(AP) Crowds brave rain, security lines for Ky. Derby
Rain and extra security measures slowed down the crowds at Saturday’s Kentucky Derby, but thousands of poncho-covered racing fans filled Churchill Downs despite the odds.
Fans were unfazed as Kentucky National Guardsmen searched bags and passed metal-detecting wands over race-goers in Louisville. The tightened security imposed in response to the Boston Marathon bombings was similar to actions taken after 9/11.
In 2009, the track relaxed some policies, but most of the measures were reinstated this year, including a ban on coolers. Fans this year can purchase disposable coolers inside Churchill Downs, complete with ice.
Among other things, the track banned backpacks, large purses and cameras with removable lenses. And despite a forecast for rain all day, umbrellas, as always, were not allowed.
The two held a patch of grass with about 20 camping chairs and a four-burner gas grill ready for burgers, brats and pork loin.
Rather than worrying about security, fans were talking betting strategies, which vary as wildly as the colorful hats at the Run for the Roses.
Some fans plan out their wagers days in advance, poring over statistics and previous races. Many others fly by the seat of their pants, choosing an interesting looking horse or colorful jockey silks.
She said Crum, who won two NCAA basketball championships, showed her how to bet exactas and trifectas.
Rebecca Thorpe’s mother told her to always bet on a gray horse.
Jeremy Hewson, of Greenfield, Ind., said he learned how to bet horses from his grandfather. He said he will study the racing form, looking at speeds and performances in past races.
Hewson said the rainy track would factor into his picks, but so far he likes Verrazano in the Derby.