And They’re Off
The 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs race track: this equestrian spectacular showcasing the best talent that horse racing has to offer took place in front of a capacity crowd of 158,070 and millions of viewers worldwide as the first race of the highly regarded Triple Crown competition.
The traditional Mint Julep crowd (who braved terrible weather) were not disappointed as the favored horse Always Dreaming guided by veteran jockey John Velasquez and accomplished trainer Todd Pletcher kept the pace with the leaders of the pack among this trophy group of 20 thoroughbreds during the first six furlongs.
Going off at a 9-2 favorite, Always Dreaming broke away from arch rival Irish War Cry, the rest of the group, and persevered through a sloppy track to eventually win by 2 ½ lengths in front of a cheering standing room only crowd and winning an extraordinary purse of $1,240,000. Long shot Lookin at Lee finished in 2nd place, earning a generous $400,000 while Battle of Midway took home a respectable $200,000 for 3rd place.
Locally, the Kentucky Derby was celebrated at Arlington Park race track with a festive atmosphere in front of an estimated 20,000 spectators. Arlington Park was buzzing with excitement as festivities got underway with 9 races scheduled, with the Kentucky Derby standing out as the highlight of the afternoon. Eight remarkable races led up to the simulcast of the Kentucky Derby at about 5:50 P.M. Central time. Everyone in attendance from ladies in elegant dresses and decorated hats to gambling novices drinking Lite beer were on their feet, watching one of the many large T.V. screens strategically positioned throughout the park as the gates opened and the field of 20 horses galloped across the muddy track. Live entertainment, a hat contest, along with food and beverage specials made for a very enjoyable afternoon for thousands of horse racing aficionados on this 2nd day of the new season at magnificent Arlington Park.
With the Kentucky Derby being the first among the three challenging races comprising the Triple Crown, the next scheduled race for these outstanding thoroughbreds is on May 20th at the Pimlico race course in Baltimore for the Preakness Stakes. Always Dreaming is now the even money, odds – on favorite to win, followed by Irish War Cry at 11-2, and Classic Empire predicted as 3rd, at 13 -2. The ultimate contest will be held at the Belmont Stakes, a dramatic mile and a half race course, testing all of the horses and their jockey’s endurance, stamina, and determination.
The sport of kings has clearly kicked off the horse racing season with tremendous excitement that will only increase as the days and weeks go by, leading up to the possibility of a three year old champion capturing a Triple Crown victory.
Good luck wagering!