The 139th annual Kentucky Derby will take place on Saturday, May 4, and horse-racing enthusiasts from around the world have descended on Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. for the prestigious race.
The first leg of the Triple Crown is a mile-and-a-quarter test of endurance and speed, and conditions on the dirt track could be difficult. Rain is in the forecast, and CNN Weather Center advises anyone attending to make sure to bring rain gear:
A muddy track will certainly have some bearing on this race, as some horses are better suited for wet racing than others. A slow start is normal under these circumstances, and bigger, stronger horses will have an easier time than the lithe sprinters that have the edge on a dry track.
Here's a look at the schedule for Saturday's big race, courtesy of KentuckyDerby.ag:
|1:19||NBCSN||G3-Twin Spires Sprint||4up||5.0||Turf|
|2:08||NBCSN||G1-Humana Distaff||4up, f&m||7.0||Dirt|
|2:59||NBCSN||G2-Churchill Distaff Turf Mile||4up, f&m||8.0||Turf|
|4:46||NBC||G1-Woodford Turf Classic||4up||9.0||Turf|
Rain at the Derby isn't unprecedented. In fact, it's only been a couple of years since a sloppy track had an impact on this race. Super Saver (2010) and Mine That Bird (2009) both won on wet tracks.
The weather has caused some betting lines to shift. Orb was the betting favorite after the draw (7-2), but this horse has never won on a wet track. Subsequently, Orb has been supplanted by Revolutionary and Goldencents—both of which are being given 5-1 odds to win.
The big shift went to Revolutionary, which opened up as a 10-1 favorite.
This isn't a surprising development, as Revolutionary is a hard-charging, big steed that has the stamina to overcome a sloppy track.
Note: Odds courtesy of kentuckyderby.com as of 1:05 p.m. ET
History in the Making
There are two jockeys in this race attempting to make their mark on the history books.
Kevin Krigger (Goldencents) is only the second African-American to compete in this race since 1921. Should he win, Krigger would be only the second African-American to do so—the first and only since 1902.
Rosie Napravnik will also be attempting to break through with a historic victory. A woman has never before won at the Derby, and Napravnik holds the highest finish in history for a woman—her ninth-place finish in 2011.
She'll be riding atop Mylute starting in the No. 6 post and is being given 13-1 odds to win the race.
Triple Crown Aspirations
Every horse that wins at the Derby is automatically the next Triple Crown hopeful.
This is a feat that is becoming more mythical every year, however, as it hasn't been accomplished in 35 years. Affirmed was the last horse to do it—way back in 1978.
Since then, 12 horses have won the first two legs of the Triple Crown, only to lose at Belmont. I'll Have Another—last year's Derby winner—was the last horse to fall short in the final race.
The horse that wins this year's Derby will be scrutinized to no end as analysts and fans alike attempt to project whether it has the potential to do what no other horse has done in the past few decades.
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