Kentucky Derby

Sun shines, briefly, at Derby

About 1.35 inches of rain had fallen in Louisville as of 6 p.m. Saturday, said Nathan Foster, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

And, while that was far less than the 6 inches that had been predicted, the weather service continued to caution of more storms and showers overnight. Much of the state remains under flood watch status until Monday morning.

But people coped at the Downs, heading for any cover they could find — though the rain did stop and the sun shined briefly just before the Derby race began.

Patti Rueff of San Francisco, Calif., covered up her black hat with a clear, plastic bag following the eighth race because she did not want the rain to wilt the feathers. Still, Rueff said she had experienced worse Derby days in the 17 years she's attended.

"It's not as bad as the year that it snowed," Rueff said.

Some people waded through puddles at the track wearing colorful rain boots while others, such as Sara Siebler of Hooper, Neb., had mud up to their knees. Siebler, wearing jeans, insisted that all she did was walk around the Derby infield.

"I was not in on the mud wrestling," Siebler said, laughing.

Siebler and others agreed that the rain had not ruined their afternoon, and some said it may have helped their favorite horses.

Di Boyer of Versailles was praying for sun, but she was pleased that her relatives had cashed several tickets. The Woodford Reserve drinks also helped lift their spirits.

"Kentuckians are hearty," Boyer said. "A little rain doesn't stop people from having fun."

Boyer wore a Kansas City poncho that her husband found around the house. Several others donned their favorite sports teams as plastic covered designer ensembles.

Wearing a University of Virginia poncho, Patrice Robinson of Arlington, Va., waited behind dozens for the restroom. Robinson said the rain was not a huge deal."It's still a really good time," Robinson said.