The Irish Derby is a Group 1 flat horse race in Ireland which is open to three-year-old thoroughbred colts and fillies.
It is run at the Curragh over a distance of 1 mile and 4 furlongs (2,414 metres) and is scheduled to take place each year in late June or early July. It is the Irish version of the Derby and is currently held three weeks after the English event.
The earliest version of the race was called the O’Darby Stakes. This was established in 1817, but it was discontinued after the 1824 running. It was succeeded in 1848 by the Curragh Derby, but this was again short-lived. The modern Irish Derby was created by the 3rd Earl of Howth, the 3rd Marquess of Drogheda and the 3rd Earl of Charlemont, and it was first run in 1866. Its distance was initially set at 1 mile and 6 furlongs, and this was cut to its present length in 1872. In 1907 the Irish Derby was won by that year’s English Derby winner, Orby. But it was not until 1962 that the Irish version became the major international race that it is now. This was brought about by Joe McGrath, a founder of the Irish Hospitals’ Sweepstake. McGrath combined the race with the sweepstake, and it became known as the Irish Sweeps Derby. The prize money was substantially increased, and the event began to regularly attract the winners of the English Derby. In 1964Santa Claus became the first horse to win the double since Orby. Several more have followed, and the most recent to win both races was High Chaparral in 2002.
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