1. Sports

Mercurial feel for Derby

Published May 6, 2017

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The 20-horse field for today's Kentucky Derby lacks a dominant runner. The winter prep races did nothing to establish a clear favorite.

Toss in the threat of rain early in the day, which could soak well-dressed race goers wearing fancy hats, and it all makes for a most unpredictable Derby.

Classic Empire is the 4-1 prerace choice. Always Dreaming and McCraken are the co-second choices at 5-1.

Trainer Todd Pletcher will saddle three horses: 5-1 shot Always Dreaming, 20-1 Tapwrit and 30-1 Patch, the one-eyed horse. Pletcher is 1-for-45 in the Derby.

With no left eye, Patch will see the crowd only as he breaks from the far outside spot in the gate. Jockey Tyler Gaffalione figures to hustle him over to the rail to save ground as the field makes its way to the traffic-choked first turn.

Steve Asmussen also has three runners, and they're all long shots: 15-1 Hence, 20-1 Lookin at Lee, and 30-1 Untrapped. He is winless in 15 tries, the only hole in his Hall of Fame resume.

The rain is predicted to end hours before the race goes off around 6:30. The last Derby run on an off-track was 2013, when Orb splashed home in front.

Baffert's Abel Tasman wins Kentucky Oaks

Left without a horse in the Kentucky Derby, Bob Baffert sought to make the most of his lone entry in the Kentucky Oaks. Abel Tasman rewarded the Hall of Fame trainer with a surprising victory that made Baffert and son Bode strike a pose in celebration.

Abel Tasman rallied from last and charged late to win the Oaks by 11/4 lengths Friday and give Baffert the victory with his lone entrant in the weekend marquee races at Churchill Downs.

As Miss Sky Warrior charged past favorite Paradise Woods through the far turn, Abel Tasman and Daddys Lil Darling also began making their moves on the rain-created sloppy track. Abel Tasman got clear in the stretch to win the $1 million race for 3-year-old fillies and make up for her distant second to Paradise Woods in the Santa Anita Oaks.

Celebratory dabs from the Bafferts soon followed.

"That was just a release," the trainer joked. "We don't dab for every stakes race."


This site no longer supports your current browser. Please use a modern and up-to-date browser version for the best experience.

Chrome Firefox Safari Edge