Photo finish: Racing through 140 years of the Kentucky Derby

BY Justin Scuiletti  May 2, 2014 at 7:07 PM EDT

Saturday marks the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby. The Derby is a one-and-a-quarter mile stakes race in which three-year-old thoroughbred horses compete and has been held annually since 1875. The race is the first leg of what is known as the U.S. Triple Crown alongside the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes.

Here is a look at the Derby over the years:

A 1901 composite image of Churchhill Downs, where the Kentucky Derby is held each year.

A 1901 composite image of Churchhill Downs, where the Kentucky Derby is held each year.

Racehorse Zev wins the 1923 Kentucky Derby with Martingale second and Vigil third.  Photo by NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

Racehorse Zev wins the 1923 Kentucky Derby with Martingale second and Vigil third. Photo by NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

Horses leave the starting gate at the 1939 Kentucky Derby. From left are: T.M. Dorsett (10); Challedon (9); Technician (8); Johnstown (6); On Location (5); Viscounty (4); Heather Broom (3) and El Chico (2).  Photo by Charles Hoff/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

Horses leave the starting gate at the 1939 Kentucky Derby. From left are: T.M. Dorsett (10); Challedon (9); Technician (8); Johnstown (6); On Location (5); Viscounty (4); Heather Broom (3) and El Chico (2). Photo by Charles Hoff/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

Officials tallying bets made on the 1945 Kentucky Derby. (Photo by Ed Clark//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

Officials tallying bets made on the 1945 Kentucky Derby. $184.6 million was wagered on the 2014 Kentucky Derby. Photo by Ed Clark/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

Trainer Meshach Tenny bedding down with his horse Swaps during the days prior to the 1955 Kentucky Derby. Photo by John Dominis//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

Trainer Meshach Tenny bedding down with his horse Swaps during the days prior to the 1955 Kentucky Derby. Photo by John Dominis//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

Ron Turcotte in action aboard Secretariat during the 1973 Kentucky Derby.  Secretariat won the Derby and set a speed record that stands to this day. Secretariat would go on to become the ninth horse to win the Triple Crown and the first  in 25 years. Photo by Jerry Cooke/Sports Illustrated/Getty Images

Ron Turcotte in action aboard Secretariat during the 1973 Kentucky Derby. Secretariat won the Derby and set a speed records that stands to this day. Secretariat would go on to become the ninth horse to win the Triple Crown and the first in 25 years. Photo by Jerry Cooke/Sports Illustrated/Getty Images

Jockey Steve Cauthen rode Affirmed to a 1978 Kentucky Derby victory. Affirmed is the last racehorse to win the Triple Crown. Photo by Jerry Cooke/Sports Illustrated/Getty Images

Jockey Steve Cauthen rode Affirmed to a 1978 Kentucky Derby victory. Affirmed is the last racehorse to win the Triple Crown. Photo by Jerry Cooke/Sports Illustrated/Getty Images

Race horse Thunder Gulch poses for pictures as he stands in the winner''s circle following his victory in the 1995 Kentucky Derby. Photo by Getty Images

Race horse Thunder Gulch poses for pictures as he stands in the winner’s circle following his victory in the 1995 Kentucky Derby. Since 1883, a blanket of 554 red roses has been awarded to the winning horse each year. Photo by Getty Images

Owner D. Wayne Lukas holds the winning trophy after his horse, Thunder Gulch, won the 1995 Kentucky Derby. Lukas's horses have won the Kentucky Derby four times. Photo by Doug Pensinger

Owner D. Wayne Lukas holds the winning trophy after his horse, Thunder Gulch, won the 1995 Kentucky Derby. Lukas’s horses have won the Kentucky Derby four times. Photo by Doug Pensinger

Jockey Chris Antley, on the right, aboard Kentucky Derby winner Charismatic, crosses the finish line with his finger pointing number one to second place finisher Menifee and jockey Pat Day at the 1999 Kentucky Derby. Photo by Michelle Wilkins/AFP/Getty Images

Jockey Chris Antley, on the right, aboard Kentucky Derby winner Charismatic, crosses the finish line with his finger pointing number one to second place finisher Menifee and jockey Pat Day at the 1999 Kentucky Derby. Photo by Michelle Wilkins/AFP/Getty Images

An interior view of Churchhill Downs during the running of the 2006 Kentucky Derby. Photo by Flickr user Richard Hurt

An interior view of Churchhill Downs during the running of the 2006 Kentucky Derby. Photo by Flickr user Richard Hurt

The entrance to Churchhill Downs, the site of the annual Kentucky Derby, as seen in 2008.  Photo by Wikimedia user Jainrajat11

The entrance to Churchhill Downs, the site of the annual Kentucky Derby, as seen in 2008. Photo by Wikimedia user Jainrajat11

An observer drinks a mint julep during the 137th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 7, 2011.  Each year, around 120,000 mint juleps are served at Churchill Downs over a two-day period.(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) The mint julep has been promoted by Churchill Downs in association with the Kentucky Derby since 1938. Each year almost 120,000 juleps are served at Churchill Downs over the two-day period of the Kentucky Oaks and the Kentucky Derby, virtually all of them in specially made Kentucky Derby collectible glasses.[7]

An observer drinks a mint julep during the 137th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 7, 2011. Each year, around 120,000 mint juleps are served at Churchill Downs over a two-day period. Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Jockey Gary Stevens looks on after a race prior to the 139th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 4, 2013. Stevens, a jockey since 1979, originally retired in 2005 and came out of retirement in 2013. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Jockey Gary Stevens looks on after a race prior to the 139th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 4, 2013. Stevens, a jockey since 1979, originally retired in 2005 and came out of retirement in 2013. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

The field races down the front stretch during the 2013 Kentucky Derby. Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The field races down the front stretch during the 2013 Kentucky Derby. Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Kentucky Derby contender California Chrome works during early morning workouts at Churchill Downs on May 1, 2014. California Chrome is a 5-2 odds favorite to win the 2014 Derby. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Kentucky Derby contender California Chrome works during early morning workouts at Churchill Downs on May 1, 2014. California Chrome is a 5-2 odds favorite to win the 2014 Derby. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images