Despite rain, Churchill Downs officials say track could be fast - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Despite rain, Churchill Downs officials say track could be fast in time for Derby post

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Once Oaks Day comes to a close, volunteer crews will get to work preparing Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby. 

Director of communications for Churchill Downs Darren Rogers said they are making the best of the rainy situation this year. 

"It rains in some way shape or form 46 percent of the times we've staged the event, dating back to 1875," Rogers said.

And rain or shine, volunteers are ready to clean up after all the Oaks fun has come to an end. 

"Think about all the trash in the infield and the cleanup involved," Rogers said. "They come in and work all the way through until gates open on Saturday morning. They open back back up at 8 a.m."

And the track gets extra attention. When it rains, a team will take tractors out to float the track.

"It's basically putting a seal on it so that when the rain comes down, it's packed hard and packed down," Rogers said. "And then the rain just sits on top of it and runs off the track."

And Rogers said the track dries out quickly. 

"It dries about as fast as any racing surface in the country," he said. "I will not be surprised if we have a fast track come post time for the Kentucky Derby."

But that rain was making a big difference on the spectators.

As everyone tried to find ways to stay dry and take cover, it was clear the big statement pieces this year are ponchos and rain boots.

"The game plan was to stay dry," Cody Brown said. "We're gonna be under (cover) and hopefully get a poncho here soon."

If you're planning on coming to the track Saturday, remember that umbrellas are not allowed inside. 

For a full list of prohibited items, click here.

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