The 153,563 fans in attendance at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May for Kentucky Derby day were treated to 5 more graded stakes races on the undercard. Like on Oaks day, overnight rains soaked both racing surfaces, leaving a sloppy main track and good turf. However it was much cooler, with the temperature around 55 under overcast skies.
The $500,000 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (G1) features some of the best older turf horses in the country going 1 1/8 miles. Thorn Song set the early pace of 23.87, 48.40, and 1:12.34 over the good Matt Winn turf course while as many as 2 lengths in front of 8-1 Cowboy Cal stalking him in second. Entering the stretch, Thorn Song faded allowing Cowboy Cal to inherit the lead at the 3/16 pole, getting the mile in 1:37.15. 9-5 favorite and defending champion Einstein, who raced in midpack fifth for the first 5 furlongs, closed with a rush 5 wide to nail Cowboy Cal at the line by a head in 1:49.62. It was a long 3 3/4 lengths back to Court Vision third.