Kentucky Derby

Flash-flood watch for much of state

Associated PressWeather forecasters were predicting 2 to 3 inches of rain in the area by Saturday night, with locally heavier totals possible.“We’ll have a heavy burst of rain on Saturday morning into possibly early afternoon,” said Andrea Lammers, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Louisville. “And there is a potential for flooding, especially in the morning with the heavier bursts of precipitation.”The National Weather Service continued to stress the possibility of dangerous flooding for much of the state through Monday morning. The heaviest showers were still expected either before the Derby card gets started Saturday or overnight following the Run for the Roses.Churchill spokesman John Asher said track officials were striving to ensure that plenty of ponchos are available for Saturday’s massive crowd. Including an additional supply of ponchos for sale.Rain would turn the anything-goes Churchill Downs infield into a muddy mess, and could make rain gear the fashion of choice on a day when suits and elegant dresses are common attire.Christy Henderson, 42, of Louisville, who was wearing an elaborate pink hat for the Kentucky Oaks on a picture-perfect Friday, said she had another one she was planning to wear for the Derby. Fortunately, she said, her seats are covered.“On the walk over the hat will be in a bag, and the hat I loaned to someone had better be in a bag,” Henderson said.Eddie Richmond, 36, of Little Rock, Ark., was getting ready to endure any downpour. He was buying a poncho at the Churchill Downs store on Friday, and said he planned to attend the Derby, regardless of the weather.“I’m just going to walk it through and sweat it out,” Richmond said. “It’s the Kentucky Derby. You’ve just got to rough it.”Asher said a rainy Saturday could have some impact on the Derby crowd.“We play our sport outdoors, and given that a large segment of the Derby Day crowd is located in the infield, it would be no surprise if some of those fans decided to stay home in an attempt to stay dry,” Asher said.“But we would not anticipate a huge dip in the size of the Derby Day crowd.”Asher hearkened to 2004, when the Derby was hampered not only by rain but by a renovation of Churchill Downs that left a large part of the clubhouse off limits. That year’s attendance was still a respectable 140,054.The weather service said the wettest Derby Day was in 1918, when 2.31 inches fell.

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