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Deluge to hit Churchill Downs - but sodden Kentucky Derby repeat looks unlikely

Triple Crown hero Justify storms home in the Churchill Downs slop to win the Kentucky Derby in a deluge last May
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A repeat of the deluge that led to the Kentucky Derby being run in apocalyptic conditions is forecast for Churchill Downs today, but conditions should improve before the Breeders’ Cup kicks off on Friday.

Following rain on Saturday, the weather in Louisville was sunny and blustery on Sunday and Monday. Tuesday was warmer and calmer again, with temperatures in the mid to high teens. 

However, most weather forecasting websites appear to be predicting conditions taking a marked turn for the worse on Wednesday.

Thunderstorms are forecast to hit the area on Wednesday morning with persistent rainfall expected to continue thereafter. If the predictions are accurate, at least 80 millimetres – more than three inches – of rain could descend on the region through Wednesday and Thursday. 

The deluge should then clear and Friday and Saturday are both forecast to be largely dry. Friday looks as though it may be quite cloudy but Saturday promises to be a little better, with sunny spells forecast and temperatures set to be around the mid-teens.

When they raced at Churchill Downs on Sunday, the ground on the turf track was officially good and the horses were making a print in the top of the surface, with some riders reporting it was on the slow side.

After two further days of drying, the surface should be close to perfect, but that seems certain to change.

Quite how testing underfoot turf conditions will be for an event promoters like to bill as Flat racing's world championships is impossible to predict, although there is some comfort even at this stage in the expectation that the torrential conditions that marred Derby day in May will not have to be relived.

Roaring Lion on the drift after landing inside draw


If the predictions are accurate, at least 80 millimetres - more than three inches - of rain could descend on the region through Wednesday and Thursday
E.W. Terms