Louisville, Q. ( Associated Press) — The latest in the 148th race of the Kentucky Derby (all time EDT):
Spectators are returning big time for the 148th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, which aims to reach near full capacity at the bottom of Twin Spires for the first time since 2019.
Xandon 3-1 Morning Line is the favorite and will start at 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 directed by Tim Yakatin, who trained for suspended Hall of Famer Bob Baffert.
Other familiar sights have returned for the Derby.
After being postponed to Labor Day weekend in 2020 and held without spectators and then last May with limited capacity, this year’s Run for the Roses is being held without pandemic restrictions. This included facemasks, which were difficult to find as race fans packed the paddock area at the historic track. As usual, women wore large, colorful hats and fascinators, while men wore seersucker suits and other creative attire as cigar smoke was blowing in the cool air under the cloudy sky.
Kentucky’s trademark bourbon also flowed, especially in the mint juleps that filled many glasses. Friday’s Kentucky Oaks provided a good warmup as 100,188 took the 3-year-old Phillies into the race scene.
At a press briefing on Saturday, Democratic Governor Andy Beshear shrugged off a question about former President Donald Trump’s rumored appearance at Churchill Downs, noting that Derby Day is “a day of celebration, where hopefully we Will put any division aside.”
“Hopefully, we focus more on the race in front of us than any race in our future,” Beshear said. “This is a chance for everyone to see that Kentucky is welcoming anyone who wants to come to the track, including former presidents.”
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