Saturday evening, the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby took place at Churchill Downs. The annual Triple Crown race traditionally runs on the first weekend of May, but the COVID-19 pandemic pushed it to September. Ultimately, Authentic raced to the front of the pack and secured the win.
Heading into the main event, Tiz the Law was the favorite in the field of 16 horses, especially after three horses pulled out due to injuries or illness. Art Collector, King Guillermo and Finnick the Fierce all missed the Kentucky Derby for various reasons and limited the number of horses in contention. A win on Saturday would mean that Tiz the Law would move one step closer to winning the Triple Crown, but this did not happen. Authentic delivered the stunning upset and created excitement among racing fans.
AUTHENTIC WINS THE KENTUCKY DERBY!! pic.twitter.com/GRNWjqCo4r— NBC Sports (@NBCSports) September 5, 2020
While he was the favorite, Tiz the Law did not have a guaranteed victory entering the big event. Authentic faced 9-1 odds due to the presence of Hall of Famer Bob Baffert. This is the man that previously trained American Pharaoh and Justify, the last two horses to win the Triple Crown. Authentic overcame the odds and put on a show Saturday night, racing his way to victory.
Additionally, Honor A.P. and trainer John Shirreffs had favorable odds to fight for the win on Saturday evening. The Kentucky native secured the victory during the RUNHAPPY Santa Anita Derby in June and second in the Shared Beliefs Stakes in August. Of the contenders, Honor A.P. had the best odds (8-1) to defeat Tiz the Law.
While the Kentucky Derby is traditionally one of the most-attended races in the Triple Crown, the stands were noticeably empty on Saturday evening. Organizers previously planned on allowing an estimated 23,000 fans for the iconic race but later changed the policy. There was a rising number of coronavirus cases in Kentucky, which prompted a move toward no fans.
"The Kentucky Derby is a time-honored American tradition which has always been about bringing people together," race organizers said in a press release. "However, the health and safety of our team, fans and participants is our highest concern. With the current significant increases in Covid-19 cases in Louisville as well as across the region, we needed to again revisit our planning."
The Kentucky Derby was the second Triple Crown race to run without fans in attendance. The Belmont Stakes — traditionally the final race in the series — took place on June 20 in New York without fans. The Preakness Stakes will tentatively run on Oct. 3 in Maryland. Organizers have not made a decision about allowing fans just yet.