As the horses and jockeys prepared to race around the Churchill Downs Racetrack Saturday, the Kentucky Derby start time was delayed. The Louisville track was drenched in rain before the post time of 6:34 p.m. ET, but it stopped before the race was set to kick off and didn't effect the event. Because the post time only refers to when the horses have to be at the gate, the race never actually starts at that time. So, the racers actually took off at 6:49 p.m., which isn't very unusual.
Despite it raining at least a little bit at 65 of the past Kentucky Derbies, not a single one has been canceled, postponed, or delayed because of the weather, so a short downpour wasn't about to push back Saturday's start time. Even when 2.31 inches of rain fell on the track during the wettest Derby day in history in 1918, the competition went on as planned.
Because the highly anticipated event only lasts a few minutes, Nyquist was named the winner before 7 p.m. Nyquist was a top pick for most experts and had the best odds the morning of the Derby, but wasn't a stand-out pick to beat out the other 19 horses.
The gates opened at Churchill Downs at 8 a.m., and attendees spent all day betting on horses, downing mint juleps and socializing with other well-dressed horse race enthusiasts. Because the whole day was a huge build-up to the two-minute race, waiting a few extra minutes probably felt like nothing. What's 10 more minutes when you've already invested more than 10 hours at the track? Once the horses sprinted out of the gate, no one's mind was on the short delay any way.
Unfortunately, America will have to wait an entire year to experience the Kentucky Derby madness again, but those who bet on Nyquist can spend all year basking in their victory.