Kentucky Derby Weather


I have become bleary-eyed looking at the weather maps today trying to fine tune a forecast for the Kentucky Derby. Friday rains muddied up the track for the Oaks and now overnight rains will redampen the track. Still, modern day tracks can be groomed into good racing form as long as downpours don't fall within a few hours of the race.

My gut says trainers will be rather shy to run their colts hard in the morning as the track looks to be damp at sunrise. Temperature near 60 all night long.

During the day, much of the time will be rain rain free so the track surface, though off, should not be terrible for the opening races on the day's card. I expect 2 showers between 9 and 6 on Saturday, with less than a quarter inch of rain to fall. Still, ladies, those bonnets will need protection if you venture out during a shower.

Post time looks hazy and murky with a surpringly good track (not lightning fast) that will be just a bit "off". The temperature at 75 will be fine for humans and equines alike..

As for my promised trifecta, STREET SENSE won the pre-Breeder's Cup and can handle an off track. Coming out of the 7th hole, he won't get caught on the rail. I remember Eddie Arcaro, Hall of Fame jockey, say that at the derby, he would prefer to be anywhere from 3rd to 7th in the post position. Granted that was during an era when 12 was a big field for the derby, not the insane 20 that modern day Derby's tout.

I will add "Storm in May" and "Any Given Saturday" to my Trifecta as i by-pass "Stormello", a colt who can not handle an off track. But for the garland of roses it's gotta be a horse who can handle the confusion of a 20 horse field. Street Sense will show his track sense as he wins in a photo-finish!

Kentucky Derby Weather Update

With showers closeby to Louisville late this week, Derby goers are keeping their eyes on the sky and the weather forecast for the weekend events.

Thursday's Pegasus parade featured cloudy skies but no rain for the estimated 300 thousand who jammed the Broadway to get a close look at grand marshall Mickey Mouse. Evening temperatures in the 60s were a bit cool by Disneyland standards but just right for Mousketeers wearing a light jacket.

Friday's card at Churchill Downs is highlighted by the Kentucky Oaks. With showers in the forecast especially early in the day, it's a toss of the coin for a slow and muddy track. Depends how much rain falls. Temperatures should crest near 72 for the 5PM running of the Oaks which is for 3 year old fillies.

My updated Derby day forecast is a stubborn one. Our computer models say it rains on Saturday in Louisville. I personally believe Northern Kentucky will be south of the rain with hazy skies and late afternoon temperatures near 80 for the playing of My Old Kentucky Home.

I have a weather related Trifecta picked out for you to sip a mint julep over and I will share that with you on Friday.

My Old Kentucky Home

It’s the one week of the year when we can all proclaim to be adopted Kentuckians. After all, who wouldn’t want to be known as a Kentuckian this week leading up the Derby? So this week, I dedicate my blog to My Old Kentucky, the state song of the Bluegrass state penned by Stephen Foster in 1853 and adopted as the state song of the Commonwealth in 1928. Check back all week as I add neat features on the first jewel of the Triple Crown, the 133rd Run for the Roses.

The early call for the Derby is for a lightning fast track with golden sunshine glinting smartly off the Churchill Downs Twin Spires on Saturday. Morning lows in the 50s will be perfect for the sunrise gallop the colts will take. As the infield grows busy with enthusiastic spectators by late morning, temperatures will jump into the 70s. By the first race I expect 80 degrees en route to a high of 85 by 4PM. Now let’s not forget the few hundred thousand fans that will gather on the infield. That means lots of body heat and should translate to a temperature of 90 in the sun.

I will wait for Wednesday’s draw before I tab my Trifecta picks though I must admit two colts, Stormello and Summer Doldrums have caught my “weather savvy” attention.

Rain showers on Wednesday and Thursday for the Pegasus parade will make for an off track for the daily cards at The Downs. Drying winds will arrive in time for The Kentucky Oaks on Friday and pave the way for a 10 star Derby Day.

For now, I defer to Mr. Foster whose famous song will be sung the horse world over on Saturday. Enjoy the derby here on WSAZ-TV with Bob Costas hosting our coverage beginning at 5PM.

My Old Kentucky Home
Words and Music by: Stephen C. Foster

The sun shines bright in the old Kentucky home
'Tis summer, the people are gay;
The corn top's ripe and the meadow's in the bloom,
While the birds make music all the day;
The young folks roll on the little cabin floor,
All merry, all happy, and bright,
By'n by hard times comes a-knocking at the door,
Then my old Kentucky home, good night!
Weep no more, my lady,
Oh weep no more today!
We will sing one song for the old Kentucky home,
For the old Kentucky home far away.

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