What is the Derby?
What is the Derby
What is the Derby
The greatest horse race of the year, the 71st OPAP Greek Derby, to be held on July 5th, constitutes the most demanding challenge for three-year old thoroughbreds.
This is the case not only in Greece, but in all countries with a developed horseracing industry; the most popular derbies in the world are, without a doubt, Kentucky Derby, namely the "The Run for the Roses" in the U.S., and the English Derby at the famous Epsom racecourse.
The first Greek Derby was held in 1931, only 5 years after the launch of horse races in Greece. Even though, during the first years, horses coming from foreign countries could participate in the race, such participation was modest, due to the low potential of Greek breeding at that time.
As of 1935 and mainly following the relaunch of horse races after the war, the Derbies were being dominated by the thoroughbreds of the Ippotour stud farm, which was established in Lazarina at that time. The horses of the Figaia stud farm, of the Kampani family, started emerging as winners as of 1964 with Thalis. These two stud farms were dominating this race until 1983, when the page was turned and Toxo, from the Goulandri stud farm, was designated as winner.
As to the trainers, the modern era of the Faliro Racecourse was sealed, from 1960 onwards, by Loukas Panourgias, the most legendary trainer of that era, who was leading the sector until the end of the 90s.
Winning the Derby is a life-long dream for owners, trainers and jockeys, even today. Even more so, winning it more than once. In last year's Derby, the first one held by company Horse Races S.A., a record-high was tied. The six Derby wins record held by the legendary champion jockey Vaggelis Keratsas, also known as the "general", was tied by Michalis Xynos who won with his horse Mentor.