OUT FROM HIDING
Steady showers for most of the day have finally stopped, bringing many out from under cover and livening up the Derby atmosphere.
Hanging cloud cover didn’t stop many from discarding plastic ponchos and hat covers, which began piling up around the grandstand. Judging from those blowing on their hands, gloves might've been a nice idea as temperatures dropped into the 50s.
Ladies trying to brave the cool temperaturess in sleeveless dresses probably would welcome jackets.
— Gary Graves — http:://twitter.com/GaryBGraves
CHURCHILL DOWNS STAKES
Delaunay, the 9-5 choice, powered to a four-length win in the $443,600 Churchill Downs Stakes for his sixth straight victory.
Rosie Napravnik was aboard as the 6-year-old gelding improved to 4 for 4 here. Long shot Pass the Dice rallied to take second.
Trinniberg, last year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint champion, set the early pace before fading to seventh.
It’s impossible to ignore the rain amid the partying and anticipation at Churchill Downs. As AP photographer David Goldman notes, boxes in the clubhouse considered premier seats on the second level overlooking the straightaway have been deserted during early races because they’re wet. They can fetch about $1,000 per seat.
Others have been using plastic sheets to make tents.
Even in a downpour, Megan Grable and Cindy Brenner of St. Louis stayed perfectly dry and enjoyed a box lunch in their trackside box along the finish line.
— David Goldman
With just under 1 hour before post time, bettors are racking up the wagers but not changing the odds on the Kentucky Derby much.
Revolutionary is still a 5-1 favorite with $24.5 million wagered, according to the Kentucky Derby website. Orb and Goldencents are at 7-1, while the longshot is Falling Sky at 36-1.
— Oskar Garcia — http://twitter.com/oskargarcia
AP correspondent Janet Cappiello’s picks for the Derby are personal — a tribute to her mom who adored the race and never missed a bet, despite living in Connecticut, not Kentucky. Since she always made her bets based on numbers, Cappiello bet a four-horse, $2 exacta box of her mother’s favorite numbers: 3, 8, 7 and 11. That’s Revolutionary, Goldencents, Giant Finish and Lines of Battle. An added connection: Janet’s father lives in St. Croix, home of Goldencents jockey Kevin Krigger.
— Janet Cappiello — http://twitter.com/janetcappiello
CHURCHILL DISTAFF TURF MILE
Stephanie’s Kitten rallied from eighth to edge Hungry Island by a neck in the $288,750 Churchill Distaff Turf Mile.
Julien Leparoux swung the 4-year-old to the far outside with a five-wide move turning for home over the rain-soaked course. She improved to 3 for 3 on the turf here, including the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Fillies.
QUICKQUOTE: RICK PITINO
‘‘You think about it: A state of 3 million people. Last year Kentucky wins the (NCAA basketball) championship, we win it this year, the Derby is part of our fabric and we have a horse in it. It’s really special. ... We have no professional sports, this is it.’’ — Louisville coach Rick Pitino to NBC anchor Bob Costas when asked whether people outside Kentucky can truly understand the influence of basketball and horse racing in Kentucky.
MEET THE HORSE: VERRAZANO
Of all 19 horses in the field, Verrazano is the only one who’s undefeated after winning five races this year.
The horse didn’t run as a 2-year-old, so to keep the unbeaten streak Verrazano will have to buck a trend that’s lasted more than a century: No horse since Apollo in 1882 has won without racing as a juvenile.
Verrazano is named for the bridge that links Brooklyn with Staten Island in New York City.
Verrazano will be ridden by John Velazquez, who broke a rib and wrist in a racing accident nearly a month ago. He hustled back two days ago and rode a handful of races in preparation for the big Derby.
For trainer Kelly Breen, it’s not the Derby Day he was expecting.
Breen was forced to scratch Black Onyx from the Derby on Friday morning when an X-ray showed a chip in his right front ankle. His absence leaves the field at 19 horses.
‘‘Disappointment is probably the best word to describe it,’’ Breen said Saturday morning. ‘‘I thought he had legitimate chance and I was going to bet my money. I was ready to put my money where my mouth was. Now we'll never know.’’
The injury is unlikely to require surgery, Breen said, but the Spiral Stakes winner will need at least 60 to 90 days of time off before returning to training.Continued...