The Latest on Saturday’s 144th running of the Kentucky Derby (all times local):
Kentucky Derby day got off to a drizzly start for the second year in a row, with spitting rain and the forecast predicting downpours to last all day.
Women traded heels for galoshes and wore ponchos over their dresses. Some in the infield constructed elaborate tents out of tarps to try to stay dry and avoid the forming mud puddles. The weather for some was a disappointing twist after forecasters had for a week been promising perfect weather on Derby Day. It had been sunny and warm leading up to Saturday with temps in the 80s.
Amanda Phillips and Sarah Hoffman bought their mother infield tickets for Christmas, and the trio traveled from Orlando. They’d had their outfits meticulously planned for their first Derby, but eyed the sky Saturday morning, scrapped their dresses and made a last minute run to the store for ponchos and rain boots.
“We don’t mind a little rain, we adapted,” Phillips said, as they stood under an overhang at a wagering window to try to stay out of the rain. “Our hair looked great like two hours ago.”
Steve Asmussen has earned his 8,000th career victory on Kentucky Derby day.
The 52-year-old trainer saddled Lookin At Lee to a 2 1/4-length win in the third race at Churchill Downs on Saturday.
Asmussen is second to the late Dale Baird in career wins among trainers. Baird notched 9,445 over 46 years.
A year ago, Lookin At Lee finished second in the Derby to Always Dreaming by 2 3/4 lengths.
Asmussen has a chance to win his first Derby later Saturday with 76-1 shot Combatant.
He could add to his total with 16 scheduled starters on the day, six at Churchill and 10 at Lone Star Park in Texas.
Bob Baffert is seeking a fifth victory in the Kentucky Derby and he’s got the favorite, too.
Justify is the early 7-2 favorite for Saturday’s 144th Run for the Roses that features a full field of 20 colts. Baffert trains Justify, who has just three starts, and longshot Solomini.
Justify, along with undefeated Magnum Moon, didn’t race as 2-year-olds. They’ll be trying to disprove an old jinx: No horse since Apollo in 1882 has won without racing as a juvenile.
Todd Pletcher will saddle four horses: Audible, the co-third choice at 6-1, along with longshots Magnum Moon, Vino Rosso and Noble Indy.
History would be written if Ireland-based Mendelssohn pulls off a victory. No European colt has ever won the Derby.
The forecast calls for a chance of rain at various times Saturday. Post time is 6:46 p.m. ET.