The Epsom Derby is the second race to make up the UK Triple Crown, and the third race of the British Classics. A race of 1 mile 4 furlongs 10 yards today, it was originally run over just 1 mile, but soon changed to 1 mile 4 furlongs, amended to the current distance in 1991 for the sake of accuracy. Held on the first weekend of June every year at the Epsom Downs Racecourse, the Epsom Derby, or The Derby as it is sometimes colloquially known in the UK, was established in 1780.
Aside from a short period of time between 1915 and 1918 when the race was run at Newmarket as the New Derby Stakes, the Epsom Derby has been run each year at Epsom Downs Racecourse. This racecourse also hosts the Epsom Oaks - the fourth race of the British Classics - and the Coronation Cup. The Epsom Derby is the most exciting event, however, with the strongest 3-year-old thoroughbreds running the course every year.
The Epsom Downs Racecourse has been undergoing improvements that allow its grandstand to house far more spectators. An interesting aspect of the Epsom Derby is that the course is on a public area, which means that it can be possible to view the race for free. This is still a difficult proposition, though, and the Epsom Downs Racecourse improvements should allow far more people to hold an impressive view of the Epsom Derby.
In 2009, the Epsom Derby will be held as part of the Epsom Racecourse Spring Meeting from 5 to 6 June. The race itself will be run on 6 June and attending the Epsom Downs Racecourse on Derby Day is incredibly exciting, with a festive atmosphere that keeps building until the Epsom Derby is finally run. Booking for tickets early is vital, as the popularity of this event cannot be understated.