Kentucky Derby: Rain to favor mudders at Saturday’s ’Run for the Roses’

By Kristina Pydynowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
May 05, 2018, 3:21:17 PM EDT


Rain will continue to dampen Louisville, Kentucky, on Saturday, when more than 100,000 people are expected to be on hand to watch the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby.

After a thunderstorm crossed the area on Friday evening, a wet Derby Day has unfolded with periods of rain expected to keep streaming over Churchill Downs on Saturday.

Officials classified the track as "sloppy" during the middle of Saturday afternoon. With additional rain in the forecast, that is likely to be the track conditions when the jockeys and their horses via for the "Run for the Roses" on Saturday evening. Such conditions will favor horses deemed "mudders."

Kentucky Derby AP

John Velazquez celebrates after riding Always Dreaming to victory in the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby horse race at Churchill Downs Saturday, May 6, 2017, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Garry Jones)


Officials have sealed or packed down the main track.

"That would allow the rain to run off better and not seep deep into the track," AccuWeather Meteorologist Tyler Roys said.

The clouds will act to limit the risk of lightning endangering anyone outdoors at Churchill Downs.

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Spectators will want to be sure to wear waterproof shoes and carry a poncho or umbrella to go along with their fancy hats on Derby Day.

Due to the rain, the day will also be cooler than the last several days. Instead of highs in the 80s, temperatures will be held to the 60s on Saturday afternoon.

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Temperatures will rebound back to the lower 80s on Sunday as some sunshine returns. The weather will be good for anyone heading home through most of the day.

By day's end, a thunderstorm can reduce visibility for motorists and lead to minor flight delays.

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