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The 2015 Kentucky Derby. Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The 146th "Run for the Roses" is set for tomorrow (7:01pm ET, NBC), with Churchill Downs hosting 18 hopeful steeds — and zero fans.

The state of play: The Derby hasn't been run outside of May since 1945, and the last time it wasn't the opening Triple Crown race was all the way back in 1931.

  • Belmont Stakes: June 20 (Winner: Tiz the Law)
  • Kentucky Derby: Tomorrow
  • Preakness Stakes: Oct. 3.

The backdrop: "The most exciting two minutes in sports" tends to attract upwards of 150,000 fans each year — one of whom hasn't missed it since 1947 — but the pandemic will leave Churchill Downs rather empty.

  • To qualify, horses must be three years old and be among the top-20 points getters in the 35-race "Road to the Kentucky Derby" series.

Flashback: Secretariat set the Derby record (1:59.40) in 1973. Last year's winner, Country House, finished in 2:03.93, though he was only awarded the win after Maximum Security was retroactively disqualified for interference.

The field includes Tiz the Law (3-5) is a near-historic favorite, followed by Honor A.P. (5-1) and Authentic (8-1). Full field and odds.

  • Finnick the Fierce is the only horse to have ever beaten Tiz, finishing a spot ahead in last November's Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes.

Of note: Tiz the Law drew the 17th starting post — a position from which no horse has ever won the Kentucky Derby.

By the numbers: Four key predictive statistics help clarify this year's contenders.

  • 26 of the last 28 Derby winners had a closing speed of 38 seconds or less and a Brisnet speed figure of 96 or more in their final prep race.
  • Most past winners had a Dosage Index (the ratio of speed to stamina due to pedigree) of at least 3.00, and a pre-Derby layoff of no longer than six weeks.
  • Only three horses — Tiz the Law, South Bend and Max Player — check the box for all four of those stats.

Go deeper

Updated Sep 6, 2020 - Sports

In photos: Authentic wins Kentucky Derby as protest groups face off

Rival demonstrators in front of the Louisville Metro Hall in Kentucky ahead of the Kentucky Derby. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Authentic won the 146th annual Kentucky Derby on Saturday as Black Lives Matter protesters and armed supporters of police faced off, while the usual horse racing crowds were cast aside to promote social distancing.

The big picture: Like most sporting events this spring, the first leg of the American Triple Crown was postponed from its traditional first Saturday in May to the new September date because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Georgia governor declines Trump's request to help overturn election result

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp pushed back on Saturday after President Trump pressed him to help overturn the state's election results.

Driving the news: Trump asked the Republican governor over the phone Saturday to call a special legislative session aimed at overturning the presidential election results in Georgia, per the Washington Post. Kemp refused.