The McDowell’s Indian Derby
February 4, 2013 2 Comments
The McDowell’s Indian Derby is a horse racing event held every year on the first Sunday of February at the Mahalaxmi Racecourse in Mumbai, India. It is one of the premier sporting activities in the city. It was first run in the year 1943.McDowell’s has been sponsoring it each year since 1985.It is the premier event of the Indian Turf and so always draws a mammoth crowd of some 35,000 people.
The Indian Derby is for 4 years old Indian horses only.Colts and geldings carry 57 kg and Fillies 55.5 kg. and the Derby distance is about 2400m. This gruelling contest tests both the speed and stamina of top four-year-old horses who wish to lay claim to the title of ‘the best four-year-old thoroughbred’.
The contest lasts barely two-and-a-half minutes.But behind those two-and-a-half minutes lie about four years of painstaking labour — first by the breeder who meticulously matches bloodlines to produce the best possible offspring, then by the owner who puts his/her money on the line when he buys a dream along with a horse, later by the trainer who, along with his backyard staff, lives out each good or bad swing in the fortunes of the horse that comes with every victory and defeat, and finally, on the D-day, by the jockey who rides the animal and has to be fully aware that he/she has to make many split second decisions during the derby, and should even one of them goe wrong, it can undo four years of planned effort.
The McDowell’s Indian Derby is also one of the most important events in Mumbai’s social calendar.In the 40’s and 50’s royal pageantry was prevalent on Indian Derby Day. After the 60’s, the aristocratic ambiance waned but Mumbai’s High Society and wannabes make it a point to attend and be seen here.
The McDowell Indian Derby, a Grade 1 event, is the richest race in the country. The rise in stake money has been steep particularly since the turn of the new millennium. In 1943 the prize was the then princely sum of Rs 35,000.Now, with the new five-year contract of Rs.28 crores signed between Vijay Mallya’s United Spirits Limited and the, the total stakes for the 2013 Indian Derby is Rs 3 crores and the winner takes home Rs 1,80,00,000, which is probably be the biggest prize money on offer, for a single individual winner, in the history of Indian sports.
This year 17 thoroughbreds from all over the country were competing in the Blue Riband of the Indian Turf, which was the 8th race of the day run at 5.30 p.m.Super Storm ridden by Jimmy Fortune won the McDowell Signature Premier Indian Derby (Gr. I). The winner is owned by M/s. Rajesh Narredu, R.Amantha Cham Dev Raju, R.Cham Devaraju & Mrs. R.Rajamma. Satish Narredu trained the horse.
Fashion designers Rocky S & Priya Kataria displayed new lines and renowned international makeup artist Scott Barnes reinvented his signature look, ‘The Glow’, for Indian skin tones.
And here is a sample of the entertainment available: