The Latest: Kentucky Derby Day begins with sunny sky, fans

Kentucky Derby Day has kicked off with near-perfect weather and spectators milling around Churchill Downs again after not being allowed for last fall’s delayed race because of the coronavirus pandemic

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12:30 p.m.

Unbeaten Essential Quality is the 2-1 morning line favorite for Saturday’s 147th Run for the Roses featuring 19 horses. Post time is set for 6:57 p.m. Eastern for the 12th of 14 races, with more than 45,000 fans expected beneath the Twin Spires, or 100,000 less than usual. That’s still a big improvement from last year’s Derby, run on Labor Day weekend in virtual silence and out of sequence as the Triple Crown’s second jewel instead of its first. It was moved from the first Saturday in May for the first time in 75 years.

Essential Quality is last year’s 2-year-old champion trained by Louisville-born Brad Cox, who would make Derby history as the first native son to win. The other top contenders are Rock Your World (5-1), Known Agenda (6-1) and Hot Rod Charlie (8-1).

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