The two most exciting minutes of the year happen today.
That's approximately how long it will take a field of 19 three-year-old thoroughbred horses to run a mile and a quarter at Churchill Downs in Kentucky.
California Chrome is the overwhelming (5-2) favorite. He bids to become the first California horse to win since Decidedly in 1962, and would be only the third ever.
Wicked Strong would have been closer in the betting, but he drew the 19th position. Only Big Brown, in 2008, has ever won the Derby from the outside post. A curiosity to watch: next to Wicked Strong will be Ride On Curlin, son of 2007 Horse of the Year Curlin, with Calvin Borel up. The Creative Cajun, who was the winning jockey in 2007, 2009, and 2010 (and the jockey of the superb filly Rachel Alexandra), is legendary for preferring to ride inside, next to the rail. It'll be interesting to see if, and if so how, "Bo'rail" will manage that this year.
[Illustration: Can't post it here, but check out Rick Samuels' magnificent picture for Blood Horse of Orb winning in the mud last year. (At the link, click "Open Photo Viewer" to see it larger.) Orb now stands at stud at Claiborne Farms in Paris, Kentucky, where he will be bred to 105 mares this year, for a fee of $25,000 for a live foal.]
The big show is on NBC, starting at 4 p.m. Eastern Time (ET). Post time is 6:24 ET.
It is, among other things, the easiest major sports event in the world to watch: no special expertise is required to understand a race, and ~two minutes is unlikely to overload even the most challenged attention span.
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