Darron Cummings/Associated Press
We’re a day away from the 2020 Kentucky Derby, but that’s nothing compared to the four months horse racing fans have had to wait after this year’s Run for the Roses was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Typically held on the first Saturday in May, this year’s race is being held on the first Saturday in September, marking the first time since 1945 that it’s not taking place in the fifth month of the year.
And although there won’t be fans in attendance at Churchill Downs this year, the race will go on and provide excitement as the chase for the Triple Crown continues.
Another difference with this year’s Derby is that it’s the second event on the Triple Crown schedule. The Belmont Stakes took place in June, with Tiz the Law racing to victory. He’ll now look to win the Kentucky Derby and keep his Triple Crown hopes alive heading into the Preakness Stakes, which is now taking place on the first Saturday in October after also being postponed from May.
Here’s a look at everything you need to know heading into this year’s Derby, including a breakdown of the prize money for the race.
2020 Kentucky Derby Information
Date: Saturday, Sept. 5
Post Time: 7:01 p.m. ET
Prize Money Breakdown
Total Purse: $3 million
Winner: $1.86 million
Latest Race Buzz
Before the post draw for this year’s Kentucky Derby on Tuesday, one of the top contenders dropped out of the race. Art Collector, who was expected to be a strong challenger to Tiz the Law, won’t be racing due to a minor left front heel injury.
However, another horse who may have been a contender has also withdrawn, dropping this year’s field to 17.
On Thursday, King Guillermo was scratched from the Derby due to a fever. The colt is owned by former Major League Baseball player Victor Martinez and was named after his late father. It was going to be the first Kentucky Derby for both Martinez and trainer Juan Carlos Avila.
“To race in a race like the Derby, we need him at 100 percent,” Avila said, according to the Associated Press (h/t ESPN). “We aren’t going to be able to demonstrate how good he is like this. We are going to have plenty of time to show his quality. He’s going to be a great horse, and everybody knows we have to take care of the horse first.”
The news doesn’t change the fact that Tiz the Law is the favorite heading into this year’s Derby, and he’ll be starting in between his likely top two challengers. With the favorite in the No. 17 post, Honor A. P. will be starting at No. 16 and Authentic will be at No. 18.
Honor A. P.’s jockey is two-time Kentucky Derby winner Mike Smith, who will be looking to become the oldest jockey to win the race at 55. He last claimed the championship in 2018, when he rode Justify to all three of his Triple Crown victories.
Authentic is one of two Bob Baffert-trained horses in this year’s race (along with Thousand Words) as the longtime trainer looks to tie Ben Jones’ record for Kentucky Derby wins of six. Baffert has five victories, with his last win coming with Justify in 2018.
Although the Derby is always an illustrious event, the 67-year-old, who has a long history with the race, admitted this year’s leadup is very different.
“It’s one of those things that makes the Derby a great event is when 150,000 people show up,” Baffert said, according to John Cherwa of the Los Angeles Times. “Now, it’s like you’re running on a Wednesday afternoon at Belmont. It’s not the same when you don’t have people watching and cheering you on. That’s what makes the Derby so great. … I think it will be better on television than being HERE.”
Still, there are strong horses in the field, and the race should be an exciting one. And it’s likely all eyes will be on Tiz the Law as he looks to move a step closer to becoming the third horse in six years to claim the Triple Crown and the 14th overall to achieve the feat.