strain on himself, especially in Monaco. It’s where Leclerc grew up and, much to his dismay, where he had yet to finish on the podium before Sunday’s victory.

With family and friends watching him, especially Prince Albert, Monaco felt like a curse to Leclerc.

He qualified on pole in 2021 but could not start owing to a mechanical issue.

It was already frustrating, but the worst was yet to come.

ferrari

Ferrari | AP news Image

Leclerc’s Win Removes Monaco Millstone. Ferrari Boss Hopeful The Gap To Red Bull Is Closing

Leclerc led from pole in 2022 until Ferrari’s previous leadership made an unpredictable and erroneous decision to change his tires after 22 laps, costing him an odds-on victory.

Given all of this, Vasseur believes Leclerc’s victory on Sunday will free him up mentally.

“Winning in Monaco was a huge relief for him. “I think this one can help him,” Vasseur added. Last year, he felt a little nervous. This time, he was much more relaxed from the start

Leclerc concurred, stating that he slept quite well on Saturday night — but this was partially due to what he ate.

When he arrived home, Leclerc made a snap decision: disregarding his dietary restrictions, he ordered a massive pizza.

“I ate like crazy last night. I came home too late and couldn’t cook, so I ordered my favorite pizza, which isn’t the finest preparation for a marathon,” he explained. “But I thought, ‘OK, maybe mentally it will help me relieve some of the pressure.'” Yes, that’s it. I slept well.”

His favorite pizza?

ferrari

Ferrari | AP News Image

Leclerc’s Win Removes Monaco Millstone. Ferrari Boss Hopeful The Gap To Red Bull Is Closing

Margherita is a traditional recipe with tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil leaves, to which Leclerc adds his twist with “prosciutto crudo” (Italian dry-cured ham).

“Never pineapple,” he explained.

With the Monaco millstone gone, a refueled Leclerc can concentrate on climbing to the summit. He is second overall, 31 points behind three-time Formula One champion Max Verstappen.

Leclerc is convinced that his collaboration with Vasseur will be effective.

“He has a clear vision of what he wants to do and how he intends to accomplish it. “That’s his strength,” Leclerc explained. “I’ve always been completely aligned with how he wants to do things.”

The next stop for Ferrari is the Canadian Grand Prix, which takes place in two weeks.

Leclerc has good memories of Montréal, where he secured his second of 34 career F1 podiums in 2019.

SOURCE – (AP)

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