LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The Latest on the 148th running of the Kentucky Derby (all times EDT):
Spectators are returning big time for the 148th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, which aims for close to full capacity beneath the Twin Spires for the first time since 2019 before the coronavirus pandemic.
Zandon is the 3-1 morning line favorite and will start from the No. 10 post. Epicenter is the 7-2 second choice from the No. 3 post, with Messier the 8-1 third choice from the No. 6 post. He and stablemate Taiba (12-1, No. 12) are being guided by Tim Yakteen, who took over training for suspended Hall of Famer Bob Baffert.
Other familiar sights have returned for the Derby.
After being postponed until Labor Day weekend in 2020 and held without spectators and then run last May with limited capacity, this year’s Run for the Roses is being held without pandemic restrictions. That includes facemasks, which were hard to find as race fans packed the paddock area at the historic track. As usual, women sported big, colorful hats and fascinators while men wore seersucker suits and other creative attire as cigar smoke wafted through the cool air under a cloudy sky.
Kentucky’s trademark bourbon flowed as well, particularly in mint juleps that filled many glasses. Friday’s Kentucky Oaks provided a nice warmup as 100,188 took in the scene of the race for 3-year-old fillies.
At a press briefing Saturday, Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear brushed off a question about former President Donald Trump’s rumored appearance at Churchill Downs, noting that Derby Day is “a day of festivity, where hopefully we put any divisions aside.”
“Hopefully, we focus more on the race in front of us than any races in our future,” Beshear added. “It’s a chance for everybody to see that Kentucky is welcoming to anyone who wants to come to this track, former president included.”
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