Rain may hold off at Churchill Downs for Kentucky Derby

May 07, 2011|By Kevin Van Valkenburg

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Bob Baffert joked this week that, if it rained on race day, he was going to instruct his wife, Jill, to go to the betting window and put $500 on Twice the Appeal, just because Calvin Borel was riding him, and over the past few years, no jockey has looked better on a wet and muddy track than Borel. He's won three of the last four Derbys, and two of them (2009 and 2010) came on a track that was less than considered sloppy. Borel -- whose nickname is "Bo-rail" because he likes to hug the rail whenever he gets a chance -- has already seen a ton of early action from betters this year, dropping Twice the Appeal's odds from 30-1 on Wednesday to 7-1 on Saturday.

"He's worth seven or eight lengths if the track is wet," Baffert said.

Baffert may ask his wife to hit the ATM in the next few hours, because it's drizzling at Churchill Downs and according to local weather reports, as much as a quarter inch could fall by Derby post time at 6:24 p.m.

The majority of the rain might pass the track completely, however. Track superintendent Butch Lehr told the Louisville Courier-Journal he wasn't bracing for major rain, and that based on the radar reports he'd looked at, it would be a light shower at most, and that the plan was to not water the track much.

"If we get a little shower, it won't bother us," Lehr told the Courier-Journal.

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