Secretariat Wins 1st Virtual Kentucky Derby
The COVID-19 pandemic has canceled most professional sports across the globe, and horse racing is no exception. One of the biggest sporting events of the Spring, the Kentucky Derby, was postponed to September 5.
The Triple Crown Race was originally to be held on Saturday, May 4, at Churchill Downs for the 146th time. While the Triple Crown races are all postponed until the fall, live racing is expected to resume on May 16.
Since there are currently no live sports to watch on TV, many networks have broadcasted simulated games, and horse racing has followed suit.
In a three hour broadcast, NBC aired a computer-generated simulation of a Kentucky Derby between all 13 prior Triple Crown Winners. Multiple events came before the simulated horse race such as Churchill Downs bugler, Steve Buttleman playing “Call to the Post” and a cameo by 2015 Triple Crown Winner, American Pharoah.
Legendary trainer, Bob Baffert also made an appearance from his home in California. Baffert, trainer of the previous two Triple Crown winners, Justify and American Pharoah, said in an interview, “It’s weird not being there (Churchill Downs).”
Though there was no betting on the race, as it was a simulation, Secretariat went into the race as a 7-2 favorite. Larry Collmus called the race, as he calls all the Triple Crown events. Secretariat won the simulated race by passing Citation and Seattle Slew on the home stretch who each placed and showed respectively.
Other notable horses were the two most recent Triple Crown winners, Justify and American Pharoah. American Pharoah who won the Triple Crown in 2015 placed 5th and Justify who won the Triple Crown in 2018 finished 8th.
Churchill Downs also announced that they would match fan donations up to $1,000,000.
It’s unfortunate that we were unable to watch the 146th Derby on Saturday, but it was nice to see the simulated race and hear the race will be postponed instead of canceled.
Pierson Scheinberg is a student who lives in California, and attends the College Preparatory School. Pierson lived in Baltimore, Maryland until August 2017 when he moved to the Bay Area. Pierson is an avid golfer who enjoys watching all sports. He is a writer and sports analyst for At the Buzzer.