Rain arrives for start of Kentucky Derby weekend

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That follows on a third-place finish in the Blue Grass Stakes in Lexington on April 8, well after his three wins at Churchill Downs as a 2-year-old.

"That's when you know you've been in this game a long time", the 64-year-old Hall of Famer said. He retired in 1998 with 842 career victories in 20 years of riding.

Personally, I'm not so sure about that.

Then he and Adventure De Kannan - less than a year after having the eye removed - claimed the title for the first time. We have a group of 12.

Trainer Bob Baffert, wife Jill, and son Bode (bottom left) celebrate after American Pharoah won the 2015 Belmont Stakes in Elmont, N.Y., to become the 12th Triple Crown victor in thoroughbred racing history.

Gaffalione was active on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, riding the Maker-trained Fast and Accurate to victory in the $500,000 Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park and guiding Patch to a second-place finish in the $1 million Louisiana Derby.

Nearly from the start a year ago, Patch coped nearly seamlessly, even as Pletcher still whistles at him from behind to avoid scaring him.

"It's a dream come true".

"The Derby is the goal for many of our young horses. It's an incredible opportunity".

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Patrick Costello, the Managing Officer of Paramount Sales in Lexington, says two of this year's Derby contenders Untrapped and Gormley went through Paramount Sales consignment in a pin-hooking operation in last year's September sale. "Now we get the chance, if Always Dreaming wants to go, we'll lay on top of him".

Though day-of general admission prices (which get you into the infield) remained steady for years, they've doubled since 2011. "He's pretty cool", Gaffalione said. "I wanted him ready for all three races".

A horse's post position is more important in the Kentucky Derby than any other race because of the massive 20-horse field. Jockey Jose Ortiz, who has been aboard for Tapwrit's last three races, will guide the Tapit colt.

"The horse was a little green". That could be a problem, especially going into the first turn, where positioning is all-important. "He handled it very well", Gaffalione said. "It's an intriguing story and he's a really, really cool horse to be around".

Don't think it doesn't bother him. Starting from post position #14 should give Classic Empire plenty of options to work out a good trip, and I believe he'll be tough to beat. "I imagine we've fed hundreds and hundreds of people".

"I think we're up where we want to be", Pletcher said. "With a little bit of luck, who knows?"

Trained by Todd Pletcher, Always Dreaming drew the No. 5 post, which has produced nine Derby winners, most recently California Chrome in 2014. 30-1), Always Dreaming (John Velazquez 5-1), State of Honor (Jose Lezcano 30-1), Girvin (Mike Smith 15-1), Hence (Florent Geroux 15-1), Irap (Mario Gutierrez 20-1), Gunnevera (Javier Castellano 15-1), Battle of Midway (Flavien Prat 30-1), Sonneteer (Kent Desormeaux 50-1), J Boys Echo (Luis Saez 20-1), Classic Empire (Julien Leparoux 4-1), McCraken (Brian Hernandez, Jr.

Yet, the reason this is being called anyone's race is there are several horses in the field that have a legitimate shot to win, and that's what Steadman is going to wrestle with until NBC escorts him and the briefcase full of money to the betting window Saturday. Thunder Snow, with current odds of 16-1, is said to be in peak form for the 2017 Kentucky Derby, as reported by The Telegraph.

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