Perhaps the most iconic and memorable of all Kentucky Derby traditions is the garland of red roses that is placed around the winning horse. This custom has earned the Kentucky Derby the nickname “The Run for the Roses®”, but how much do you know about the Kentucky Derby red rose? Here are some fun facts for your Derby Day.
· Roses were first used in the 1896 Derby, when winner Ben Brush received an arrangmenent of pink and white roses.
· The red rose became the official flower of the Kentucky Derby in 1904.
· The Derby was given the nickname “The Run for the Roses” in 1925 by sports columnist Bill Corum. The phrase was trademarked by Churchill Downs Inc. in 2009.
· Burgoo King, the winner of the 58th running of the Kentucky Derby, won the first garland of roses as we know it today.
· The Derby Garland has been crafted by Kroger since 1987. The Derby Garland is 122 inches long and 22 inches wide, and weighs approximately 40 lbs. More than 450 Rainforest Alliance Certified "Freedom" roses are placed on the garland.