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Enjoy America’s Day at the Races: The Kentucky Derby

kentucky derbyFour things that come to mind when thinking of what is the greatest horse race of the year: Big hats, tradition, a little mint julep, and the long shot win. The 142nd Kentucky Derby is the perfect reason to go all out. So, if you’re not watching the race at home, or better yet, at the race itself, we hope you will spend it with us, big hats and all at Peppermill’s Run for the Roses, Kentucky Derby Viewing Party, Saturday, May 7.

To help you get up to speed before the greatest day in horse racing, we turn you over to our Director of Race, Sports and Keno, and Kentucky Derby enthusiast, Terry Cox: 


  • Dating back to 1875, the Kentucky Derby is the longest-running sporting event in America.
  • The Kentucky Derby is the first leg of the “Triple Crown.”
    • Kentucky Derby: 1 ¼ mile at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.
    • Preakness Stakes: 1 3/8 mile at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Md.
    • Belmont Stakes: 1 ½ mile at Belmont Park in Elmira, NY.
  • In 2015 American Pharoah became the 12th Triple Crown winner in history. The last time that feat was achieved was 1978 by Affirmed.
  • The Derby is often referred to as “the most exciting two minutes in sports.” The fastest time ever for the Derby was Secretariat (1973) who won in a time of 1:59 2/5. That’s a 1,175 pound horse running about 37.6 miles per hour.
  • The winner receives a blanket made of over 400 red roses, hence the “Run for the Roses.”
  • During the post parade, the University of Louisville band plays “My Old Kentucky Home” and 165,000 people sing along. You are not alone if you get goose bumps.
  • Mint juleps are a concoction of bourbon, sugar water and mint leaves. Unless served properly with shirred ice in a frosted silver or pewter cup, they taste awful. Do your bartender a favor and order a beer instead.


  • The post time for the Derby is scheduled for 3:34pm (Reno time).
  • The 2016 Kentucky Derby will be broadcast on NBC.
  • The Peppermill will be showing the race on dozens of big screens. Most of these areas are regulated gaming areas and minors are not permitted.
    • In the Sportsbook and Sports Bar area, don’t expect to find a seat after about 10am. Standing-room-only, however, can accommodate hundreds of fans. At post time, you can feel the excitement and electricity from the big crowd. It’s kind of fun.
    • The smoke-free Naples Ballroom area holds several hundred guests and is open to the public. Wagering is available in the Naples lobby area.
    • Multiple TVs throughout the casino gaming areas and bars will televise the festivities.


  • Wagers on the Kentucky Derby are accepted all around the world. Through the miracle of modern technology, the money is transmitted to the HUGE Churchill Downs bet pool. The exaggerated payoffs can be a jackpot for even the most casual player.
  • Every horse has a post position or runner number. Use the number to make your bets. The clerks will really appreciate you if you are prepared.
  • Please check your ticket for accuracy. We can correct mistakes but only before the race.
  • The odds listed on the sheet or program are estimated “morning line” odds. Actual odds change constantly as the betting continues right up until post time. Check the TV broadcast for current odds.
  • Pick a horse to Win (first), Place (second), or Show (third). You can bet any or all. A $2 combination or “across-the-board” bet is $6.
  • Pick an Exacta: two horses that Win and Place. You can bet one way or double the bet to reverse it. A $1 Exacta Box with three horses is $6.
  • A Trifecta is a 3-horse bet to finish 1-2-3 in exactly that order. A $1 Trifecta with three horses in any order (round robin) is $6. A round robin Trifecta with four horses is $24.
  • There are many other types of wagers and ways to bet the Kentucky Derby. Allow yourself ample time and arrive early in the day. Our staff will be happy to explain the options.
  • Advance wagering is available on Friday and the Racebook will be open at 7am on Derby Day. Please make your bets early and avoid getting shut out at the last minute.
  • Winning race wagers may be cashed any time within 90 days after the date issued.



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