Churchill Downs may have to use their lights for the 2010 Derby.

Churchill Downs may have to use their lights for the 2010 Derby.

Rick Samuels

136th Derby Could Be Run Under Lights

Churchill officials say they will turn on lights if visibility poor.

The Kentucky Derby Presented By Yum! Brands (gr. I) could be run under the lights for the first time May 1.

Heavy rain is expected and if visibility is poor, Churchill Downs will turn on its newly installed lights for the first time on Derby day.

"It could be blinkers off and lights on,'' said Bob Baffert, trainer of 3-1 morning line favorite Lookin At Lucky and 12-1 shot Conveyance.

Banks of lights now encircle the venerable track. They were installed to accommodate night racing during the summer, and are sometimes used for early morning training. They can employed at any time - even for the Derby.

"It is an option that we do have,'' track spokesman Darren Rogers said April 30.

There are no restrictions in the race conditions barring the use of artificial light. The first 135 runnings of the classic for 3-year-olds were conducted in daylight. Churchill Downs hopes to continue that tradition when the horses go to the post at 6:24 p.m. (EDT).

That might not be realistic. The National Weather Service predicts showers and thunderstorms May 1 with periods of heavy rain totaling one to two inches.