Epsom Racecourse

Epsom Racecourse, sometimes known as Epsom Downs because of its positioning on the North Downs in Surrey, southern England, is synonymous with the third and fourth Classics of the season, the Oaks and the Derby. The Oaks was first run in 1779 and the Derby a year later. Including the two-day Derby Festival, Epsom hosts as total of 12 Flat fixtures between April and September.


Course Characteristics

Epsom is left-handed, sharp horseshoe, just over a mile and a half in length, with a four-furlong home straight. The mile and a half course, over which the Derby is run, is uphill for the first half a mile, levels out for a quarter of mile and runs downhill around the turn into the straight, known as Tattenham Corner, all the way to final furlong, which is uphill again. The straight course, on which races over 5 furlongs are run, is sharply downhill for the first furlong or so and is the fastest in the world; any hesitation at the start can result in an unrecoverable loss of ground. On the whole, the idiosyncrasies of Epsom suit handy, nimble horses better than long-striding gallopers.


Track Facts

Prior to the inaugural running of the Derby in 1780, the Earl of Derby and Sir Charles Bunbury tossed a coin to decide the title of the race.

For the first three years, the Derby was run over a straight mile.

Suffragette Emily Davison threw herself under King George V’s horse, Anmer, at Tattenham Corner during the 1913 Derby.

Lester Piggott is the most successful jockey in the history of the Derby, with nine wins between 1954 and 1983.

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