Kentucky Derby, 2014

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It's time to grab your most stylish wide-brimmed hats and hit the stables for the 141st Kentucky Derby!

The annual race is famous for drawing in famous horseracing fans to place top-dollar bets on their favorite thoroughbred race horses. Plenty of stars are expected to make appearances down south today, whether its to cheer on the four-legged contenders or socialize at the galas.

To honor the incredible efforts put into obtaining that trophy and glory, we're giving you a little background on the spectacle of Churchill Down's legendary races.

Kentucky Derby, 2014

AP Images

1. In It to Win It: Every year 20 horses have the once-in-a-lifetime chance to compete in the Kentucky Derby. So, just how does each racehorse and jockey earn that coveted spot? Well, they must travel along the road to the Derby and try their luck in a series of 35 designated races nationwide as well as around the world. The top four finishers in each race move up and the top 20 get to hit the starting gates!

Kentucky Derby, 2014

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2. Lasting Legacy: Churchill Downs is one of the most famous tracks in the world and has conducted races continuously since 1875. The original Kentucky Derby consisted of a 1 1/2 mile track, but the distance was changed in 1896 to 1 1/4 miles. May 17, 1875 was the first time an estimated crowd of 10,000 people showed up to watch 15 3-year-old horses compete.

Kentucky Derby, 2014

AP Images

3.The Winner Is... This year's performance horse front runners are Ocho Ocho Ocho and Carpe Diem. With 50-1 odds, Ocho Ocho Ocho has the opportunity to follow in his sire's footsteps of being another Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner to triumph. Carpe Diem is also the son of an English/Irish champion and is also known as dubbed the Iron Horse. Watch out!

Kentucky Derby, Star Jones, Mary J Blidge, Ginnifer Goodwin, Debra Messing, Miranda Lambert

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4. Party Time: Whether its this year's Hermitage Grand Gala, Barnstable Brown Derby Eve Gala or Unbridled Eve, all of the Derby parties are known for having star-studded guest lists. In years past, stars like Tom Brady, Miranda Lambert and Mary J. Blige have attended the Derby and its festivities.

Kentucky Derby, 2014

AP Images

5. Stop and Smell the Roses: The garland of roses is known as the race's official flower, but served a different purpose originally. First established as a presentation to the fashionable ladies attending the Louisville Derby party, the garland of roses became an instant sensation. Based on their appeal, winning jockeys were presented with a bouquet of 60 long stemmed roses wrapped in ribbon. 

6. The Places to Be: Where do jockeys last "recognize" their horses? And where do owners and their lucky guests watch the race? NBC's Josh Elliott gave E!'s own Alicia Quarles own a behind-the-scenes insiders' tour of Churchill Downs, showing us some of the most exciting areas of Churchill Downs. Watch the video to check out that VIP view!

Watch the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby Saturday at 4 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. PT on NBC, with early coverage beginning at 12 p.m. ET / 9 a.m. PT on NBC Sports Network.

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