It's known as the most exciting two minutes in sports. And although it's taking place in September and there won't be fans packed into the stands at Churchill Downs, the 2020 Kentucky Derby should still bring the excitement that people have come to expect.
Horse racing is always thrilling to watch when a Triple Crown bid is in play, and that's the case heading into this year's Derby. Typically the race that precedes the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes, the order has been changed this year because of postponements caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The Belmont took place in June, followed by the Kentucky Derby on Saturday and the Preakness on Oct. 3.
Tiz the Law won the Belmont Stakes and is now looking to become the 14th horse to capture the Triple Crown. He'd be the only one to do so in this order, however.
This year's Kentucky Derby is the first to not take place in May since 1945. Here's everything you need to know heading into Saturday's race.
2020 Kentucky Derby Information
Date: Saturday, Sept. 5
Post Time: 7:01 p.m. ET
Live Stream: NBC Sports Live
Prize Money Breakdown
Total Purse: $3 million
Winner: $1.86 million
Tiz the Law has been impressive every time he's raced. He's won six of his seven career starts, including all four races he's competed in during 2020. And his victory at the Belmont wasn't the last time that the colt competed.
In a tune-up for the Kentucky Derby, Tiz the Law competed in the Travers Stakes in August, adding another impressive victory to his stats. It's not common for a horse to take part in a 1¼-mile race less than a month before the Derby, which is also 1¼ miles. But that's what Tiz the Law did, and it only made him more of a favorite for Saturday.
It could lead to Sackatoga Stable, which owns Tiz the Law, winning the Kentucky Derby for the second time. It also won with Funny Cide in 2003.
"It's a little daunting being a 3-5 morning line favorite in the Kentucky Derby, but I think he's earned it," said Jack Knowlton of Sackatoga Stable, according to John Cherwa of the Los Angeles Times. "You talk about the Triple Crown, should he go on and win these next two races. I look at it as the quadruple crown, and only one horse has done that and it was Whirlaway [in 1941]."
Knowlton may be a former Derby-winning owner, but some of the other top contenders in Saturday's race also have experience on its side.
Honor A. P. is likely to be one of the top challengers to Tiz the Law after finishing either first or second in each of his first five career races. And he'll be ridden by jockey Mike Smith, a two-time Kentucky Derby winner. Smith, who is looking to become the oldest jockey to win the race at 55, last won in 2018, when he rode Justify to the Triple Crown.
In June, Honor A. P. won the Santa Anita Derby. But he finished second in the San Felipe Stakes in March and the Shared Belief Stakes last month, each time losing to a Bob Baffert-trained horse (Authentic and Thousand Words, respectively). And both of those horses will also be in the Derby field.
Baffert has won the Kentucky Derby five times, one shy of the record held by Ben Jones. He's got two horses in the field this year that could be legitimate contenders, and either one could challenge Tiz the Law and/or Honor A. P. for the victory.
As a longtime competitor at the Derby, Baffert hasn't yet experienced one quite like this one, coming four months later than scheduled and being held without fans.
"It's going to be weird," Baffert said, according to Beth Harris of the Associated Press.
But it's still going to be the Kentucky Derby. And while it wouldn't be surprising to see Tiz the Law wait to make his move and then surge ahead for the victory, like he so often has done, anything can happen at the Derby, which history has proved.