The 140th running of the Kentucky Derby takes place Saturday from Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, with a $2 million purse up for grabs.
For the second year thoroughbreds could only qualify by earning enough points during the Derby Prep Season and Championship Series between September and April. A winner in one of the Prep races earned 10 points, and in the Championship 50 points.
California Chrome came in first atop the qualifying leaderboard with 150 points, followed by Vicars In Trouble with 120 points, Dance With Fate with 108 points, Wicked Strong with 102 points and Samraat and Danza each earned 100 points. Samaraat finished fifth with his better performance in the Prep races acting as a tiebreaker with Danza.
Owned by 77-year-old Art Sherman and winning four stakes races by a combined 25 lengths, California Chrome is the clear cut favorite to win at Churchill Downs. His biggest victories include the Santa Anita Derby in April and the San Felipe back in March.
California Chrome would be Sherman’s first win at one of the Triple Crown events, and he’ll send out veteran jockey Victor Espinoza. Originally from Mexico City, Mexico, Espinoza is best known for riding War Emblem to wins at the Derby and Preakness Stakes in 2002.
Orb was last year’s favorite, and he won with a time of 2:02.89 around the 1-1/4-mile dirt track.
For racing fans hoping to watch the Derby in-person, Churchill Downs has an approximate seating capacity of 52,000 and the total capacity can expand to as much as 140,000 with the inclusion of standing-room-only sections like the infield and the Paddock areas.
General admission tickets are still available through the Churchill Downs official website here. The tickets grant the buyer access to all the races leading up to and including the Derby.
Date: Saturday, May 3
Time: 6:24 p.m. EST