All's Quiet as Sun Rises Over Downs

As a bright morning sun broke through the darkness, all was quiet on the backside of Churchill Downs Saturday.

John Asher, vice president for communications at the racetrack, said early reports were that all 20 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) horses were still in the race and that there were no problems with any of them.

Like other Churchill officials, Asher was expecting a large crowd for Derby Day, one day after a record 111,243 witnessed Summerly's upset victory in Friday's Kentucky Oaks (gr. I).

Asher said he was surprised at the size of the Oaks crowd, but added it was not totally unexpected considering the great weather and interest in seeing the results of the $121 million renovation.

"The sun is the greatest marketing tool you could have," Asher said. "Excitement over the new track is part of it too. There has been a lot of buzz about it within the community."

While Asher is expecting a large crowd for Derby Day (he does not try to forecast attendance), he acknowledged it would be hard to top the record 163,628 that saw Cannonade win the 100th Derby.

"I just hope for a very good day," Asher said.