The Kentucky Derby presents one of the year's most fascinating sporting events. This year's Run for the Roses should provide two thrilling minutes of television, as long as Mother Nature cooperates.
In the 140th running at Churchill Downs, California Chrome looks to cap off an incredible rags-to-riches story. Danza and Wicked Strong are just two competitors with intriguing backgrounds of their own who could challenge the favorite in Louisville.
Before walking over to the green screen for Saturday's weather report, let's take a look at the Kentucky Derby's updated field.
|2||Vicar's In Trouble||Rosie Napravnik|
|3||Harry's Holiday||Corey Lanerie|
|4||Uncle Sigh||Irad Ortiz Jr.|
|6||California Chrome||Victor Espinoza|
|8||We Miss Artie||Javier Castellano|
|9||General A Rod||Joel Rosario|
|10||Vinceremos||Joe Rocco Jr.|
|11||Wildcat Red||Luis Saez|
|12||Dance With Fate||Corey Nakatani|
|14||Medal Count||Robby Albarado|
|15||Tapiture||Ricardo Santana Jr.|
|16||Intense Holiday||John Velazquez|
|17||Commanding Curve||Shaun Bridgmohan|
|18||Candy Boy||Gary Stevens|
|19||Ride On Curlin||Calvin Borel|
|20||Wicked Strong||Rajiv Maragh|
For an outdoor event that can get muddled by poor conditions, nobody wants Tom Tucker to cut to Ollie Williams shouting, "It's gonna rain!" Luckily, that doesn't appear to be the case on Saturday.
According to The Weather Channel (as of Friday night), it's going to be partly cloudy in Louisville with a high of 74 degrees and a low of 52. If all pans out according to plan, those in attendance should enjoy a pleasant day at the track.
The Weather Channel's Stephanie Abrams dared to use a bolder adjective starting with "p," calling the expected weather "perfect."
From 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET, during which the Kentucky Derby will take place, a temperature of 72 degrees is anticipated with 36 percent humidity and a zero percent chance of precipitation. Take that, Ollie.
Meteorologists don't have a perfect track record, but everyone should feel relatively safe about the report bearing true this close to the event.
Otherwise, we'd have to break down which colts are most and least equipped to handle wet conditions on a slippery course. That sounds like a whole ordeal, so good thing it's not necessary with a clear forecast on the docket.
As long as Brick Tamland isn't working for The Weather Channel, there's no reason to anticipate Mother Nature spoiling Saturday's festivities.
The weather looks dandy, but the mood was somewhat dampened when a top contender removed its hat from the ring of fans unironically wearing comically large hats.
As the second-biggest favorite behind California Chrome, Hoppertunity had a golden opportunity to garner a top finish at Churchill Downs. However, he won't get the chance, as The Blood-Horse's Esther Marr reported he will not compete due to an injury.
While jockey Mike Smith won't get the chance to claim his first Kentucky Derby victory, he realizes the horse's health takes paramount concern.
Mike Smith, asked on NBCSports broadcast about Hoppertunity: "At this point in my career, the most important thing is the horse's safety."— Matt Hegarty (@DRFHegarty) May 2, 2014
Besides, the Derby had a replacement ready in Pablo Del Monte, a major long shot with a chance to pull off a major stunner. There's nothing cooler than seeing an underdog defy the odds.
What's that? He was scratched too on Friday, forcing the field to fiddle down from 20 to 19? That's what the Kentucky Derby's official Twitter page is saying.
BREAKING NEWS: AE #21 Pablo Del Monte scratches from #KyDerby. Field of 19 set for Saturday's 140th running.— Kentucky Derby (@KentuckyDerby) May 2, 2014
This creates a ripple-down effect that affects more than half the competitors. Every horse with a post position from No. 1-10 will mosey down a spot, vacating the first post. Hoppertunity was originally slotted at the No. 11 post.
Since 1930, the 10th spot has ushered in the most winners (nine). Vinceremos, a 50-1 long shot as of Friday night, via Oddsshark, moves to the winning number. Past post position, however, is mostly a matter of coincidence since it doesn't take this specific field into account, so forget I said anything.