Mud, Thoroughbreds and Mint Juleps: The 143rd Running of the Kentucky Derby

On a mud slopped track at Churchill Downs, thoroughbreds and seersucker suits gathered for the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby, the longest continually held sports event in the United States. The multi-million dollar event has become a fabled American pastime, as well over a hundred thousand spectators descended on Louisville to showcase fashion, drink mint juleps and wager bets on the “Greatest Two Minutes in Sports.” Photographs by Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

State of Honor, a 54-1 longshot, walks down the track after racing in the rain on the eve of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.

Jockey Julien Leparoux walks back to the locker room covered in mud after racing in the Kentucky Oaks on the night before the Kentucky Derby.

A woman battles the wind on Millionaires Row at Churchill Downs.

Hat-wearing racegoers laugh after taking a selfie before the Kentucky Derby.

A racehorse and its exercise rider stand on the track during morning workouts.

A racegoer smokes a cigar on a balcony before the start of the Kentucky Derby.

Horses gallop during the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic on the afternoon of the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby.

Derby attendees seek shelter from the rain beneath a grandstand.

Racing silks hang from a rack inside the jockey’s locker room.

Functional derby hats in the shape of umbrellas made an appearance in the grandstand.

Horses round a turn after crossing the finish line during a race the day before the Kentucky Derby.

Racegoers wear derby hats before participating in a fashion competition on the eve of the Kentucky Derby.

Eventual winner Always Dreaming (5) battles State of Honor (6) for the lead on the first turn of the Kentucky Derby.

A suit-wearing derby fan enjoys a mint julep before the derby. 

Jockeys Miguel Mena, seated, and Jon Court are reflected in a mirror as they watch a race in the jockey’s locker room.

The betting windows are packed before the start of the race. 

Jockey John Velazquez takes a victory lap on the thoroughbred Always Dreaming after a 2 3/4-length victory at the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby.