Known in the U.S. as “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports” the Kentucky Derby is a race for 3-year-old Thoroughbreds. The race is one and a quarter miles long at the track Churchill Downs and is the first leg of the US Triple Crown, followed by the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes, and has been run every consecutive year since 1875.
Held annually in Louisville, Kentucky on the first Saturday in May, it can be a volatile time in terms of weather. Rain can cause big problems with track conditions at Derby post time.
Some heavy rain fell last year, with an amount of 0.87 inches reported across the Louisville area. It made for a sloppy track as Orb came in first place with Golden Soul taking second place. Two years ago, early thunderstorms rolled over Churchill Downs, canceling the morning workout and the track condition was called “Sloppy.” By the 6:24 p.m. EDT post though, track conditions improved.
This year will be the third Derby since a tornado touched down and damaged 5 barns at Churchill Downs. It was ranked as an EF-1 tornado, but fortunately harmed neither human or horse. That twister swept through on June 22, 2011, about 6 weeks after the Derby — good thing the race was over!
Here’s a few more Derby weather facts:
- It has been cold enough on a Kentucky Derby Day that sleet fell during the afternoon on May 6, 1989.
- Out of 139 Derbies, 64 have experienced precipitation at some point during the day (46 percent).
- During its long and glorious history, no matter how awful the weather might have been, the Derby has never been cancelled.
Go baby, go! Know Before™.
The WeatherBug – Earth Networks Team