Maximum Security #7, ridden by Luis Saez, leads the field out of turn four during the Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park on March 30, 2019 in Hallandale, Florida. (Matthew Stockman/Getty Images/TNS) *FOR USE WITH THIS STORY ONLY*

On Sports Media: Bay Area to host over 75 Kentucky Derby Parties

Golden Gate Fields and Barrel Proof in the Mission will host lively Kentucky Derby events

By Jim Williams

Special to S.F. Examiner

It is 2,348 miles from Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky to San Francisco but if you think that Saturday’s 145th running of the Kentucky Derby is an event fans aren’t interested in you would be wrong. Nope, the Bay Area is horse country, and there are big watch parties from downtown to boats on the Bay, across the bridge to Oakland and beyond.

From Barrel Proof — a sports/cocktail bar in the heart of the Mission District — to Golden Gate Fields across the bridge in the East Bay, there are over 75 official Kentucky Derby parties. At Golden Gate Fields, you can legally bet on the races including on the Derby.

Most of the parties include mint juleps, fancy hats and the fun of a big event where fashion meets sports. Like the Super Bowl, March Madness and the Olympics, the Derby is a sporting event that appeals to the casual sports fan and draws a very large number of women of all ages in the ratings categories.

Plan on getting up early, because things will get underway early on NBCSN Saturday morning, with the first of eight races starting at 9 a.m.

The actions will move over to NBC (KNTV 11) at 11:30 a.m. where the focus begins to shift to all things Kentucky Derby with post time set for 3:50 p.m. with race caller Larry Collmus handling those duties.

Kentucky Derby Post Positions and Early Odds

Gate

Horse

Morning-Line Odds

1

War of Will

20-1

2

Tax

20-1

3

By My Standards

20-1

4

Gray Magician

50-1

5

Improbable

6-1

6

Vekoma

20-1

7

Maximum Security

10-1

8

Tacitus

10-1

9

Plus, Que Parfait

30-1

10

Cutting Humor

30-1

11

Haikal

30-1

12

Omaha Beach

4-1

13

Code of Honor

15-1

14

Win Win Win

15-1

15

Master Fencer

50-1

16

Game Winner

5-1

17

Roadster

6-1

18

Long Range Toddy

30-1

19

Spinoff

30-1

20

Country House

30-1

The odds-on favorite, Omaha Beach, was pulled from the race late, and that leaves things wide open. Talking with the NBC Sports betting analysts this week, the race is now wide open.

“Obviously Omaha Beach was one of the favorites,” said Hall of Fame Jockey and three-time Kentucky Derby-winner Jerry Bailey. “He just beat Game Winner, so Game Winner will be up there, as well. Roadster and Improbable, two of the other three [trainer Bob] Baffert horses. Win Win Win wouldn’t shock me, and Tacitus would be probably a pretty good chance, as well as Maximum Security. I think that’s — is that eight?”

NBC horse racing insider and NHL color analyst Eddie Olczyk added a few more.

“Listen, I would add Code of Honor, regardless of track conditions, meaning whether it’s fast or the track is off a bit,” Olczyk said. “I would certainly add Code of Honor in my top three regardless of the track condition, and I’m right around with Jerry with the other horses, as well.”

Reporter/analyst Randy Moss: “I can also add Vekoma in there, as well, since I’m not sure how fast the pace is going to be. I think he could control the pace conceivably.”

“So that’s nine right there. That’s how wide open it is,” Baily said, closing out the conversation.

This year will mark a changing of the guard at NBC, as Bob Costas has left the network, and the host role of the Kentucky Derby now belongs to Mike Tirico. He will co-host the coverage along with Rebecca Lowe. Moss, Bailey and Olczyk, all who will play key roles in the broadcast. Donna Brothers always has plenty of good information worth noting, plus, she does interviews from on horseback.

Meanwhile, there will be part of the crew doing double duty starting the day on their cable outlet NBCSN.

Kenny Rice, Nick Luck, Laffit Pincay III, and Ahmed Fareed — making his Kentucky Derby debut — host NBCSN’s earlier coverage.

Next to the race itself, fashion is a big part of the day at Churchill Downs. NBC News weather anchor and correspondent Dylan Dreyer reprises her role as a fashion and lifestyle correspondent. She will handle the duty of talking to the many celebrities who always make this an event where the entertainment world meets the sports world.

Speaking of sports stars that always show up at the race Dreyer will be joined by cohost and Super Bowl MVP Von Miller. It should be noted that Miller is slated to do several other non-fashion related segments in his Kentucky Derby debut.

Last but not least NASCAR on NBC analyst Dale Earnhardt Jr. also makes his Kentucky Derby debut, joining NBC Sports Group’s NASCAR features reporter Rutledge Wood for two car guys looking at real horsepower.

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