Steady rain pelts Churchill Downs before Derby

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Posted at 2:23 PM, May 04, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-04 14:23:00-04

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Steady rain is pelting Churchill Downs leading to the Kentucky Derby.


The track for the 19-horse field has been downgraded to sloppy, and even the bugler is wearing a red poncho as he blows the call to the post in early races on Saturday's card.


The condition of the track has been steadily downgraded. Heavy rollers have gone over the dirt surface to pack the top layer and prevent water from seeping into the base.


Fans are huddling under covered sections of the grandstand and donning plastic ponchos over suits and dresses. Umbrellas are banned because of safety concerns.


But the gloomy skies are not keeping fans from drinking, eating and partying. In the infield, fans are in rubber boots and covering themselves as best they can.


The rain, of course, is not a problem for the high rollers, who are warm and dry in their suites.