The fastest two minutes in sports will also be the quietest in Kentucky Derby history after Churchill Downs scrapped plans to have 23,000 physically distanced, masked fans at Saturday’s rescheduled Triple Crown race due to the coronavirus pandemic.
It will be the first time spectators will not be allowed to attend the race. That means no iconic scene of thoroughbreds rounding the first turn before packed grandstands beneath the Twin Spires. No sea of women in big, colorful hats or men in bright suits, many sipping mint juleps with Kentucky’s famous bourbon while cheering the Run For The Roses.
But the good news for Derby diehards is there will be a race. Here's everything you need to know about the 146th Kentucky Derby:
More Kentucky Derby Coverage
Horses and Odds
Tiz the Law is favorite and will attempt to become the first winner from the No. 17 post position drawn for Saturday's rescheduled marquee race for 3-year-olds. The best finish in 41 starts from that spot was a second place by Forty Niner in 1988 and two thirds.
All the race favorites will break from the outside at Churchill Downs. Second choice Honor A. P. — at 5-1 odds — drew the No. 16 post on Tuesday. Authentic is the 8-1 third choice from the far No. 18 slot, which last year earned 65-1 long shot Country House the glory when the colt crossed the finish line second before being awarded the victory after Maximum Security was disqualified for interference.
Full field from the rail out with odds:
- Max Player, 30-1
- Enforceable, 30-1
- Storm the Court, 50-1
- Major Fed, 50-1
- Money Moves, 30-1
- South Bend, 50-1
- Mr. Big News, 50-1
- Thousand Words, 15-1
- Necker Island, 50-1
- Sole Volante, 30-1
- Attachment Rate, 50-1
- Winning Impression, 50-1
- Ny Traffic, 20-1
- Honor A. P., 5-1
- Tiz the Law, 3-5
- Authentic, 8-1
What Happened to King Guillermo and Finnick the Fierce?
It's wait ‘til next year for former Major League Baseball catcher Victor Martinez in the Kentucky Derby. The colt he owns named King Guillermo has a fever and was pulled Wednesday from racing on Saturday's Derby.
The colt had been training at Churchill Downs for a month in preparation for the race. Martinez, a five-time All-Star catcher, called his colt's scratch from the race “a sad part about this game.” The colt's trainer said it's possible King Guillermo could return in time for next month's Preakness.
Finnick the Fierce, the one-eyed gelding has an apparent foot issue and was scratched on Friday from the field. He's missing his right eye because of a congenital cataract.
Finnick the Fierce drew the No. 1 post position and was listed at 50-1 on the morning line. His absence means Max Player will break from the inside position. The field will be loaded into posts 2 through 17, with posts 1, 18, 19 and 20 left vacant in the new starting gate, according to Churchill Downs stewards.
What Does the Winning Horse Get?
The purse for the Kentucky Derby is $3 million, with the winner set to pocket $1.86 million.
The second place winner will receive $600,000 and the third place horse will take home $300,000. Fourth- and fifth-placed finisher will each get $150,000 and $90,000 respectively.
The winning horse will also receive the coveted garland of roses. Constructed by Kroger Company since 1987, the garland is made of 400 red roses sewn into a green satin backing.
How to Watch Live Wherever You Are
NBC's coverage on Saturday, Sept. 5, begins at 2:30 p.m. ET. Post time is set for 7:01 p.m. ET. You can watch it all live at home on this NBC station or stream the race live on your desktop, laptop computer or your mobile device by clicking on NBC Live link. All you need is your TV service provider’s username and password.
How to Celebrate at Home
Dress for the occasion! Southern Belles of all ages can try their hand at this DIY paper flower fascinator. You'll need tissue paper, a headband, string or wire and a hot glue gun.
Follow the instructions provided here.
Prepare a Southern Dish
And what's a party without some Southern eats.
Chef James Kent of New York City restaurant Crown Shy, which received a Michelin star this year, shows you how to bring that Bluegrass flavor into your home with a Kentucky Derby shrimp boil. A feast with shrimp, clams, Kentucky ham, potatoes, corn and Kentucky bourbon, is sure to please.
Kentucky Derby Shrimp Boil (Serves 4)
- 12 fresh jumbo shrimp (frozen shrimp will also work)
- 1 pound clams, preferably a small variety like cockles or littlenecks
- 6 ounces dried Kentucky ham (bacon and sausage will also do)
- 1 yellow onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 3 ounces of extra virgin olive oil
- 16 ounces dry white wine
- 4 ounces of your finest Kentucky Bourbon
- 4 ears corn
- 1 pound potatoes, preferably small young potatoes
- 1 bunch parsley
- 1 bunch scallions
- 1 lemon
- Crusty bread. I like a baguette or country-style loaf.
Soak the clams in cold water to remove any sand or sediment. (If you plan ahead, soak the clams overnight in the refrigerator and add salt to the water.) Then prepare the shrimp. If using frozen shrimp, thaw under cold water. If using fresh shrimp, peel and de-vein, if desired. I like to leave the heads and shells on because they add a ton of flavor.
While the seafood is rinsing and thawing, dice the onion and slice the garlic. Then chop the parsley and scallions, and set them aside.
Find a heavy-bottomed pot with a lid that fits properly. The goal is to layer all of the ingredients, so the size of the pot is important. If the pot is too wide, the ingredients won’t cook evenly. Once you’ve identified the perfect pot, place over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add garlic and cook until just brown, about 3 minutes, then add the pork product and slowly render the meat for another 2-3 minutes. Add the diced onion and sweat for 5 minutes or until translucent. Add the bourbon and reduce for about 1 minute then add the wine. Remove from heat.
Set one potato aside then start to layer the ingredients in the pot, starting with the rest of the potatoes. Break the corn cobs in half and layer on top of the potatoes. Then add the shrimp and finish with the clams. Place the last potato on top then cover with a lid.
Cook untouched for about 20 minutes until the potato on the top is tender. While the fish is cooking, toast the bread.
When everything is cooked, pour the contents of the pot into a big serving bowl. Finish with chopped parsley and scallions, and squeeze of lemon.
Make the Classic Mint Julep
No Kentucky Derby party would be complete without the official drink of "the run for the roses" -- the mint julep. Each year, nearly 120,000 mint juleps are sipped, slurped and supped at the Churchill Downs Racetrack in Kentucky.
- 2 oz. bourbon
- 1 cup crushed ice
- 1 oz. simple syrup
- Mint leaves
For utmost authenticity, a silver chalice is what the drink is traditionally served in. But if you don't have one at home, just use a rocks glass or highball.
- Take your crushed ice and fill about halfway up the glass
- Add one ounce of the syrup
- Add 2 ounces of the bourbon
- Give it a light swizzle
- Take the rest of your crushed ice and fill to the top, making a snowcone effect
- Garnish with a sprig of mint
NBC's Maria Chamberlain contributed to this report.