Country House wins and Twitter is frisky

Country House wins after lengthy objection inquiry

Maximum Security led the 145th Kentucky Derby wire-to-wire and crossed the finish line first. But an objection was lodged against Maximum Security.

At the top of the back stretch, Maximum Security spooked and lurched outside in front of War of Will and Long Range Toddy. That caused Country House to bounce outside, and stewards at the track ruled it was enough of an infraction to disqualify Maximum Security and hand the win to Country House, a 65-1 long shot.

Code of Honor was second. Tacitus was third.

Stewards took about 20 minutes to review the incident, a process that included talking on the phone to jockeys involved.

During the stoppage, trainers and jockeys stood staring at the track’s jumbo screens and waiting for a result to be posted while journalists and security personnel crowded around.

Competing horses Game Winner and Improbable galloped along the track on May 2, two days ahead of the Kentucky Derby in Louisville. (AP)

The weather in Louisville

A rain cloud seems to have settled over Churchill Downs and the track is getting muddy. Officials at the racecourse listed the dirt track as “fast" and the turf as “firm" all afternoon, but just made a change with all this water.

The new condition is “sloppy," a very wet surface with visible puddles. That hands an advantage to pace-setting horses, because they can avoid muddy spray. With 20 minutes before post time, the No. 7 horse Maximum Security has become the new favorite at 4-1, thanks to his habit of running out to an early lead.

The rain presents a similar set of challenges for jockeys: flying mud limits visibility. Riders will load up on goggles, riding with as many as eight stacked on top of one another, some of them covered in plastic wrap to repel dirt.

Where’s Johnny Weir? Twitter wants to know

A whole bunch of folks on Twitter are not pleased that former figure skater Johnny Weir is not part of NBC’s Kentucky Derby coverage.

Weir for the past several years has teamed up with Tara Lipinski to evaluate the haberdashery and drink mint juleps on live TV. The two of them — and especially Weir — were unabashedly uneducated about horse racing and at Churchill Downs for the party.

But Weir’s gone this year, and people want to know why.

Really, it’s not much of a mystery. He’s at the AT&T store in Chicago hosting a Game of Thrones fan-art fashion show, according to his tweets.

Sorry, Kentucky Derby. When Game of Thrones calls, Johnny Weir is there.

The rain isn’t that bad

There’s a light sprinkle at Churchill Downs, but the dirt track is still holding up well. And even though things on the infield are getting muddy, the rain isn’t that bad, probably not even hard enough to ruin a pricey hat. So this approach seems a little bit overkill.

Secretariat is still in the race

It’s been 40 years since Secretariat’s death, but the legendary racehorse is still a presence at this year’s Kentucky Derby. Of the 19 horses in this year’s race, 15 can trace their lineage back to Secretariat. Big Red’s 1973 running is still considered one of the best Derby performances and after he went on to win the Triple Crown, he sired 663 foals.

His direct offspring include 341 winners and 54 stakes winners.

Jets linebacker has post-grad plans

New York Jets linebacker Avery Williamson left the University of Kentucky after four years in 2014, but he never finished his degree in integrated strategic communications. So he went back this year to polish off his final credits, and after graduating on Friday, he’s celebrating at the Kentucky Derby.

“I’d say a big reason why I decided to come back was just because I didn’t complete it, and I hate not completing things,” Williamson said in an video posted to the Kentucky football Twitter account (via 247Sports). “I feel like education is important. You never know what situations life might throw at you. You know, if I do want to continue broadcasting what could be the difference between me getting the job or somebody else and it might be that I have a college degree. So this is going to set me up for the later part of my life.”

What’s she looking at?

This is a race official checking the upper lip of horses running the 14 races at Churchill Downs today.

Before thoroughbreds reach racing age, they get a tattoo on their upper lips with a unique registration number assigned by the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau. An official at each track checks horses before the race and after the race, to ensure trainers don’t switch horses.

The tattoos themselves are six-character codes in either blue or black ink. An assistant holds a brace that looks like a big paper clip over the lip, which both numbs the area by restricting blood flow and keeps the surface still for the application. Instead of a pen, officials use a steel pick with a letter or number fashioned on the end in spikes. The official dips those spikes into ink, then jabs them into the horse’s lip, rendering the registration code.

Tattooists then photograph the tattoo and the horse, and document its physical appearance so authorities at tracks can verify horse’s identities for each race.

Look who’s here!

That would be many, many celebrities, including a whole bunch of athletes. The Run for the Roses has become its own red carpet event, complete with an actual red carpet for paparazzi to capture the who’s who and for the who’s who to show off their hats and eclectic outfits.

Witness the following:

A bit more conventionally dressed: Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and some of their best pals (you knew they’d be here). Baker Mayfield is also in attendance, along with Jimmy Garappolo and Jacoby Brissett. The latter two posed with Brady, whom they both used to back up, along with some of Brady’s other understudies of past and present, including new Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury.

Also: Dale Earnhardt Jr., who is part of NBC’s coverage team, and the Stanley Cup.

And then there’s Bill Belichick and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who represents Kentucky.

She said yes!

If you’re dressed in your Derby best, that means you’re also dressed for a photo op, and, perhaps, engagement photos. And that makes Churchill Downs just as good a place as any to pop the question.

Beau Recall comes from out of nowhere to win the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile

Beau Recall, a 5-year-old mare, came all the way from the back of the pack at the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile and charged down the center of the track, running down a group of four leaders at the wire to take the seventh race of the day at Churchill Downs.

Ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., who will saddle Kentucky Derby contender Improbable later in the day, Beau Recall, at 10-1 odds, spent both turns nowhere near the lead, but had plenty in the tank in the home stretch. As the field widened out, Ortiz took her wide into a span of open turf and Beau Recall’s stride opened up, stalking down the leader Got Story with Capla Temptress running close by.

Tragedies at Santa Anita cast a shadow over Derby day

The 145th Kentucky Derby, the biggest annual event for a niche sport that takes its national attention in fleeting bites, might carry a tad more importance than usual. Saturday’s edition will be horse racing’s first nationally spotlighted event since the dreadful winter at Santa Anita Park, the California track where 23 horses died between Dec. 26 and March 31, forcing it to shut down racing briefly for an investigation as well as to make adjustments to the course’s dirt racing surface.

Expect some rain

There’s precipitation in the forecast as the afternoon rolls on, and the track could get messy. Jason Samenow of Capital Weather Gang said Friday that the National Weather Service was projecting 1 to 1½ inches of rain with a slight chance of flooding in the region surrounding Churchill Downs.

The Post’s Neil Greenberg has an unexpected pick in mind in the event of rain: Win Win Win. Here’s why.

Mine that who?

Mine that Bird. You remember, that 50-1 shot who ran 6¾ behind the pack in 2009, before making up all that ground and winning the Derby. Chuck Culpepper paid him a visit in Roswell, N.M.:

To visit Mine That Bird, go through downtown Roswell with its statues of extraterrestrials, including a gigantic one at Dunkin Donuts, in honor of a visit the area might have received from non-earthlings in 1947. Turn left just before the UFO museum and the alien store. Follow the unprepossessing boulevard east 3½ miles past the silo, the Cowboy Cafe, the house with an alien out front and a dinosaur in the garden, the stand selling honey, pollen and beeswax. Turn right at the billboard advertising Allen’s Double Eagle Ranch. Drive the driveway, hear the screeching birds and gasp, if you will, 1,200 miles from Louisville, at what comes next: a replica of the twin spires at Churchill Downs.

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