The $2 million Kentucky Derby (G1), the first leg of the Triple Crown and the ultimate target for every horse owner, was contested at Churchill Downs on Saturday before a crowd of 156,635. Sunny skies were a welcome change from the wet conditions on Friday. A maximum field size of 20 went to post, with Street Sense sent off as the 9-5 favorite attempting to become the first Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner to come back to win the Derby. Undefeated Curlin, off his win in the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn, was the 5-1 second choice over Florida Derby winner Scat Daddy at 7-1. Hard Spun, winner of the Lane's End Stakes, was the 10-1 fourth choice over Wood Memorial winner Nobiz Like Shobiz at 10.40-1 odds.
A four-horse battle ensued up front first time past the stands as Hard Spun, 45-1 Stormello, 20-1 Cowtown Cat, and 52-1 Teuflesberg all gunned to the front trying to be the first to make the clubhouse turn. Hard Spun eventually broke clear to set a pace of 22.96, 46.26, 1:11.13, and 1:37.04 while the others who challenged early all eventually faded to finish well back at the end. Curlin suffered a rough start as horses moved in on him at the 1/8 pole and he got shuffled to 13th around the clubhouse turn. Calvin Borel and Street Sense calmly angled over to the rail at the back of the field for his usual ground-saving trip. Down the backstretch, Hard Spun was as many as 3 lengths clear of the pack and looked strong at the top of the stretch with a tightly bunched pack behind him. However, the pack left a narrow opening on the rail for Street Sense, who was 17th early. He came out slightly to pass Hard Spun at the 3/16 pole and drew off to win by 2 1/4 lengths in 2:02.17 over the fast track. Curlin got up for third 5 3/4 lengths behind Hard Spun, while 29-1 Imawildandcrazyguy was fourth.