The 2021 Kentucky Derby is here and the fans, who can this time watch on site, are excited.
However, the historic race on Saturday will provide an opportunity for a few individuals to break barriers and create their own little bit history.
The race is known as “The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports” for its approximate run time. The first Derby was held on May 17, 1875.
Last year, the 146th edition of the race was postponed from May to September 5 and won by Authentic.
This year, a spokesman for Churchill Downs Racetrack told CNN the plan for attendance at the Kentucky Derby is “40-50% reserved seating, 60% in some premium dining areas, 25-30% in Infield. All in around 40,000-50,000.”
This would mean that if the crowd approaches its upper limit, it could become the most attended US sporting event since the Covid-19 pandemic began more than a year ago.
But eyes might be focused elsewhere.
Blazing a trail
There is a long history of African American riders winning the Kentucky Derby.
Black riders saddled 13 of the 15 horses in the first edition of it and won 15 of the first 28 editions of the race.
But in 2021, Kendrick Carmouche is looking to become the first Black jockey to win in over a century.
The rider is also set to become the first Black jockey to saddle a horse at the Derby since Kevin Krigger in 2013 and if he was to win, would be the first Black rider to win since Jimmy Winkfield in 1901 and 1902.
Carmouche will be atop of Bourbonic and will start on the far outside in the No. 20 post position.
And he will not be the only one making history on Saturday.
Trainer Vicki Oliver will make her debut at the Derby and become the first female trainer since 2015, when Carla Gaines saddled Bolo.
A female trainer has never won the iconic race. Oliver will be hoping her horse Hidden Stash can create history.
In this year’s Derby, the favorite Essential Quality will start in the 14th position beside the horse with the next best odds, Rock Your World.
“It got a little nerve wracking with both horses still to go and the rail still being out there,” Essential Quality trainer Brad Cox said. “I think it’ll be a good spot. He’s got good tactical speed that he’ll be able to get into a good position from there.”