139th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs starts at 6:24pm today

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- The 139th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs will have a field of 19 horses breaking from the starting gates at 6:24 p.m. EDT on Saturday.

Just over two minutes later, a winner will emerge and thoroughbred racing will have its newest contender for a Triple Crown. The Preakness follows in two weeks and the Belmont Stakes is June 8. The last horse to sweep all three races was Affirmed in 1978.

Black Onyx was scratched from the race on Friday.

NBC televises the 1 1/4-mile race from 4 p.m.-7 p.m.

Here's a running account of the event and everything going on around it, with journalists from The Associated Press bringing the flavor and details of everything surrounding the race.

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ANTHEM BREAK

Lines at the betting windows at Churchill Downs are filling up as people look to place wagers on the Run to the Roses as well as a slew of earlier races.

The paddock area near the betting windows was a flurry of photos and chatter until the national anthem played over the public address system. Then, people turned toward an American flag flying over the historic racetrack as things grew silent and people stopped sipping beer, champagne and bourbon. A few race goers in bow ties, fancy hats and seersucker suites saluted.

A round of applause broke out at the end of the anthem and a discussion of horses, drinks and dresses resumed.

- Brett Barrouquere - http://twitter.com/BbarrouquereAP

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PLETCHER LIGHT, BUT FOCUSED

The mood around Todd Pletcher's Barn 34 has been light but focused as the trainer prepares to run a record-tying five horses.

After watching his colts stretch their legs in the shedrow this morning, Pletcher sat in his barn office at 7:15 a.m. with father, J.J., and son, Payton.

"All the Derby horses just walked and everybody seems to be in good order," he said.

A win from one of his five - Revolutionary (No. 3), Overanalyze (No. 9), Palace Malice (No. 10), Verrazano (No. 14) and Charming Kitten (No. 15) - would give the 45-year-old conditioner the first sweep of the Derby and the Kentucky Oaks since 1952.

Princess of Sylmar, one of four Pletcher fillies in the race, took the Oaks by a half-length on Friday, paying a whopping $79.60.

The celebration was low key at the hotel.

"We all met in kind of a conference room there and had some pizza, just friends and family," Pletcher said. "Same thing we do every year, win, lose or draw."

Back at the track early as always, Pletcher started his busy Derby day with a ham and Swiss sandwich, topped with a packet of mustard, for breakfast.

"It's what delivered so it's what I'm going to eat," he said.

- Josh Abner - http://twitter.com/joshabner

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THE SETUP

Orb, the Florida Derby winner, is the 7-2 morning-line favorite, with unbeaten Verrazano next at 4-1. Santa Anita Derby winner Goldencents is the third choice at 5-1, and is trained by Doug O'Neill, who won the Derby last year with I'll Have Another.

Trainer Todd Pletcher has a record-tying five horses in the race - Verrazano, Revolutionary, Overanalyze, Palace Malice and Charming Kitten.

D. Wayne Lukas, at 77, could become the oldest trainer to win the race. The four-time Derby winner has two chances in long shots Oxbow and Will Take Charge.

There could be some jockey history, too: Kevin Krigger, who rides Goldencents, would be the first black jockey to win the Derby since 1902; and Rosie Napravnik, aboard Mylute, would be the first female to win.

The forecast around race time calls for temperatures in the low-60s and calls for temperatures in the mid-60s and a 80 percent chance of rain. A crowd of about 160,000 is expected.

The purse is $2,199,800, with $1,439,800 to the winner.

- Richard Rosenblatt - http://twitter.com/rosenblattap

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UNDER NO UMBRELLAS

AP's Louisville correspondent Janet Cappiello says it began raining at Churchill Downs before she arrived at the track, so people are trickling in when normally they'd be streaming in. The track doesn't allow umbrellas so people are using the next best thing - ponchos.

- Janet Cappiello - http://twitter.com/APLouJanet

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WHAT WILL TODD DO?

Let's say Todd Pletcher wins the Kentucky Derby with one of his record-tying five horses. His Derby winner then has the only chance at a Triple Crown.

Would the trainer bring any of his Derby winner's stablemates to run in the Preakness and risk having one of them defeat his Derby winner? Or would he bring any of his 3-year-old colts who did not run in the Derby to the second leg of the Triple Crown?

The decision seems like a no-brainer: Why jeopardize your chance to saddle the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978 by giving one of your other horses a chance to knock of your Derby winner?

These decisions, however, usually rest with the owner of the horse. In 2010, after Pletcher won his only Derby with Super Saver, the trainer also sent out a second horse in the Preakness for another owner.

No harm, though. Super Saver ran eighth in the Preakness

and Aikenite was 10th.

Odds are if Pletcher wins the Derby, none of the owners of his other four in the race would want to bring their horse back on short notice - two weeks is a very quick turnaround between races - for the Preakness.

Then again, Pletcher's stable is so formidable, he's got at least three horses back in the barn who could run in the Preakness with a realistic shot of winning.

If he wins, this could get interesting.

- Richard Rosenblatt - http://twitter.com/rosenblattap

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PICKING YOUR SPOTS

Parking for the 139th Kentucky Derby can cost a pretty penny. Or, in some cases, a lot of pretty pennies.

In the mix of homes and small businesses that surround Churchill Downs in Louisville, residents were renting out driveways, lawns and curbs in front of homes, while businesses that weren't blocking off their parking lots making spaces available and trying to squeeze in as many cars as possible.

Prices for parking spots two blocks from the track were going for $15, while closer to the track were being sold for up to $20 or even more.

And, there was no shortage of takers - cars and could be seen on lawns and lined up on driveways throughout the neighborhood. In a few cases, drivers could be heard haggling with home owners or negotiating a particular spot to keep from being blocked in.

By the time the winner claims the Run to the Roses, much of the surrounding neighborhood will look like a used car lot.

- Brett Barrouquere - http://twitter.com/BbarrouquereAP

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TALK DERBY (HISTORY) TO ME:

All kinds of history is made once we know who wins the Kentucky Derby. Here are a few what ifs:

- If Mylute wins, Rosie Napravnik becomes the first female jockey to finish first.

- If either Oxbow or Will Take Charge finish first, D. Wayne Lukas would become the oldest trainer to win .

- If Goldencents wins, Kevin Krigger would become the first black jockey to win since Jimmy Winkfield in 1902.

- If Goldencents wins, Doug O'Neill would become the first trainer since Bob Baffert in 1997-98 to win twice in a row.

- If Verrazano wins, he would become the first horse since Apollo in 1882 to do so without racing as a 2-year-old.

- If Orb wins, he would become the first horse with a three-letter name to win since Zev in 1923.

- Richard Rosenblatt - http://twitter.com/rosenblattap

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Derby Running follows the Kentucky Derby and all the activities surrounding the event as seen by journalists from The Associated Press from across Louisville, Ky. It will be updated throughout the day with breaking news and other items of interest. Follow AP reporters on Twitter where available.


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