Poll the connections of each Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve starter and you might find some interesting answers to a question about the weather for America’s most famous race.
You might even see a rain dance or two in response.
Based on one rather important horse’s result on a wet track at Churchill Downs, if rain sneaks into the picture, it could have a huge impact on what happens in the Sept. 5 run for the roses.
As much as Tiz the Law looms an odds-on favorite with a mark of six wins in seven starts, highlighted by decisive victories in the Runhappy Travers Stakes and Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets in his last two starts, that lone loss came last year on a sloppy track at, of all places, Churchill Downs.
It happened Nov. 30 when he finished third in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes and it certainly raises questions about what caused it. Was it the track? The sloppy conditions? Racing around two turns for the first time?
But with all four of those wins coming on fast tracks, there’s at least the possibility that the wet track cost him a victory the last time he visited Churchill Downs and adverse weather could impact him once again.
Though Tiz the Law was only beaten by three-quarters-of-a-length, there’s little doubt some raindrops and dark skies will definitely brighten the day for longshot players.
While the long-range weather forecast for Louisville does not include rain, a rogue storm could change the complexion of the race and help several contenders.
For starters, there’s Finnick the Fierce. He closed fast to pass Tiz the Law by a head and finish second in the Kentucky Jockey Club, so he likes Churchill Downs mud. His recent form, however, is suspect as he was a distant third to Art Collector in a Churchill Downs allowance race and most recently seventh in the Toyota Blue Grass.
Enforceable, who was fourth in the Blue Grass, was also fourth in the Kentucky Jockey Club.
Speaking of that Nov. 30 card at Churchill Downs, earlier that day Art Collector, the likely second choice in the Kentucky Derby, prevailed by 7 ½ lengths in an allowance race. Rain would definitely boost his chances in the run for the roses. (UPDATE: Art Collector was withdrawn from the Derby on Sept. 1 with a minor foot issue)
Also that day in rainy Louisville, Necker Island won an allowance race by a nose. Unfortunately, he’s lost his last seven starts since then, so he might need more than some help from Mother Nature.
A couple of the other candidates registered off-track maiden wins. Attachment Rate was a 6 ¼-length winner on a sloppy surface at Gulfstream Park, while Winning Impression prevailed on a sloppy track at Fair Grounds.
And, of course, there’s always the mixed bag of results.
All in all, as formidable as Tiz the Law appears, should some raindrops fall on his head, it could make Kentucky Derby Day an even more interesting wagering proposition.