No Thoroughbred race in the state of Kentucky holds a more hallowed place in the national and international consciousness than the Kentucky Derby. Its fame is richly deserved; yet there are other equally important and historic races whose significance deserves a larger share of the spotlight—none more so than the Derby’s sister race, the Kentucky Oaks.
Inaugurated on May 19, 1875—just two days after the first Kentucky Derby—and run annually at Churchill Downs since then, the Kentucky Oaks is America’s most prestigious race for three-year-old fillies and the second-oldest continuously run horse race in North America. Always cherished by horsemen as a test for the future mothers of the Thoroughbred, the Oaks has in recent years become a major charity and fashion gala in addition to its significance as a sporting event. The Kentucky Oaks: 150 Years of Running for the Lilies traces the history of one of the most watched and highly attended events in Thoroughbred racing through the stories of the men, women, and fillies that have made the Kentucky Oaks a celebration of the feminine side of racing.
The Kentucky Oaks: 150 Years of Running for the Lilies is slated for release on April 30, 2024, through the University Press of Kentucky (https://www.kentuckypress.com/9781985900349/the-kentucky-oaks/).