If you’ve ever had mud splashed on your windshield, you know annoying it can be.
Jockeys face the same challenge on a sloppy track like at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby day. And they don’t have the advantage of flicking on the wipers.
Mud is constantly kicked back into the faces of horses and riders when rain turns the dirt surface into a substance similar to pudding.
It’s hard enough for a jockey to maintain balance on a 1,000-pound thoroughbred under ideal conditions. Riding while blinded by a coat of slop is nearly impossible.
Jockeys compensate by wearing multiple sets of goggles. When one pair gets dirtied, the rider pulls it down around his neck. The process is repeated throughout the race to keep the mud at bay.
Celebrity chef Bobby Flay has cooked up a winner on Kentucky Derby day.
His 3-year-old colt Caviar Czar won his first race on the undercard. It came on the third try for the Ireland-bred horse.
It was a satisfying victory for Flay as he was also the breeder. John Velazquez was aboard as Caviar Czar paid $8.20 to win.
The timing was perfect since Flay was already at Churchill Downs for a cooking segment on NBC’s Derby telecast.
The chef known for “Iron Chef America,” regular TV appearances and several restaurants is a longtime owner and breeder who has had success in the Breeders’ Cup world championships.
The Churchill Downs bugler is playing hurt on Kentucky Derby day.
Steve Buttleman walked into a riser near the stage at the post-position draw on Wednesday and hit a shin, rupturing the quadriceps tendon in his left leg.
As a result, he’ll be wearing a bulky brace over his white pants while he plays “Call to the Post'” at his 22nd Derby on Saturday.
He’s set to have surgery on Tuesday.
Always Dreaming is the favorite in early wagering on the Kentucky Derby.
The Florida Derby winner is at 4-1 odds.
Classic Empire, the 4-1 morning-line favorite, hasn’t generated much support yet. His odds have drifted up to 7-1.
The late-running Gunnevera is taking action. After opening at 15-1 on the morning line, his price is now 9-1.
The sentimental choice is Patch, the one-eyed colt. His story has captivated many fans and apparently their wallets, too. Listed at 30-1 from the outside post in the 20-horse field, Patch is 15-1.
The odds will fluctuate throughout the day as money pours in from fans at Churchill Downs and those wagering online and at simulcast locations.
Three races are in the books leading up to the Kentucky Derby, where cold and wet weather has forced spectators to bundle up and use colorful hats for function rather than fashion at Churchill Downs.
A third straight day of rain has dampened fans gathered Saturday under the Twin Spires in 48-degree weather. Track conditions are rated sloppy for horses slogging through the mud in a light but steady drizzle.
The weather is forecast to improve by the time the Derby is run around 6:46 p.m. Eastern time. Always Dreaming is the 4-1 favorite in early wagering.
Some women are covering their elaborate hats in plastic and wearing rubber boots to protect against the soggy weather.