The post positions have been drawn and the morning-line odds have been set for the 2019 Kentucky Derby. But one critical factor for Saturday's race at Churchill Downs remains an unknown: the Kentucky Derby weather. The latest Kentucky Derby forecast varies from meteorologist to meteorologist, but one thing is certain: keeping an eye on the Louisville weather leading up to the race is vitally important before making any 2019 Kentucky Derby picks.
Rain has dampened the Kentucky Derby three straight years, and, according to the National Weather Service, the current forecast for Louisville for Saturday says there's a 50 percent chance of showers with a high of 73. For Friday, the day of the 2019 Kentucky Oaks, the service is calling for a 60 percent of showers with a high 76. Other weather websites aren't so optimistic about Derby Day. Weather.com, for example, is calling for a 90 percent chance of rain on Saturday and a 50 percent chance on Friday.
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Moisture can affect the condition of the track and, thus, help or hinder a horse's chances of winning the race. For example, Omaha Beach, the morning-line favorite for the Kentucky Derby at 4-1, is 2-for-2 on "sloppy" tracks in his career. He's 1-for-2 on dry tracks and 0-for-3 on grass. Meanwhile, Long Range Toddy, who won the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park on March 16 when the track was dry and fast, finished sixth in the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn on April 13 when the track was sloppy. In addition, his sire, Take Charge Indy, is notorious for producing runners who cannot handle wet tracks.
But a little bit of rain does not necessarily mean the track will be sloppy. According to Churchill Downs, even though there has been at least a trace of precipitation for 68 of the 144 Kentucky Derby Days, there has been a "fast" track on 100 occasions.