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The Epsom Derby is the most famous and prestigious flat race in the world. It is run at Epsom Downs racecourse in Surrey, on the outskirts of London.
The race distance is one mile and four furlongs, and horses aged three are eligible to run, while the race is open to colts and fillies but geldings cannot take part. There are equivalent versions around the world.
Its importance for the breeding industry is reflected in the fact that fillies are eligible but gelded male horses are not. As only horses aged three can take part there have been no multiple winners and very few fillies run in the race.
After the 2018 renewal the leading jockey is Lester Piggott with nine wins. The winning-most trainers with seven wins date back to the last century and previous centuries, and the leading owners are the Coolmore syndicate who have won seven Derbies from 2001 to 2017.
A horse must require speed, balance and stamina in order to handle the unique track. The winner of the race is often retired to stud and does not race aged four. The earnings from sending a Derby winner to stud by far exceed potential prize money as an older horse. The winner of the Epsom Derby often appears in the Irish version at the Curragh a few weeks later.
The race name resulted from the toss of a coin between the Earl of Derby and a friend called Bunbury so if the coin had dropped the other way the biggest flat race in the sport would now be called the Bunbury.