Epsom Derby Fever
The first Epsom Derby was inaugurated in 1780, and is also referred to as The Derby and Derby Stakes. It is a race for horses that are three years of age, and both fillies and colts are permitted to enter. This Group 1 race for thoroughbreds, hosted by the Epsom Downs Racecourse, is run over a distance of 2 423 meters. The Derby is seen as one of the most prestigious events on Britain’s horse racing calendar and a race that has eluded the Queen for years. It is an event that sees a celebrity line-up of spectators, dressed in the most fashionable designs, included in the stands that fill up with approximately a hundred thousand racing fans.
The race favorite for the 2011 Epsom Derby is one of the Queen’s horses named Carlton House. The Queen, who has owned thoroughbred racehorses for more than sixty years, came to own this horse through the Prime Minister and Vice President of the UAE (Ruler of Dubai), Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. He set his sights on a horse owned by the Queen, Highland Glen, in 2009, and approached her with an offer. Because the horse was strong willed and gave endless problems at the starting gates, she did not think it fair to accept money for him and gave him to the Sheikh. As fate would have it, Highland Glen went on to win his first race for the Sheikh, and to repay the Queen he gave her four yearlings of which one of the yearlings was Carlton House.
Even though Carlton House is the favorite, there are other very talented horses in the line-up for the Epsom Derby, such as Treasure Beach, Ocean War, Pour Moi, Memphis Tennessee, Recital, Native Khan and Seville. If Carlton House were to win, the Queen will break through the cloud that seemed to hang over the monarchy, which goes all the way back to 1909. He has done well so far, taking one second place finish and two victories. It is also an opportunity for the public to see the Queen participating in her hobby and not her official duties, as she has always had a love for horses and will be there on Saturday, 4 June 2011, to watch the running of the Epsom Derby.