It appears as though the Kentucky Derby could once again be raced in sloppy conditions.
While things can change before Saturday, there will be a lot of rain around Churchill Downs throughout the week leading up to the prestigious race. The good news is that things are likely to clear up by the time the horses are set to post.
As Mark Ennis of ESPN 680 notes, there were already wet conditions on the track on Monday:
It wouldn't be Kentucky Derby week without a boat load of rain early in the week.— Mark Ennis (@MarkEnnis) April 28, 2014
Of course, this did not stop some of the more dedicated derby hopefuls from training anyway. Here is a look at Tapiture in the rain on Monday, courtesy of Lone Star Park:
John Belksi of WLKY notes that the rain will continue into Tuesday and Wednesday while making conditions sloppy all around. However, Oaks Day on Friday is likely to feature much more sun than earlier in the week.
Mark Boxley of The Courier-Journal provided some positive news for the weekend:
With the Kentucky Derby coming up Saturday, Louisville is looking at a soggy week ahead, but while weekend temperatures will be cooler than normal it is unlikely Derby Day will see rain, the National Weather Service said. [...]
Derby Day should be mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of rain and a high of about 59 degrees, the weather service said. Saturday's low is forecast to drop to about 43 degrees.
In three out of the last five years, the Kentucky Derby has been raced on a sloppy track, according to the NOAA. Therefore, everyone should be ready for another wet day if conditions force it.
Of course, the weather is certain to affect the outcome of the race with the horses needing different game plans to succeed. The more experienced thoroughbreds are often the ones who fare best in difficult conditions, so this is something to look for going forward.
Here is a look at the current odds for each entry in the competition.
|Dance With Fate||20-1|
|Ride On Curlin||20-1|
|Vicar's In Trouble||20-1|
|General a Rod||33-1|
|We Miss Artie||40-1|
|Pablo Del Monte||50-1|
The first name that stands out is California Chrome, which comes in as the heavy favorite. The thoroughbred has won four races in a row, including all three starts in 2014. Most impressive was his recent win at the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby.
However, the favorite will get a challenge from a number of other competitors, including Wicked Strong. The horse received his name two weeks after the Boston Marathon bombings and has taken on the city's spirit to persevere. Owner Don Little Jr. explained, via Anthony Gulizia of the Boston Globe:
Like the city of Boston and like his name, you look back, and it looked like we had a superstar at the end of his two years, and the wind kind of went out of your sails [with the Holy Bull]. But with his determination, his attitude, and his development, he fought back to be on top, and he’s right on top.
Wicked Strong's recent win at Wood Memorial proved he has the talent necessary to win at Churchill Downs.
Danza, Samraat and Bob Baffert's Hoppertunity all possess strong chances of a good finish at the Kentucky Derby as well. They each have the speed and experience necessary to end in front in the prestigious race.
Then again, the rain can end up throwing everyone off and allow a sleeper to come out of nowhere and finish in the winner's circle.
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