Saturday, May 04, 2002

Derby day arrives

No Louisville sluggards

By Neil Schmidt,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Click to view
Derby field details

(224K Acrobat PDF file)
Click to view zoomable map
(20K Acrobat PDF file)
        LOUISVILLE — Take Churchill Downs' 147 acres and tightly pack them with 150,000-plus people. Tight security. Race-day nerves.

        All that's left vacant is the race track — and the wide-open Kentucky Derby to be run there.

        Featuring a notably balanced cast of 19 thoroughbreds, the 128th running of the race will be marked today by a new era in security and a closing chapter in Churchill history.

        With a $127 million renovation to begin Sunday, Churchill will increase its police presence and restrict previously allowable items like coolers, bottled water and sunscreen in the first Derby since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

        Harlan's Holiday is the lukewarm favorite for the 1 1/4-mile race; his 9-2 morning-line odds are the longest for a favorite in Derby history. Born in Medina, he attempts to become the first Ohio-bred horse to win the race since 1909.

        Race fans seemed to adapt quickly to the new security guidelines Friday on Kentucky Oaks Day, which drew a crowd of 101,923. “There were no significant issues security-wise,” Churchill president Alex Waldrop said. “People came fully prepared.”

        Jerry and Feye Bach of Indian Hill, who own Take Charge Lady, had disappointment when their favored filly finished second in the Oaks to long shot Farda Amiga.

        A long shot could just as easily win today. For revelers at this rite of spring, on an expected 70-degree, sunny day, knowing who'll win isn't necessarily what matters.

        “It's about the event,” said two-time Derby-winning trainer Bob Baffert. “It's like going to an Eagles concert: It's the same every time, but it's great.”

        Derby wagers will be accepted at River Downs and Turfway Park.


Sports Stories
SULLIVAN: From Buddha to Burner
Surprise expected today
2nd choice is a late scratch
A dream called the Derby
- Derby day arrives
Local jockey gets a surprise Oaks gig
Locals saddle up for Derby day fun
McGaughey back to Derby with 'right horse'
More than just a race
Oaks: Farda Amiga full of kick at the finish
Security measures don't bother Derby fans
Kentucky Derby facts and figures
Bogans back to UK, but not Carruth
Boston blows out Philly, will face Detroit
Duncan returns, San Antonio advances
Mavericks, Kings set to light up scoreboard
Canada's McDonald stars at World Championships
Carolina shuts out Montreal
Choi leads by 1 in New Orleans
Flying Pig event schedule
Notre Dame players accused in rape being expelled
Some aim to finish, others aim to finish fast
Tyson admits biting Lewis
Ward Burton wins pole for Pontiac 400
Coming up this week

Giants 6, Reds 1
Reds box, runs
Reds notes: Pineda was too pumped to pitch
Struggling offense doesn't keep Reds from win column
Cameron's big night marked by class
Under Hurdle, Rockies' road has become suddenly smooth
MLB: Cardinals to start another rookie pitcher
AL roundup
NL Roundup
Notes from Friday's games
Rackers faces winds of change
Bengals notes: Annual quarterback battle begins
49ers' Owens scores seven points in USBL debut
NFL notebook
Ohio prep roundup
Kentucky prep roundup
Tristate high school results
Baseball tournament schedule
Softball tournament schedule