Projected weather conditions at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, should make for a fast 140th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday.
Nearly 2.5 inches of rain fell earlier in the week and would have made for a sloppy track for second straight year, but warmer and drier conditions over the last few days and on Saturday should continue to dry out the 1 1/4-mile track, according to AccuWeather.com.
The forecast calls for a high of 74 degrees Fahrenheit with humidity registering at 51 percent, and winds reaching 15 mph on Saturday.
During early morning workouts on the day of the race, the 19-thoroughbred field will trot out to temperatures of 49 degrees, but that will rise to 71 degrees and mostly sunny around the 6:24 p.m. post time.
The conditions are expected to be far less sloppy than last year. With rain pouring down before and during the race, the favorite Orb trudged through the muddy track for a time of 2:02.89 and a 2 1/2-length victory.
A drier, more compact track could be another boon for the heavily favored California Chrome, but it also allows for contenders with less experience on dirt tracks to challenge him.
Florida-bred and mostly victorious on synthetic turf tracks, Dance With Fate has only three career starts on dirt tracks but is known for shining in the biggest moments.
Trained by Peter Eurton, Dance With Fate jumped to third on the Derby qualifying leaderboard with his 1 3/4-length victory at the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland last month, and he has three wins and three runner-up finishes in eight starts.
Post Time: Saturday, 6:24 p.m. EST
1. Vicar’s In Trouble
2. Harry’s Holiday
3. Uncle Sigh
5. California Chrome
7. We Miss Artie
8. General A Rod
10. Wildcat Red
11. Hoppertunity (Scratched)
12. Dance With Fate
14. Medal Count
16. Intense Holiday
17. Commanding Curve
18. Candy Boy
19. Ride On Curlin
20. Wicked Strong
Pablo Bel Monte was seen as the most likely replacement for Hoppertunity, but the Florida-bred colt’s connections pulled him out and will instead focus on the Preakness, according to Daily Racing Form.