And just like that, it’s over. A little over two minutes after hitting the track at Churchill Downs, Animal Kingdom, ridden by John Velazquez, beat 18 other horse-and-jockey pairs to snag the top prize in the 137th running of the Kentucky Derby.
The official top four finishers were Animal Kingdom followed closely by Nehro, the well-named Mucho Macho Man and Shackleford.
Dialed In had been favored in early betting after Uncle Mo was forced to back out of the race after his trainers decided the horse had not sufficiently recovered from a gastrointestinal infection. Also closely watched ahead of race time: Twice the Appeal, ridden by Calvin Borel, winner of the last two Kentucky Derbies.
One horse, Archarcharch, suffered an injury during the race.
Female jockey Rosie Napravnik, riding Pants on Fire, also found herself the subject of pre-race buzz. But, alas, 2011 wasn’t the year for the Derby’s first winning female jockey.
A record crowd of 165,000 fans — including ‘N Sync’s Joey Fatone — turned out to watch the race.
Next up in racing’s Triple Crown: The Preakness Stakes on May 21.