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20 Best Kentucky Derby Quotes & Sayings

20 Best Kentucky Derby Quotes & Sayings

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The Kentucky Derby is one of the grandest races in the Thoroughbred industry. Each May, some of the world’s greatest Thoroughbreds take center stage at Churchill Downs for the first leg of the Triple Crown.

Since 1875, the Kentucky Derby has been a staple in the racing world. Thousands of people gather each year in their finest Sunday clothes to watch the best of the best compete. These Kentucky Derby quotes and sayings capture just how important the race is to all involved.

The Kentucky Derby has become an iconic event in the sporting world. Not only is it famous for the horses, but also the fashion, hats, mint juleps, and food. It allows offers a lavish purse that is one of the most expensive in the horse racing industry.

Kentucky Derby Quotes and Sayings

The run for the roses.


Rider’s up!


This is the day for anyone involved with horse. The dream is to win the Kentucky Derby, because there’s nothing like it.

Billy Turner, trainer

You hear about the Kentucky Derby. You hear that it’s the greatest race in the world. It’s a fantasy. If you ask any rider in the country that hasn’t won the Derby, ‘What would you like to do best?’ I guarantee you they are going to tell you they want to win the Kentucky Derby. Oh yes.

Laffit Pincay, Jr., jockey of Swale, 1984 Derby winner

It is very, very difficult to win. A horse is only three once. His opportunity is only going to occur once, when he sets foot into that gate and he is only going to have two minutes and a little bit of extra to pull it off.

John Sosby, former manager of Claiborne Farm

Hopefully you can catch that lightening in a bottle again. 44,000 registered foals and only 16 or 18 of them make it to the Derby.

John Sosby, former manager of Claiborne Farm

Until you go to the Kentucky Derby with your own eyes, behold the Derby, you ain’t never been nowhere and you ain’t seen nothing.

Irvin S. Cobb

I’d rather have a bad day at the track than a good day off it, somwhere else.

Johnny Nerud, trainer.

When you touch the dirt on the track you have the feeling, at that moment, that you are on the center stage of the universe.

Steve Cauthen, jockey of Affirmed, 1978 Triple Crown winner

Also Read: 15 Interesting Kentucky Derby Facts

If you don’t dream of winning the Derby, you have no business training Thoroughbreds.

Bennie “Chip” Woolley Jr., trainer of Mine That Bird, 2009 Derby winner

I tell you waiting for the Derby to start is the longest day of your life… It’s just a unique time of thrill and tension and worry.

Penny Chenery, owner of Secretariat, 1973 Triple Crown winner

I don’t know how anything could be bigger than the Kentucky Derby. If you hear of something, let me know…

J. Paul Reddam, owner of I’ll Have Another, 2012 Derby winner and Nyquist, 2016 Derby winner

We are there to guide the horse. You have to know the trainers. Those are the people who are going to be helping you. You have to learn how to ride against the jockeys, the competition. You have to learn how to the horses would like to be ridden. So now it’s about trying to read all those things at the same time. It happens so quickly, and even all the homework that you do and all the experience that you have, it doesn’t prepare you for the Derby. Sometimes you get a really great connection with the horse, and that’s what it takes.

John Velazquez, jockey of Animal Kingdom, 2011 Derby winner

If you’re going to be successful, you have to live and breathe this business.

Bob Baffert, trainer

Coming down the stretch I was thinking: ‘Keep rollin’ big boy. Keep rollin’. This has to be the sweetest moment of my life.

Art Sherman

I wanted to run. I wanted to fly. I was cryin’. I wanted to tell the whole world who he was and what we had done with him, you know, and he was our horse. Other than when my four children and my grandchild was born, I’ve never been happier. You want to see the greatest, and the greatest of all races is the Kentucky Derby. That is the race, the Kentucky Derby, the Run for the Roses.

John Sosby, former manager of Claiborne Farm

Talk Derby to me.


The most exciting two minutes in sports


Also Read: 10 Fastest Kentucky Derby Times

The fastest two minutes in sports


Miracles were made to come true and it happened today for me.

Chris Antley, jockey of Strike the Gold, 1991 Derby winner  and Charismatic, 1999 Derby winner

The Kentucky Derby is held on the first Saturday of every May at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. All horses racing are three-year-old Thoroughbreds and they must qualify for the event.