It is finally Kentucky Derby Day. One of the most anticipated sporting spectacles of the year has arrived and brings with it 20 new horses looking to start their run at the Triple Crown.

What is the Derby, exactly, though? And when did it start? Was it always as popular with celebrity guests? And who are the best horses and jockeys of the last few years?

Good thing you came here, because we've answered all those great questions in our 2018 Kentucky Derby guide -- a look back at the history of the "Run for the Roses."

Who wins the Kentucky Derby? And what colossal long shot hits the board? Visit SportsLine to get Jody Demling's Kentucky Derby winner, see which huge long shot contends, and get the finish positions for every single horse, all from the man who's picked 9 straight Derby-Oaks doubles!

When is the 2018 Kentucky Derby?

First thing's first: If you're here to find information about this year's race, you'll want to check out our guide on how to watch this weekend's event. The short answer is: Saturday, May 5. But again, be sure to peruse our guide for more on the time and location of the Derby, as well as how you can watch it on TV or through a stream.

What is the Kentucky Derby?

This is kind of an important one. And you don't have to be ashamed if you're wondering, because the Derby, contrary to some opinions, isn't just any old horse race, and it also isn't just a celebrity fashion show.

Horse racing was popularized as a sport all the way back in the 16th century, according to some records, and it came to America by way of the British, who held their first-ever annual race, the four-mile Kiplingcotes Derby, in March of 1519.

Since North America took up racing for itself, the Kentucky Derby has become the continent's most heavily attended Derby of the year, pitting three-year-old Thoroughbred horses against each other on a one-and-a-quarter-mile track. The race is a Grade I stakes event, meaning it's on the highest level of North American competition.

The Kentucky Derby is also the first of a three-part race series deemed the American Triple Crown, preceding the Preakness and Belmont Stakes. Even though it isn't the culminating race of the Triple Crown, it is regularly touted as the most popular and best-attended of the bunch, whether for its history of draping a blanket of roses on the winning horse or its blink-and-you'll-miss-it speed (hence the "Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports" moniker).

In simpler terms, it's like the Super Bowl, at least in terms of spotlight, for horse racing -- and it features "hot-blooded, high-spirited" horses bred specifically for racing. That's mostly why the Derby, much like the Super Bowl and other major sporting events, attracts both an unmatched betting crowd and an audience chock-full of celebrities, many of whom carry on the Derby tradition of sporting luxurious outfits and/or elaborate hats.

When did the Kentucky Derby start?

The first annual Derby started taking shape around 1872, when the grandson of William Clark (the Clark of the Lewis and Clark expedition) took inspiration from France's French Jockey Club and England's Epsom Derby, a three-year-old Thoroughbred race dating back to the 1700s, to organize the Louisville Jockey Club in his home state of Kentucky.

With land donated from John and Henry Churchill, whose names are now commemorated through the Derby's famous Churchill Downs track, Clark gathered a field of 15 horses for the first-ever race in 1875.

Has anything changed since the first Kentucky Derby?

While the location of the Derby has stayed the same, the first 21 races were actually conducted on a one-and-a-half-mile track. It wasn't until 1896 that the current distance (1.25 miles, or 2 kilometers) was implemented.

Otherwise, there hasn't been a whole lot of tinkering with the Derby format. The race is still held at Churchill Downs in Louisville on the first Saturday of every May. The blanket of roses is still draped over the winning horse. Crowds are still pouring in with fancy attire.

How much money do Kentucky Derby winners take home?

The current Derby purse is $2 million, and the winner is guaranteed 62 percent (or $1.24 million) of that. The $2-million total is split between the top five finishers this year, which marks the first time since 1996 that a race will feature more than $1 million in guaranteed total prizes, as ESPN reported in January.

Back in 1954, as noted, the race's purse exceeded $100,000 for the first time.

Who's won the Kentucky Derby in previous years?

Here's a look at all of the previous Derby winners, their jockeys and trainers, plus their winning times:

2017Always DreamingJohn R. VelazquezTodd PletcherBrooklyn Boyz Stables2:03.59
2016NyquistMario GutierrezDoug F. O'NeillReddam Racing LLC2:01:31
2015American PharoahVictor EspinozaBob BaffertAhmed Zayat2:03.02
2014California ChromeVictor EspinozaArt ShermanSteve and Carolyn Coburn & Perry and Denise Martin2:03.66
2013OrbJoel RosarioClaude R. "Shug" McGaughey IIIStuart Janney III & Phipps Stable (Ogden Mills "Dinny" Phipps)2:02.89
2012I'll Have AnotherMario GutierrezDoug O'NeillJ. Paul Reddam2:01.83
2011Animal KingdomJohn VelazquezH. Graham MotionTeam Valor International2:02.04
2010Super SaverCalvin BorelTodd PletcherWinStar Farm LLC.2:04.45
2009Mine That BirdCalvin BorelBennie Woolley Jr.Double Eagle Ranch & Bueno Suerte Equine2:02.66
2008Big BrownKent DesormeauxRichard Dutrow, Jr.IEAH Stable (Michael Iavarone) and Paul P. Pompa Jr.2:01.82
2007Street SenseCalvin BorelCarl NafzgerJames B. Tafel2:02.17
2006BarbaroEdgar PradoMichael MatzLael Stables (Roy & Gretchen Jackson)2:01.36
2005GiacomoMike SmithJohn ShirreffsMr. & Mrs. Jerome S. Moss2:02.75
2004Smarty JonesStewart ElliottJohn ServisSomeday Farm2:04.06
2003Funny CideJosé SantosBarclay TaggSackatoga Stable (Jackson Knowlton)2:01.19
2002War EmblemVictor EspinozaBob BaffertThe Thoroughbred Corporation2:01.13
2001MonarchosJorge ChavezJohn T. Ward, Jr.John C. Oxley1:59.97
2000Fusaichi PegasusKent DesormeauxNeil D. DrysdaleFusao Sekiguchi2:01
1999CharismaticChris AntleyD. Wayne LukasRobert B. & Beverly J. Lewis2:03.29
1998Real QuietKent DesormeauxBob BaffertMike Pegram2:02 1/5
1997Silver CharmGary StevensBob BaffertRobert B. & Beverly J. Lewis2:02 2/5
1996GrindstoneJerry BaileyD. Wayne LukasOverbrook Farm2:01
1995Thunder GulchGary StevensD. Wayne LukasMichael Tabor2:01 1/5
1994Go for GinChris McCarronNick ZitoWilliam J. Condren & Joseph M. Cornacchia2:03 3/5
1993Sea HeroJerry BaileyMacKenzie "Mack" MillerRokeby Stable2:02
1992Lil E. TeePat DayLynn WhitingW. Cal Partee2:03
1991Strike the GoldChris AntleyNick ZitoBCC Stable2:03
1990UnbridledCraig PerretCarl NafzgerFrances A. Genter2:02
1989Sunday SilencePatrick ValenzuelaCharles Edward WhittinghamH-G-W Partners2:05
1988Winning ColorsGary StevensD. Wayne LukasEugene V. Klein2:02 1/5
1987AlyshebaChris McCarronCharles "Jack" Van BergD. & P. Scharbauer2:03
1986FerdinandWilliam ShoemakerCharles Edward WhittinghamElizabeth A. Keck2:02 4/5
1985Spend a BuckAngel Cordero, Jr.Cam GambolatiDennis Diaz2:00 1/5
1984SwaleLaffit Pincay, Jr.Woodford C. StephensClaiborne Farm2:02 2/5
1983Sunny's HaloEddie DelahoussayeDavid C. Cross, Jr.D. J. Foster Stable2:02 1/5
1982Gato Del SolEddie DelahoussayeEdwin J. GregsonHancock & Peters2:02 2/5
1981Pleasant ColonyJorge VelasquezJohn P. CampoBuckland Farm2:02
1980Genuine RiskJacinto VasquezLeRoy JolleyDiana M. Firestone2:02
1979Spectacular BidRonnie FranklinGrover DelpHawksworth Farm2:02 2/5
1978AffirmedSteve CauthenLazaro BarreraHarbor View Farm2:01 1/5
1977Seattle SlewJean CruguetWm. H. Turner, Jr.Karen L. Taylor2:02 1/5
1976Bold ForbesAngel Cordero, Jr.Lazaro BarreraE. Rodriguez Tizol2:01 3/5
1975Foolish PleasureJacinto VasquezLeRoy JolleyJohn L. Greer2:02
1974CannonadeAngel Cordero, Jr.Woodford C. StephensJohn M. Olin2:04
1973SecretariatRon TurcotteLucien LaurinMeadow Stable1:59 2/5
1972Riva RidgeRon TurcotteLucien LaurinMeadow Stud2:01 4/5
1971Canonero IIGustavo AvilaJuan AriasEdgar Caibett2:03 1/5
1970Dust CommanderMike ManganelloDon CombsRobert E. Lehmann2:03 2/5
1969Majestic PrinceWilliam HartackJohn LongdenFrank M. McMahon2:01 4/5
1968Forward PassIsmael ValenzuelaHenry ForrestCalumet Farm2:02 1/5
1967Proud ClarionRobert UsseryLoyd Gentry, Jr.Darby Dan Farm2:00 3/5
1966Kauai KingDon BrumfieldHenry ForrestFord Stable2:02
1965Lucky DebonairWilliam ShoemakerFrank CatroneAda L. Rice2:01 1/5
1964Northern DancerWilliam HartackHoratio LuroWindfields Farm2:00
1963ChateaugayBraulio BaezaJames P. ConwayDarby Dan Farm2:01 4/5
1962DecidedlyWilliam HartackHoratio LuroEl Peco Ranch2:00 2/5
1961Carry BackJohn SellersJack PriceKatherine Price2:04
1960Venetian WayWilliam HartackVictor J. SovinskiSunny Blue Farm2:02 2/5
1959Tomy LeeWilliam ShoemakerFrank E. ChildsFred & Juliette Turner2:02 1/5
1958Tim TamIsmael ValenzuelaH. A. JonesCalumet Farm2:05
1957Iron LiegeWilliam HartackH. A. JonesCalumet Farm2:01 1/5
1956NeedlesDavid ErbHugh FontaineD & H Stable2:03 2/5
1955SwapsWilliam ShoemakerM. A. TenneyRex C. Ellsworth2:01 4/5
1954DetermineRaymond YorkWilliam MolterAndrew J. Crevolin2:03
1953Dark StarHenry MorenoEddie HaywardCain Hoy Stable2:02
1952Hill GailEddie ArcaroBen A. JonesCalumet Farm2:01 3/5
1951Count TurfConn McCrearySol RutchickJack J. Amiel2:02 3/5
1950MiddlegroundWilliam BolandMax HirschKing Ranch2:01 3/5
1949PonderSteve BrooksBen A. JonesCalumet Farm2:04 1/5
1948CitationEddie ArcaroBen A. JonesCalumet Farm2:05 2/5
1947Jet PilotEric GuerinTom SmithMaine Chance Farm2:06 4/5
1946AssaultWarren MehrtensMax HirschKing Ranch2:06 3/5
1945Hoop Jr.Eddie ArcaroIvan H. ParkeFred W. Hooper2:07
1944PensiveConn McCrearyBen A. JonesCalumet Farm2:04 1/5
1943Count FleetJohn LongdenG. D. CameronFannie Hertz2:04
1942Shut OutWayne D. WrightJohn Milton Gaver, Sr.Greentree Stable2:04 2/5
1941WhirlawayEddie ArcaroBen A. JonesCalumet Farm2:01 2/5
1940GallahadionCarroll BiermanRoy WaldronMilky Way Farm2:05
1939JohnstownJames StoutJame FitzsimmonsBelair Stud2:03 2/5
1938LawrinEddie ArcaroBen A. JonesHerbert M. Woolf2:04 4/5
1937War AdmiralCharle KurtsingerGeorge ConwayGlen Riddle Farm2:03 1/5
1936Bold VentureIra HanfordMax HirschMorton L. Schwartz2:03 3/5
1935OmahaWilliam SaundersJame FitzsimmonsBelair Stud2:05
1934CavalcadeMack GarnerRobert A. SmithBrookmeade Stable2:04
1933Brokers TipDon MeadeHerbert John ThompsonEdward R. Bradley2:06 4/5
1932Burgoo KingBasil JamesHerbert John ThompsonEdward R. Bradley2:05 1/5
1931Twenty GrandCharle KurtsingerJames Rowe, Jr.Greentree Stable2:01 4/5
1930Gallant FoxEarl SandeJame FitzsimmonsBelair Stud2:07 3/5
1929Clyde Van DusenLinus McAteeClyde Van DusenHerbert P. Gardner2:10 4/5
1928Reigh CountCharle LangBert MichellFannie Hertz2:10 2/5
1927WhiskeryLinus McAteeFred HopkinsHarry P. Whitney2:06
1926Bubbling OverAlbert JohnsonHerbert John ThompsonEdward R. Bradley2:03 4/5
1925Flying EbonyEarl SandeWilliam DukeGifford A. Cochran2:07 3/5
1924Black GoldJohn D. MooneyHanly WebbRosa M. Hoots2:05 1/5
1923ZevEarl SandeD. J. LearyRancocas Stable2:05 2/5
1922MorvichAlbert JohnsonFred BurlewBenjamin Block2:04 3/5
1921Behave YourselfCharles ThompsonHerbert John ThompsonEdward R. Bradley2:04 1/5
1920Paul JonesTed RiceWilliam GarthRal Parr2:09
1919Sir BartonJohn LoftusH. Guy BedwellJ. K. L. Ross2:09 4/5
1918ExterminatorWilliam KnappHenry McDanielWillis Sharpe Kilmer2:10 4/5
1917Omar KhayyamCharles BorelC. T. PattersonBillings & Johnson2:04 3/5
1916George SmithJohn LoftusHollie HughesJohn Sanford2:04
1915RegretJoe NotterJames Rowe, Sr.Harry P. Whitney2:05 2/5
1914Old RosebudJohn McCabeFrank D. WeirHamilton C. Applegate2:03 2/5
1913DonerailRoscoe GooseThomas P. HayesThomas P. Hayes2:04 4/5
1912WorthCarroll Hugh ShillingFrank M. TaylorHenry C. Hallenbeck2:09 2/5
1911MeridianGeorge ArchibaldAlbert EwingRichard F. Carman2:05
1910DonauRobert HerbertGeorge HamWilliam Gerst2:06 2/5
1909WintergreenVincent PowersCharles MackJerome B. Respess2:08 1/5
1908Stone StreetArthur PickensJ. W. HallC. E. & J. W. Hamilton2:15 1/5
1907Pink StarAndy MinderW. H. FizerJ. Hal Woodford2:12 3/5
1906Sir HuonRoscoe TroxlerPete CoyneBashford Manor Stable2:08 4/5
1905AgileJack MartinRobert TuckerSamuel S. Brown2:10 3/4
1904ElwoodFrank PriorCharle E. DurnellMrs. C. E. Durnell2:08 1/2
1903Judge HimesHarold BookerJohn P. MayberryCharles R. Ellison2:09
1902Alan-a-DaleJimmy WinkfieldThomas Clay McDowellThomas Clay McDowell2:08 3/4
1901His EminenceJimmy WinkfieldFrank B. Van MeterFrank B. Van Meter2:07 3/4
1900Lieut. GibsonJimmy BolandCharles HughesCharles H. Smith2:06 1/2
1899ManuelFred TaralRobert WaldenA. H. & D. H. Morris2:12
1898PlauditWillie SimmsJohn E. MaddenJohn E. Madden2:09
1897Typhoon IIButtons GarnerJ. C. CahnJ. C. Cahn2:12 1/2
1896Ben BrushWillie SimmsHardy Campbell, Jr.Mike F. Dwyer2:07 3/4
1895HalmaSoup PerkinsByron McClellandByron McClelland2:37 1/2
1894ChantFrank GoodaleH. Eugene LeighLeigh & Rose2:41
1893LookoutEddie KunzeWilliam McDanielCushing & Orth2:39 1/4
1892AzraAlonzo ClaytonJohn H. MorrisBashford Manor Stable2:41 1/2
1891KingmanIsaac MurphyDud AllenJacobin Stable2:52 1/4
1890RileyIsaac MurphyEdward CorriganEdward Corrigan2:45
1889SpokaneThomas KileyJohn RodegapNoah Armstrong2:34 1/2
1888Macbeth IIGeorge CovingtonJohn CampbellChicago Stable2:38 1/4
1887MontroseIsaac LewisJohn McGintyLabold Brothers2:39 1/4
1886Ben AliPaul DuffyJim MurphyJ. B. A. Haggin2:36 1/2
1885Joe CottonErkine HendersonAbe PerryJames T. Williams2:37 1/4
1884BuchananIsaac MurphyWilliam BirdWilliam Cottrill2:40 1/4
1883LeonatusWilliam DonohueRaleigh ColstonChinn & Morgan2:43
1882ApolloBabe HurdGreen B. MorrisMorris & Patton2:40 1/4
1881HindooJames McLaughlinJames G. Rowe, Sr.Dwyer Bros. Stable2:40
1880FonsoGeorge Garret LewisTice HutsellJ. Snell Shawhan2:37 1/2
1879Lord MurphyCharlie ShauerGeorge RiceDarden & Co2:37
1878Day StarJimmy CarterLee PaulT. J. Nichols2:37 1/4
1877Baden-BadenWilliam WalkerEdward D. BrownDaniel Swigert2:38
1876VagrantBobby SwimJames WilliamsWilliam Astor, Jr.2:38 1/4
1875AristidesOliver LewisAnsel WilliamsonHal P. McGrath2:37 3/4