Authentic has won the 146th Kentucky Derby in a quiet Churchill Downs.
The horse is trained by Bob Baffert and was ridden by jockey John Velazquez. Authentic nudged out a crowded field to finish first; unofficial results include Tiz the Law and Mr. Big News coming in second and third, respectively.
This year’s Kentucky Derby was delayed for only the second time in history; the other time was in 1945, because of World War Two. Churchill Downs officials pushed the race from the first Saturday in May to the first Saturday in September due to the coronavirus pandemic; in August, amid rising case numbers, they decided the race would be run without in-person spectators.
Though there were few people at the track, hundreds gathered outside Churchill Downs for the 101st day of protests for racial justice in Louisville. Groups including Until Freedom and local activists were there to demand accountability for the police officers who killed Breonna Taylor in March, as well as a widespread examination of the investments Louisville makes in Black communities. The NFAC, a Black militia, was protesting at the track as well.
Authentic’s victory means there will not be a chance at a Triple Crown winner this year. Because of the pandemic, the traditional order of the races is different. While the Kentucky Derby is typically the first leg of the race, this year the Belmont Stakes came first, on June 20. Tiz The Law won that race. The last leg of the Triple Crown — the Preakness — is scheduled for October 3.
There have been two Triple Crown winners in recent history: Justify in 2018 and American Pharoah in 2015.
Last year, Maximum Security came in first in the Derby, but was disqualified for interference and Country House was declared the winner. Country House didn’t run in the second leg of the Triple Crown due to a virus, and retired from racing soon after.