Annually, the first weekend of May calls us all home to Louisville, Kentucky. The finest thoroughbreds, mint juleps, celebrities and horse-racing fans alike head to Churchill Downs® to witness the historic running of the Kentucky Oaks® and Kentucky Derby®. Trying to sum up this year’s racing and fun in just a couple of words is difficult, but here are just a few: rain, laughter and a crowd that is Always Dreaming.
Although Louisville saw historic levels of rain fall and low temperatures for the weekend, patrons heading through the gates of Churchill Downs® weren’t going to let it ruin their fun. Strapped with ponchos and rain boots in hand, thousands headed to the track to start their weekend with The Longines Kentucky Oaks®. The race of the day did not disappoint as the world’s best 3-year old fillies took the stage. With a late rally, Abel Tasman charged by favorite Paradise Woods on the far turn, to claim victory by 1 ¼ lengths on the muddy track.
With all eyes on Derby Day, it’s clear that enough fans had their fingers crossed to will on some sunshine in time for the main race, The Kentucky Derby®.
With the weather in play, post placements assigned and horses heading to the starting gate, this race was viewed as a wide-open field. Fans favorite Always Dreaming, overtaking long-time Classic Empire, as he went into the race as the 9/2 favorite – may we note that the last five Derby winners were favorites heading to the starting gate.
Starting from the No. 5 post, Always Dreaming grabbed the lead down the back straight and never relinquished victory by 2 ¾ lengths over second-place Lookin at Lee and third-place Battle of Midway. The win for Trainer Todd Pletcher and Jockey John Velazquez was the second of their careers as they claimed $1,635,800, with a time of 2:03.59 on a sloppy Churchill Downs® track.
Attend the 2018 Kentucky Derby®
Ready to secure your spot for next May? We are ready for you! Official Ticket Packages for the 2018 Kentucky Derby® have been released and Derby Experience is the only place to get them! Packaging seating options, hospitality locations, accommodations, party access and more… what are you waiting for?!