Make sure to watch the 140th Kentucky Derby

Kentucky Derby winner Orb is taken away after his morning bath at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland, Thursday, May 16, 2013. The 138th running of the Preakness Stakes is Saturday. (Lloyd Fox/Baltimore Sun/MCT)

By Peter Bailey-Wells

There is no sporting event in American faster and more exciting than the one that takes place on the first Saturday in May. It’s called “The most exciting two minutes in sports” and the “Run for the Roses.” It is part of the original triple crown.

It’s the Kentucky Derby, and if you’ve never seen it, you should.

If anything else, watching the Derby is a way to marvel at the lords and ladies of the day in a modern-day scene straight out of Downton Abbey. The colors and images of the day are burned in the viewers’ brains like a high-definition watercolor.

Great Britain is famous for being obsessed with royalty, and despite not having a monarchy, the United States has acquired a bit of that obsession. The Kentucky Derby fills that need for royalty. The race even has its own classy drink associated with it: the mint julep.

It isn’t just the pageantry that makes the Derby appealing. It isn’t called “The most exciting two minutes in sports” because it’s relaxing. Horseracing is a sport that has you on the edge of your seat from start to finish, and while there are pre-race favorites, any horse and jockey in the field are potential champions.

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    The Kentucky Derby is sneakily one of the most amazing sporting events in the world.

    You think you’ve seen dominance in a sport? Do you know who Calvin Borel is? He won the Derby in 2007, 2009 and 2010, becoming the first jockey ever to win three Derbies in four years. That’s akin to Bill Belichick leading his Patriots to three Super Bowls in four years. Yeah, it’s that big.

    Except for one thing. Super Bowl attendance is about half the attendance of the derby. Half. 150,000 people will head to the Churchill Downs racetrack to watch 20 horses compete for a winner’s purse that is as much as the largest PGA tour events. The difference is that two minutes separates horses and jockeys from fame, while golf takes four rounds and as many days to complete.

    The Kentucky Derby also has the distinction of being part of one of sports’ most elusive accomplishments. The Triple Crown is the distinction given to the horse that wins the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes.

    Interestingly enough, horseracing’s Triple Crown is best comparable to baseball’s Triple Crown. A mark once seen as achievable has recently been viewed as one of the greatest accomplishments in sports. Baseball’s Crown had a 45-year drought before Miguel Cabrera won it in 2012. Horseracing’s Triple Crown has not been seen since Affirmed accomplished the feat in 1978.

    This year’s edition is the 140th running of the historic race. It didn’t break for World War II and has not been interrupted since it was first run in 1875.

    It’s been around for quite some time and might just be around for another 140 years, so take two minutes out of your day on Saturday, sit back with a mint julep in hand, and watch some horse racing.

    Peter is a freshman in Media. He can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter